The Great Debate UK

Re-entry dilemma for G20 ministers


copeland1- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

As the G20 ministers gather for their meeting this week, there should be no doubt about the item at the top of the agenda: the re-entry problem. At what point should the expansionary monetary and fiscal policy of the past year be reversed? And, if the answer is “not yet”, how soon does the re-entry plan need to be announced?

Since nobody is quite sure how much of the current worldwide economic recovery is a direct or indirect result of the various stimulus packages, quantitative easing, cash-for-junk-vehicles and cash-for-junk-bond schemes, it follows that nobody can be sure whether or when it is safe to reverse the fiscal expansion.

But leaving it too late to retrench will hand the decision over to the bond markets. They will be looking for reassurance from the major debtor countries that both versions of the default scenario can be ruled out.