G20 Finance Leaders Don't Dwell on Germany's Trade Surpluses -- Update

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04/21/2017 | 01:50 pm


By Tom Fairless



WASHINGTON -- Group of 20 finance officials didn't dwell on Germany's large current-account surpluses or the exchange rate of the euro at their meeting in the U.S. capital Thursday, German finance-minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Friday.



Germany's persistent trade surpluses have become a hot topic ineconomic policy circles after a senior Trump administration official accused Berlin of using an undervalued euro to exploit its trading partners.



But Mr. Schaeuble said at a news conference that the topic didn't come up at a gathering of G-20 finance officials, although he said it was discussed in bilateral meetings.



Nor did exchange rates play a major role in the discussion, Mr. Schäeuble said.



Jens Weidmann, president of Germany's Bundesbank, warned at the same event against any policy steps that could endanger global trade.



But the Bundesbank chief also offered an upbeat assessment of the Eurozone's economic recovery, five days before the start of the European Central Bank's next policy meeting.



While he acknowledged political risks facing the region, including French presidential elections starting on Sunday, Mr. Weidmann argued that those risks hadn't yet translated into economic uncertainty.



Both Mr. Weidmann and Mr. Schäeuble have indicated they would support a move by the ECB to start winding down its EUR2.3 trillion bond-purchase program. Top ECB officials have suggested that such a move is unlikely next week.



Write to Tom Fairless at [email protected]





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