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G20 finance leaders eye ways to support pandemic recovery

JAKARTA (AP) – Countries must avoid tensions and cooperate to support a recovery from the pandemic as it lingers in many parts of the world, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told a gathering of top financial leaders of the world’s largest economies yesterday.

“The winter is coming,” Widodo said in welcoming finance ministers and heads of central banks of the Group of 20 (G20) 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 jeopardise 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.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo. PHOTO: AP

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.

Host Indonesia is among many countries in Southeast Asia that have endured severe waves of infections, though vaccinations have helped quell the worst of outbreaks.

The fourth most populous nation with 274 million people, it has reported nearly five million cases and 145,622 deaths. In the past month, 690,518 new cases have been reported.

Indonesia is the world’s 10th largest economy and is located in the fastest growing region – at least before the pandemic swept the world, disrupting business and travel while killing nearly six million people.

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.

“Inflation risk remains skewed to the upside, driven by supply chain disruption, labour market mismatches, wage pressure, and higher energy prices,” she said, adding that such problems have been “more persistent than previously expected.”


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