G8 code calls for open statistics

FINANCE ministers and central bank governors of the world's leading economies, meeting in London this weekend, will give their initial approval to a draft code for greater openness in financial statistics in the wake of the Asian crisis.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said yesterday that one of the lessons of the recent turmoil was the need for greater transparency. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been drawing up the code proposed by the UK at its annual meeting in September.

Mr Brown added that the G8 meeting (the G7 big industrial countries plus Russia) would also be considering new assessments about the impact of events in Asia on the world economy. The latest estimates by the IMF suggested it would trim 0.8 per cent off world growth this year and 0.4 per cent from growth in the advanced economies.

Asia is expected to dominate the agenda on Saturday, with discussions of the IMF's plans to press ahead with further liberalisation of capital flows despite the recent crisis. The need for reform and improved regulation of banking in emerging markets will also be discussed.

Other members are also expected to express their concern about the weakness of the yen and the scale of the planned boost to the Japanese economy.

The G8 meeting is to be followed on Sunday by a jobs summit for North American and European finance and economics ministers. Mr Brown said: "The purpose is to find new ways of responding to the need for job creation and job opportunities."

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