G20 soft pedals on debt consolidation in favour of growth - Russia

MOSCOW, July 20 Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:33am EDT

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MOSCOW, July 20 (Reuters) - G20 policymakers have soft-pedalled on goals to cut government debt in favour of a focus on growth and how to exit central bank stimulus with a minimum of turmoil, Russia's finance minister said on Saturday.

The final communique from Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers addresses fiscal consolidation less strongly than had been expected, with discussion focusing chiefly on spillover effects from the withdrawal of monetary stimulus by developed countries, Russia's Anton Siluanov told Reuters.

"(G20) colleagues have not made the decision to take responsibility to lower the deficits and debts by 2016," Siluanov said on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Moscow. "Some people thought that first you need to ensure economic growth.

"You can of course, expect growth, but it may not come anytime soon and debt will keep piling up," Siluanov said, adding that fiscal consolidation should remain a priority.

"The communique addresses (consolidation) more softly, nonetheless we will raise this issue at the leadership level (in September)."

The G20 did not discuss at length Friday's move by China to start interest rate reforms, but Siluanov and other countries will monitor how the reforms are being implemented.

Beijing removed a floor on the rates banks can charge clients for loans, which should reduce the cost of borrowing for companies and households.

The spillover effects on developing countries from the withdrawal of quantitative easing policies by developed nations, and the United States in particular, dominated the weekend's discussion, Siluanov said.

"There were no arguments but there was discussion," he said.

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