David Cameron warns G20 of 1930s-style Depression
The world could slide into a 1930s-style Depression, David Cameron has claimed, as the G20 summit struggled to find common ground on the best way to boost the global economy.
British officials played down the prospect of a resolution of the escalating dispute between China and the US over the value of their currencies.
The leaders, meeting in the South Korean capital Seoul, are finding it difficult to recapture the spirit of unity which was achieved at the London summit 19 months ago, at which they agreed a $1 trillion (£625bn) stimulus package for the world economy.
Speaking ahead of detailed negotiations overnight, Mr Cameron warned of disaster if disputes over currency levels —vital for making nations' exports competitive — meant that the world's major economies looked inward. The main flashpoint has been the recriminations between the US and China. Washington is accusing Beijing of keeping the value of its currency, the yuan, artificially low to give its exports a huge competitive advantage.
The Chinese, who have lent the United States nearly $800bn (£496bn), are resisting the pressure and believe the US has been hypocritical in pumping $600bn (£375bn) into their own coffers — a move also apparently designed to keep the dollar low.
A Chinese ministry of commerce spokesman said Beijing did not want a confrontation with the US over currencies or trade issues, but that Washington “should not force others to take medicine for its own disease”.