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JEREMY HOBSON: Finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 nations are meeting in South Korea today. Top of their agenda — the question of how to head off a global currency war. Joining us from London, home to the world’s biggest currency market, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello, Jeremy.
HOBSON: Stephen, what are the expectations for this meeting in Seoul today?
BEARD: Hopes are not high. This really a dialogue of the deaf in South Korea. The U.S. is saying again to China, “You’ve got to stop holding your currency down to help your exporters.” China is saying again to the U.S., “Look who’s talking. You’re driving your currency lower by printing more dollars.”
HOBSON: Everybody’s trying to have the lowest currency to boost their exports. Are we expecting anything significant going to come out of this meeting?
BEARD: There is a draft agreement circulating. G-20 members are being invited to sign up and commit themselves not to do what you say, competitively devalue their currencies. But even if they do sign I don’t think there are many currency analysts here in London who believe it will make any difference whatsoever to what China and the U.S. are doing. All thunder and no rain, is a Chinese expression I think.
HOBSON: Is anything else on the agenda at this meeting, Stephen?
BEARD: Yes there are other items, and oddly enough there may be more progress on these other items lower down the agenda such as IMF reform giving greater weight to big emerging economies like China and India, and global financial regulation. We may learn this weekend whether the big emerging economies will fully sign up to Basel III the plans new global rules on bank capital.
HOBSON: Okay Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London. Thanks, Stephen.
BEARD: Okay, Jeremy
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