G20 to agree on steps for macro targets: Russia

The Group of 20 nations may agree on steps to introduce macroeconomic policy targets at a summit in Seoul on Friday, Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

"There will be a road map and within this road map work will be done to prepare such proposals and define the timeframe," Kudrin told reporters.

"Ministers and the International Monetary Fund will analyze these quantitative targets, their role and how they can be introduced," he said, adding that the results of this work will be reviewed at the next G20 summit.

Kudrin said there was a "big chance" the roadmap will backed by the G20 in Seoul and that the proposals will help global exchange rates to become more flexible in the future.

Kudrin said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's proposal to target current account surpluses and deficits was "interesting" but that other targets would also be needed.

"Other quantitative targets include fiscal deficit, debt level, parameters close to Maastricht criteria," Kudrin said, referring to the limits set by the European Union for countries to qualify to adopt the euro.

Kudrin's remarks did not fall in line with other G20 members, including Germany and China, who have criticized the U.S. for pursuing quantitative easing -- effectively printing money, a policy that has weighed on the dollar and encouraged investors to divert funds into emerging markets in search of higher yields.

Instead, Kudrin praised the U.S. Federal Reserve's crisis measures, saying earlier in an interview with the television channel Russia Today that "at the first stage of the crisis the Federal Reserve accepted a significant burden and its role then was decisive."

He called on the Federal Reserve, however, to show more caution this time around.

Kudrin said that while there was no open confrontation at the G20 talks, global exchange rates remain the main bone of contention.

He also said Russia will not introduce restrictions on capital movements to protect its economy from volatile inflows as there are no current threats of this happening.

[Source: By Gleb Bryanski, Reuters, Seoul, 11Nov10]

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