Tuesday, September 1, 2009

London's G20 pre-meet is a test of progress

In the UK, much importance has been placed on the relative weakness of the pound and the hope that it will give Britain a competitive edge once growth returns to its export markets. As Stephen Lewis, economist at Monument Securities, says: "However significant a competitive advantage a weak exchange rate confers, exporters will be hard-pressed to make headway if the markets into which they are trying to sell are shrinking."
So the reliance on a global recovery, rather than country-specific, is clear.
Regulation of the financial services industry will be back on the table. This has proved a slow-burning issue, again not least because of the complexity involved in formulating a co-ordinated system which is relevant and applicable to all countries.
Mervyn King has emphasised that it is essential not to rush into some "half-baked" agreement that has not been thought through properly. Expect more debate, rather than answers. Much importance will be placed on the divisive and potentially explosive issue of bankers' pay and bonuses. While the G20 has already promised "tough new principles on pay and compensation", countries are divided on just how tough action should be.

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