Countries Pledge Action on World Economics
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
April 16, 2005
WASHINGTON - Finance officials from the world's seven richest countries sought to calm jittery financial markets by pledging on Saturday "vigorous action" to deal with problems, including soaring energy prices, that could undermine global growth.
A joint statement from the finance minister said worldwide economic expansion "remained robust" and that the outlook was for "solid growth" this year.
But the officials said the recent jump in oil prices was a "headwind" to growth. They also stressed the need for the United States to address its surging budget deficit and for Europe and Japan to deal with workplace barriers that are restricting growth.
"Vigorous action is needed to address global imbalances and foster growth," the G-7 officials declared in their joint statement.
The statement followed talks hosted by Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Participants came from the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.
Wall Street on Friday had its worst single-session loss in nearly two years, a sell-off blamed on investors' concerns that rising oil prices threaten to derail the economic recovery in the United States and other industrial nations.
In an effort to bolster confidence, the G-7 officials expressed optimism that the economy would grow at a solid rate this year. They said they based that outlook on favorable factors such as subdued inflation and central banks' interest-rate policies.
But the group warned against complacency and said the major economic powers must act on various fronts: the United States cutting its record budget deficits, Europe and Japan undertaking workplace reforms such as making it easier to hire and fire workers.
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