Japan says no G20 growth target yet, possible on Sunday

SYDNEY Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:18am EST

Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers of G20 countries pose for a family picture near the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Rob Griffith/Pool

Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers of G20 countries pose for a family picture near the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, February 22, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Rob Griffith/Pool

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Group of 20 finance leaders have yet to reach a conclusion on setting a numerical target for global growth, with a decision likely on the second day of talks on Sunday, a senior Japanese finance ministry official said.

"No decision was made today. It hasn't been raised to (the ministerial level) yet," Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after the first day of talks on Saturday.

A Japanese finance ministry official who accompanied Aso to Sydney said any numerical target will signal the group's "ambition" rather than act as a hard, binding goal.

The plan pursued by Australia is to come up with the global growth target now, then have each country develop an action plan and a growth strategy for delivery at the November G20 summit, he said.

Japan supports Australia's call for having a numerical global growth target as beneficial in the context of promoting G20 policy coordination, the official said.

There was also a shared understanding at the G20 that excessive market volatility was undesirable for keeping the global economy on a stable footing, he added.

Aso said there was not much finger-pointing over the market turmoil in January, which some emerging nations initially blamed on the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering of its massive monetary stimulus.

"I told the G20 that it's necessary for emerging markets to make their own efforts to address domestic problems, such as high inflation and big current account deficits," Aso said.

He also dismissed the view that there was some concern in the global community over Japan's weakening economic growth, saying that the country's rising imports were a reflection of strong domestic demand.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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