G20 Leaders Pledge To Avert Currency War

A meeting of finance ministers from the 20 leading industrial and developing nations wrapped up over the weekend in Moscow. The nations agreed to not to target the exchange rates of their respective currencies amid concerns that competitive devaluation could spark a currency war.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with currency worries.

Leaders from the top 20 industrial and developing nations are pledging to avert a currency war, which could threaten the fragile global economic recovery. At the G20 meeting in Moscow over the weekend, there was concern that some countries were intentionally devaluing their currencies in order to gain a competitive edge in trade.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: The United States was accused of intentionally devaluing the dollar during the Bush administration in order to make its products cheaper and more competitive overseas.

The most recent target of these charges is Japan, where the yen is trading at a three-year low. A joint communique agreed on by G20 leaders over the weekend doesn't single out Japan, or anyone else, it just pledges that countries should resist all forms of protectionism, keep their markets open, and perhaps most importantly, not devalue their currencies.

International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde sought to downplay concerns of a currency war at a news conference after the meetings wrapped up.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: We have heard currency worries, not currency war.

SIEGLER: Lagarde called the G20 meetings productive.

LAGARDE: We have not seen confrontation, but a dialogue, deliberation, discussions.

SIEGLER: Taro Aso is Japan's finance minister.

TARO ASO: Our target is to get out from the recession and deflation. That is our main purpose.

SIEGLER: Speaking briefly there in an interview with Bloomberg News, Aso disputed claims that the devaluing of the yen is an effort to stimulate Japan's economy, the world's third largest.

Kirk Siegler, NPR News.

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