Indonesia president calls for vigilance over global economic risks

13 October, 2018, 14:02 | Author: Carlos George
  • Pakistan       by Usman Arshad | Published

If we are busy fighting and competing with each other, we will fail to realise the big threat facing the rich and poor countries.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged global central bankers and finance ministers on Friday to guard against growing risks facing the world's economy, as a heated Sino-US trade war roils both emerging and developed markets.

"All these troubles in the world economy, are enough to make us feel like saying: 'Winter is Coming, '" he said, using a motto from the popular series that refers to the need to remain vigilant to risks. While lowering its forecast of global growth for this year and the next International Monetary Fund said that if the current tariff tussle between both superpowers grows into a full-blown trade war then it could make the world a poorer and risky space.

The fear is that the China-US trade row could upend global supply chains, and chill worldwide trade and investment - a risk underscored by Widodo.

The tariffs stem from the Trump administration's demands that China make sweeping changes to its intellectual property practices, rein in high-technology industrial subsidies, open its markets to more foreign competition and take steps to cut a politically sensitive US goods trade surplus. Recently China announced trade tariffs of $60 billion on U.S. goods like natural gas that is produced by nations loyal to United States.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang yesterday on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank meeting. -China trade talks and expressed his concerns about the yuan's recent weakness.

Mnuchin also told reporters Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, that he doesn't lose sleep over the possibility that China might sell its huge hoard of USA treasuries in retaliation.

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The managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has said she still intends to attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia later this month despite concerns over the disappearance of journalist and USA resident Jamal Khashoggi. -China total annual trade relationship could grow to $1 trillion from $650 billion now, with $500 billion of exports from each country.

Asked about the tussle between Washington and Beijing over technology policy and trade, Argentine Finance Minister Nicolas Dujovne said the G-20 does provide a ground for discussing such issues. "We welcome the IMF's work on tariff and non-tariff barriers, and we encourage the International Monetary Fund to focus on less open trade regimes in order to play a constructive role in promoting global solutions".

"I hope you will each do your part to nudge our various leaders in the right direction", Widodo said, adding that "confrontation and collision impose a tragic price".

Separately on Thursday, the fund warned in its twice-yearly report on the Asia Pacific region that the market rout seen in emerging economies could worsen if the Federal Reserve and other major central banks tightened monetary policy more quickly than expected.

The State Department response on Pakistan's IMF bailout request appeared to be in sync with the statement made by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. The IMF started the meetings in Bali by downgrading its 2018 estimate for global growth to a still robust 3.7 per cent from an earlier forecast of 3.9 per cent.

"In whatever work we do, we need to have a complete understanding and absolute transparency about the nature, size, and terms of the debt that is bearing on a particular country", she said.

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