Finance ministers and heads of central banks of the Group of 20 nations gathered in Indonesia as the global economy struggles amid fears of war in Ukraine and uncertainty over the pandemic.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has told a gathering of top financial leaders of the world's largest economies that countries must avoid tensions and cooperate to support a recovery from the pandemic as it lingers in many parts of the world,
“The winter is coming," Widodo said on Thursday in welcoming finance ministers and heads of central banks of the Group of 20 industrial nations.
“The pandemic is far from over, and the global economy is struggling," he said.
“During this situation, no single country could recover alone. All countries are interconnected, no one is isolated."
The G20 financial gathering comes as many economies are treading a precarious path between raising costs of borrowing to cool inflation and helping to support recoveries from the pandemic.
Worries over potential conflict in Ukraine are an added unwelcome source of uncertainty, Widodo said, warning against antagonisms at this time.
“It is not the time to create new tensions that could affect global recovery, let alone jeopardize the world peace as we’ve currently seen in Ukraine," he said. “It is necessary that every party puts an end to rivalry and frictions."
Rising consumer prices
Officials were attending the meetings both in person and online, given troubles with travel and quarantines due to outbreaks, mostly of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, that are plaguing many countries.
Speaking at a seminar on fortifying global health systems, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted that public health is vital to economic growth.
She urged that countries step up in providing the $75 billion needed over the next five years to fill gaps in financing for better health care.
Surging prices for food and energy are among the challenges the financial leaders confront as they discuss how to best nurture a global economic recovery, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told G20 participants.
The International Monetary Fund has forecast that world economic growth will slow to 4.4 percent in 2022 from 5.9 percent in 2021, following a 3.3 percent contraction in 2020.
The US Federal Reserve is pulling back on massive support for markets and businesses, preparing to raise interest rates as soon as next month to cool inflation that jumped to 7.5 percent in January, the highest rate in 40 years.
Consumer prices rose to a record 5.1 percent in the 19 countries that use the euro last month and to a nearly 30-year high in the United Kingdom.