HIGHLIGHTS-IMF, World Bank, G20 meetings in Washington
WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The following are comments on Friday from finance officials in Washington for the fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and a meeting of Group of 20 leaders. CANADIAN FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY: "The G20 was supposed to be the premier economic policy forum in the world. Our first meeting with the leaders was here in Washington in November 2008, chaired by President Bush, and was a very focused, directed meeting about what needed to be done to solve significant global economic problems." "I think we have drifted a bit from that focus and that's one of the things we were talking about at our meetings. How it will all work out, we'll see. I hope that we were persuasive." BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE OSBORNE ON MONETARY POLICY: "Accommodative monetary policy in the U.S., the UK and elsewhere is helping support growth, and growth in places like America is incredibly important for the whole world, including the emerging economies of the world. ....We should recognize the fact that there are spillovers from that monetary policy and you shouldn't pretend they don't exist. They do exist. And we should help emerging economies deal with those spillovers....That said, those spillovers should not be an excuse for emerging economies to avoid doing what they need to do in terms of structural reforms to improve their economy." ON HOW THESE MEETINGS ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE IN THE PAST: "There's much more focus here on the challenge in emerging economies than there has been certainly in any of the meetings I have attended in the 3 1/2 years I have been doing this job. The focus has sort of moved away from the advanced economies." JAPANESE FINANCE MINISTER TARO ASO "With regard to the debt ceiling issue ... Japan expects this issue to be resolved once and for all without any delay. It's not only a matter for the U.S." RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTER ANTON SILUANOV AFTER G20 MEETING ON U.S. DEBT STANDOFF: "We wish for this crisis to be resolved as soon as possible... We hope for a speedy resolution." "Our American colleagues are doing everything possible in order to find a mutual understanding or agreement with the Congress." "We trust that the administration and the Congress will arrive at a mutually acceptable solution." ON HOW G20 WORKS: "It's not a place where some people give advice and some people take advice. ... What we do is coordinate and exchange opinions, and each country makes its own decisions based on the policies of the other countries." ON RUSSIA'S FOREIGN RESERVES, U.S. DEBT STANDOFF "I believe at this point there is no need to adjust the strategy of investing our foreign reserves. I believe what is happening today is rather a short-term situation, so our investment in U.S. securities, in U.S. Treasuries, they are a long-term investment... U.S. Treasuries, U.S. securities, have one of the highest ratings. We invest in securities that meet all the reliability criteria. These are reliable securities, and we do not plan any serious changes in this policy." MALAYSIAN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR ZETI AKHTAR AZIZ: "In Malaysia, we received these massive surges of inflows after QE 1, 2 and 3...then when the tapering is discussed, 20 percent of the inflow that took place over the 3 years has already flowed out." "Economies in Asia are very well positioned to cope with these developments," she said, citing reforms since the Asian financial crisis. ECB'S EWALD NOWOTNY ON PROSPECTS OF AN AGREEMENT ON U.S. BUDGET: "Whatever reduces uncertainty is positive but I think that really to reduce uncertainty in a substantial way we would need a long-term solution. Still, it seems to be better than nothing." ON EURO STRENGTH: "But still we have to look at these developments because on the one hand it might have negative effects on export performance and therefore economic performance especially of southern member countries of the euro zone." ON MONETARY POLICY IN THE EURO ZONE: "We see that inflation expectations are well anchored." Our forward guidance has been that we don't have an intention to increase rates; that does not exclude a decrease in interest rates, "but for the time being I don't see any acute need for changes." ECB'S MARIO DRAGHI IN STATEMENT PREPARED FOR SATURDAY IMFC MEETING "With regard to money market conditions, the ECB will remain particularly attentive to developments which may have implications for the stance of monetary policy and is ready to consider all available instruments." "We will remain attentive to all developments that influence an adequate transmission of monetary policy to the financing conditions in euro area countries." RUSSIAN FINANCE MINISTER ANTON SILUANOV ON G20 COMMUNIQUE: "There will be a general wish for a fast solution of the problem. There will be a couple of propositions - that we are of course, concerned and that we wish for a speedy resolution of the situation." "Colleagues from the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve have said that they hope to solve the issue soon. They said that the problem will be solved by the 17." "It's an important issue for everyone. Both Lew and Bernanke believe that these difficulties can be overcome soon." "He also said that the communique will have two pages and that most of the phrasing will be the same as the final document adopted by the G20 leaders at their summit in St. Petersburg in September..very little time has passed since." "We wait and we wish our colleagues a fast resolution of the issue, since the emerging trends of growth in America are the engine for other countries. So if the uncertainty continues, the growth rate will slow down. This does not benefit anyone." DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND'S EUROPEAN DEPARTMENT REZA MOGHADAM ON PROGRESS IN GREECE: "The fact that Greece is expected to run a primary surplus, this is an impressive achievement. If you look at structural reforms, they are impressive. What we have seen in the last year, 18 months, is Greece trying to live up to the commitments of the program. But given the magnitude of the problem, these are still early days and there is a long way to go." IMF ASIA-PACIFIC DIRECTOR ANOOP SINGH ON ASIAN ECONOMIES: "In many countries in Asia, financial imbalances are building up. In many countries in Asia, financial policies are too accommodative. And therefore for at least 6 or 12 months, we've been pointing out that these conditions need to normalize." "I must emphasize that in many ways Japan remains a bright spot in the region. From the numbers and from the surveys, it is clear that what is now called 'Abenomics' is reigniting the economy and is starting the process to lift the country out of chronic deflation."