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Anti-globalisation populism hurting growth, says G-20

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Washington, DC, on Thursday. G-20 finance chiefs said that with the global economy already dragging, politicians playing up anti-globalisation sentiments to v
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in Washington, DC, on Thursday. G-20 finance chiefs said that with the global economy already dragging, politicians playing up anti-globalisation sentiments to voters could further hurt growth.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • The Group of 20 (G-20) warned yesterday of the risks to the global economy of populist politicians playing up anti-globalisation sentiments to voters.

With the global economy already dragging, finance ministers of the group of leading economies said, such populism could further hurt growth.

"This trend of deep anti-globalisation populism has driven politicians to come up with their campaign slogans and try to win votes and support. That has brought us uncertainty," said Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, speaking on behalf of the G-20 group of economic powers after they met in Washington, DC.

Mr Lou identified such populism as one of the largest threats to global growth, along with geopolitical conflicts and frail banking systems. "The uncertainty and the risks facing the global economy have increased, as some major economies have entered into general elections, the fallout of Brexit is uncertain, the vulnerabilities of the financial system are rising, (and) the expectation of geopolitical tensions is growing."

UNCERTAIN TIMES

This trend of deep anti-globalisation populism has driven politicians to come up with their campaign slogans and try to win votes and support. That has brought us uncertainty.

CHINESE FINANCE MINISTER LOU JIWEI

He did not cite any specific elections or politicians, but the comments came amid the heated United States presidential battle in which Republican candidate Donald Trump has based his campaign on a populist stance against immigration and free trade.

Similar populism underpinned the British vote for pulling out of the European Union and is also a rising force in the coming French and German elections.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-globalisation populism hurting growth, says G-20'. Print Edition | Subscribe