France said there was “no crisis” in the world economy as a meeting of G20 officials kicked off Friday, despite warnings from the International Monetary Fund that the global recovery risked being derailed.
Speaking in Hong Kong en route to the meeting in Shanghai, French finance Minister Michel Sapin said the global economy faced a series of difficulties but described them as “surmountable” and warned against overreaction to current problems.
The G20 meeting takes place against a backdrop of economic turmoil, with the IMF citing China’s faltering economy, falling oil and commodity prices and financial market turbulence as major risk factors in a report earlier this week.
It called for “strong policy responses” to contain the risks and foster growth amid simmering disagreements over how to face the challenges.
“We don’t have to put in action new policies, we don’t have to face a crisis like those we have known in the past,” Sapin told reporters.
“We must through continuity find the right measures, the right balance in each of our economies, so each country can face the real but surmountable difficulties that the IMF has recently described.”
The Group of 20 -- which comprises 19 countries and the European Union -- was born in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and upgraded to a summit of leaders in 2008 to tackle the global financial crisis.
Now, global oil prices are at multi-year lows, the threat of Britain leaving the European Union is looming, and world bourses have tumbled since the start of the year.
Sapin said officials would be making a “diagnosis” of global woes but warned against overreaction.
“We must not overreact to the real situation of the world today or the real situation of certain countries,” he said.
“We can contain volatility together, cooperation can lead to better growth and this growth can be better shared around the world.”
He said previous measures had already strengthened the global finance system and banks had adopted sufficient measures to try to combat the crisis.
“We don’t need to launch a global fiscal stimulus package... in some countries, like France, we must continue our efforts to rebalance the budget... other countries may have more capacity and should use their budgetary capabilities to support global growth,” he said.
China’s economic slowdown, US monetary policy and commodity prices were among the causes for volatility, said Sapin.
“Because of these several causes, we cannot talk about the existence of a crisis, we can talk about difficulties and each one of these difficulties has to be tackled,” he said.
Measures against tax avoidance and the fight against the financing of terrorism would also be among the priorities at the meeting, Sapin continued.
The enlargement of the Paris Club -- an informal group of creditor nations -- would be up for discussion as a way to address debt, he added, saying he hoped to see China become a full member.