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G20 warns against reliance on low interest rates

Low interest rates

The world's leading financial experts have warned that the global economy cannot rely on low interest rates alone in order to return to stable growth.

Finance ministers and central bank governors from across the G20 have already praised some positive bright spots in the global economy, but they are nevertheless cautious of any factor that may help to upset the green shoots of growth.

A series of meetings involving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has come against the backdrop of encouraging economic growth figures from China.

However, according to the Financial Times, many leading economists are concerned that current monetary policies are not doing enough to give the economy the extra firepower it needs for further growth.

US Treasury secretary Jack Lew concurred, adding that it was unwise for any country to rely on one single monetary policy, adding that such an approach was unlikely to generate the growth needed by countries across Europe.

He said: “All major economies need to deploy a full toolkit of economic policy measures, including monetary and fiscal policies and structural reforms, to address weak demand, boost employment and raise standards of living.

“While the US economy is on a solid path, the global recovery remains uneven and downside risks have become more pronounced due in large part to a continued shortfall in aggregate demand.”

Despite showing recent signs of encouragement, China has still experienced difficulties in rebalancing its economy, as well as strains placed on oil exporters, disorderly capital flows and a continued unwillingness to discuss lending conditions to Greece and Britain’s potential exit from the European Union.

A spokesperson for the G20 said: “Growth remains modest and uneven, and downside risks and uncertainties to the global outlook persist against the backdrop of continued financial volatility, challenges faced by commodity exporters and low inflation."

An increasing number of countries are seemingly shifting to negative interest rates in a bid to boost demand, but the G20 has instead recommended a potential three-way solution, including boosting productivity and employment, lowering interest rates and, if affordable, fewer austerity measures.

However, there are concerns across Europe that growth is too slow to significantly lower unemployment or raise the inflation rate.

The UK's referendum on EU membership is unlikely to have helped matters, with finance ministers fearing that a "Brexit" could be a more likely than previously thought.

In contrast, the 6.7 per cent growth recorded by China means it has maintained its status as an important beacon of economic growth, with a number of financial experts praising the country as one of the few larger economies to have taken the steps needed for financial stability.

However, the way in which Beijing avoided a deeper slowdown by encouraging growth in housing and infrastructure to address a slowdown in financial services, is unlikely to be of much comfort to the rest of the world.