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March 16, 2009

G20 agree to raise IMF funds
Before a key summit on tackling the economic crisis, rich and emerging nations have agreed common ground on hiking IMF funds and stricter market regulation but remain split on stimulus measures,reported AFP.

G20 finance ministers on Saturday vowed to take "whatever action is necessary" on the world economic slowdown, after talks preparing for a London summit of world leaders on April 2.

They played down signs of division between the United States and Europe on how best to boost the global economy, insisting the road to the summit next month was smooth.

"We're prepared to take whatever action is necessary to ensure growth is restored and we're committed to do that for however long it takes," British finance minister Alistair Darling said Saturday after hosting the G20 talks.

"I believe that this does provide a very clear sense of direction."

The politicians managed to reach agreement on the need for an "urgent" and substantial funding boost for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), although a communique issued afterwards did not state a figure.

They also agreed to some tougher regulation of the financial system.

But the meeting failed to reach consensus on a new stimulus package, despite controversial calls from the US, the world's largest economy, for coordinated international pump-priming in recent days.

US President Barack Obama, who will attend the London summit in April, denied there were divisions on how to tackle the financial crisis, deriding such a notion as a "phony" story drummed up by the media.

"I don't know where this notion has emerged that somehow there are sides developing with respect to the G20," Obama told reporters after meeting Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the White House.

Agreement on IMF funding came after the United States recently suggested that its lending capacity should be trebled to $750 billion dollars (580 billion euros). European leaders want to double the figure to $500 billion.

The G20 on Saturday stated its key priority was restoring bank lending to help ease the effects of the crisis.
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