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G20 unites amid global recession warnings

Posted on 30 March 2020
G20 unites amid global recession warnings

Rebecca Gredley
(Australian Associated Press)

The world's largest economies are urgently working together in a bid to ease the impacts of a looming global recession because of coronavirus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg took part in a conference call on Monday evening with other financial leaders of G20 countries, the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as well as central banks from across the world.

Mr Frydenberg said about 80 countries had asked for financial support from the IMF as the impact of the pandemic becomes acute on developing countries.

"The expectation is that global growth will be negative this year," he told AAP in a statement.

"All governments agreed that coordinated global fiscal action is required, including providing increased liquidity to financial markets and sharing experiences in domestic markets.

"There is a real sense of urgency which is being reflected in the large economic support packages being released."

G20 leaders including Scott Morrison and Donald Trump will meet for a virtual summit later this week as the world races to contain the virus.

The summit, called by this year's chair, Saudi Arabia, will be complicated by an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus.

US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News his counterparts agreed to act to support their own economies, and coordinate internationally as needed. But he gave no specifics.

"This is a team effort to kill this virus and provide economic relief," Mr Mnuchin said.

The US government is struggling to win congressional approval for a nearly $2 trillion rescue package.

The IMF and the World Bank have both forecast the pandemic would trigger a global recession in 2020.

Argentina, whose debt has been deemed unsustainable by the IMF, warned fellow G20 members they must act decisively to "avoid a social meltdown" as the pandemic spreads.

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