G20 leaders have agreed to curb “persistently large imbalances” in saving and spending and set “indicative guidelines” against trade imbalances, but more specific decisions on how to identify and fix said imbalances were left until next year, reports the New York Times. The finance minsters are to agree on these guidelines by June; the IMF will then use them to analyze the cause and effect of the imbalances in advance of next year's G20 meeting.
The US had called for a 4% limit on national trade deficits, and while the agreement fell well short of that goal, the Times notes that the deal indicates there is consensus that current economic patterns, "in particular, the United States consuming too much, and China too little," are not sustainable. Still, Obama said the world is on “the path to recovery” and that progress had been made: “Instead of hitting home runs, sometimes we’re going to hit singles. But they’re really important singles.”
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