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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Finance officials from the Group of 20 (G20) major economies agreed on Sunday to continue monitoring the risk from the coronavirus outbreak and to adopt appropriate policies to limit the global economic impact, Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister Mohammad Al-Jadaan said.
The two-day gathering in Riyadh was dominated by growing concern over the widening fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, with the International Monetary Fund predicting it would shave 0.1 percentage point off global growth.
The finance minister also said Saudi Arabia is in contact with other countries to coordinate any support for Lebanon based on economic reforms.
“The Kingdom has been and will remain supportive to Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” Al-Jadaan told reporters at the end of the G20 meeting.
French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, meanwhile, said on Saturday that his country was ready to support Lebanon financially — bilaterally or multilaterally — warning against mixing economic recovery in the small Mediterranean state with US-led efforts to counter Iran in the region.
“France always stands ready to help Lebanon. It has always been the case in the past and it will be the case in the future...” Bruno Le Maire said.
Meanwhile, the meeting reached agreement on the wording of a final communique that includes for the first time a reference to climate change, G20 diplomatic sources said.
Compromise language hammered out to overcome US objections retained a reference to the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability, although it dropped climate change from its list of downside risks to global economic growth.
One of the sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement.
Concerns about the economic impact of climate change have escalated in recent years and pressure is mounting on business to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy ahead of United Nations climate talks in November.
A report issued last week forecast the world’s financial services sector risks losses of up to $1 trillion if it fails to respond quickly to climate change and is hit by policy shifts such as the introduction of a carbon tax.
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