G20 warns of threats facing global economy: Midday roundup

The world’s largest economies have warned of threats facing the global economic recovery, including developments in Europe and a possible fiscal policy change in the United States.

“Global growth remains modest and downside risks are still elevated, including due to possible delays in the complex implementation of recent policy announcements in Europe, a potential sharp fiscal tightening in the United States, [and] securing funding for this year’s budget in Japan,” Group of 20 finance chiefs said in a statement.

The group also said that “weaker growth” in some nations and “additional supply shocks” are very real threats.

Both the euro zone debt crisis and the United States’ “fiscal cliff” were among key points discussed during the G20 conference.

“The United States will carefully calibrate the pace of fiscal tightening to ensure that public finances are placed on a sustainable long-run path while avoiding a sharp fiscal contraction in 2013,” the G20 statement said.

Westpac chief pledges on returns

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly has said she is prepared to forgo areas of low return in order to fulfil investors’ expectations for growth.

”We’ve put a line in the sand about making sure we maintain our [return on equity],” Kelly said, according to Fairfax.

”We’re directing our effort and energy where we believe we can get the best returns.”

Shares flat on weak Wall Street leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat today, following similar leads from offshore markets as the world awaits the outcome of the United States presidential election.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 2.4 points or 0% to 4,476.5 at 11.25 AEST, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.3 points or 0.2% to 13,112.4

Obama, Romney make last-minute appeals

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have made their last campaign stops before polls open in the United States for the presidential election.

While Romney is tied with Obama in the national polls, key swing states show a likely victory for the president.

“We need every single vote in Florida,” Romney said in Florida, a key state for the election. “We ask you to stay at it all the way to victory on Tuesday night,” he said.

Obama stopped by Wisconsin, appealing for another four years in office.

“You have seen the scars on me to prove it. You’ve seen the grey hair on my head to show you what it means to fight for change, and you have been there with me,” he said.

 

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