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World Leaders Meet as Global Economy Faces Multiple Threats – New York Times – 15.11.22

High inflation, food insecurity and a possible global recession loom large as the Group of 20 summit discussions begin.

By Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport

BALI, Indonesia — World leaders gathered on Tuesday at a moment of severe geopolitical turmoil, as the global economy slinks toward recession, weighed down by high inflation, a growing scarcity of food and the side-by-side threats of oil shock and financial crisis.

President Biden and his counterparts in many of the Group of 20 nations, which include wealthy countries like Britain and Japan and emerging markets like India and Brazil, are pushing for an aggressive and coordinated response to those threats. They hope to broker agreements meant to dampen global oil prices, help emerging markets escape crushing debt and increase food supplies to poorer nations where the cost of grain, rice and other staples has spiked since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But the administration’s efforts have hit strong opposition from the two countries that will dominate Mr. Biden’s attention at the summit, and that can arguably do the most right now to lift the world’s economic outlook: Russia and China.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has been responsible for much of the economic uncertainty facing the world, and on Tuesday world leaders called for ending the war and easing global conflict.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressed the G20 gathering by video link and called again on Russia — whose leader, President Vladimir V. Putin, is not attending — to immediately withdraw its troops. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, is attending the summit in Mr. Putin’s place.

Repeating his demands for accountability for Russian violations of international law, Mr. Zelensky said that Ukraine would not end its resistance until its territory was restored. “Every day of delay means new deaths of Ukrainians, new threats to the world, and an insane increase in losses due to continuation of the Russian aggression — losses for everyone in the world,” he said.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, did not directly mention the war in his remarks at the summit but referred to a tense geopolitical environment and disrupted supply chains for food and energy.

“All countries should replace division with unity,” he said, according to a transcript from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. China, which has an increasingly strong partnership with Russia, has not condemned Moscow’s invasion, but this month Mr. Xi cautioned against “the threat or use of nuclear weapons” in the conflict.

It is a pivotal moment for the global economy, as rising interest rates around the world are slowing growth and heightening recession fears. The strengthening U.S. dollar is worsening the debt burdens of developing economies, increasing the chances that government defaults rip through the world financial system like wildfire.

The International Monetary Fund, which downgraded its growth outlook last month, expects global output to remain sluggish this year and in 2023. In its latest projections, the I.M.F. forecast the global economy to grow 3.2 percent this year and to slow to 2.7 percent in 2023. China’s growth appears to have stalled. Countries like Britain are already entering a recession, economic data suggest.

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“Hopeful signs of recovery last year were replaced by an abrupt slowdown in the world economy because of Covid, the war in Ukraine and climate disasters on all continents,” Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the I.M.F., said in a speech at the Group of 20 meetings on Tuesday.

The World Bank said in a separate report released on Monday that food insecurity remained a major problem despite signs that rising food prices had eased in recent months. More than 200 million people are projected to experience “severe food insecurity” in 2022.

“Domestic food price inflation continues to remain high in almost all low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries,” the World Bank said. “Despite decreases in global food prices since their peak in April, multiple risks threaten the downward trend in prices.”

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World Leaders Meet as Global Economy Faces Multiple Threats – New York Times – 15.11.22
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Jim Tankersley is a White House correspondent with a focus on economic policy. He has written for more than a decade in Washington about the decline of opportunity for American workers, and is the author of "The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America's Middle Class." @jimtankersley

Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. He previously worked for The Financial Times and The Economist. @arappeport

A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 16, 2022, Section A, Page 7 of the New York edition with the headline: Leaders Meet as Global Economy Faces Multiple Threats. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

President Biden met with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, for three hours in Bali on Monday. Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times.

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