APEC ministers pledge to avoid competitive devaluations

AP News
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Posted: Sep 11, 2015 8:36 AM
APEC ministers pledge to avoid competitive devaluations

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Finance ministers from Asian and Pacific nations said Friday they are committed to strengthening economic growth and stability in the region and will refrain from competitive currency devaluations amid financial volatility.

The finance ministers from the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum made the statement at the end of their two-day meeting in central Cebu City ahead of a leaders' summit in November.

They said they would refrain from competitive devaluations and resist all forms of protectionism.

Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin, whose country's currency devaluation in August rattled global financial markets, said "China agrees that we will not to adopt the practice of competitive depreciation."

A devaluation can help boost a country's exports by making them cheaper to buy with other currencies and more competitive.

"We reaffirm our previous commitments on monetary and exchange rate policies. We will refrain from competitive devaluation and resist all forms of protectionism," the ministers' statement said.

Shi said the Chinese economy is facing "some downward pressure" and acknowledged volatilities in the capital and stock markets following the Aug. 11 devaluation, which was "totally because of technical reasons and factors."

He said the problems were only a "temporary phenomenon and they can only last ... one to two months."

In their statement, the finance ministers said they have crafted a voluntary and non-binding plan they will submit to the leaders aimed at creating "an APEC community that is more prosperous, financially integrated, transparent, resilient and connected."

They said the continued growth of the region requires efficient, innovative and competitive financial markets and promised to work to develop a more inclusive market across APEC as well as facilitate intra-regional trade and investment and greater regional integration.

Recognizing that the region faces frequent costly natural disasters, the finance ministers agreed to enhance their financial resilience "through the development of innovative disaster risk financing and insurance mechanisms and other risk transfer instruments" in the capital markets.

They said they have commissioned the Manila-based Asian Development Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to prepare a report on managing the financial risks of disasters.

They also asked the World Bank to study and report on options for regional disaster risk financing mechanisms, including risk pooling among interested APEC nations.

The region is located along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common, and is hit by frequent typhoons. Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central Philippines in 2013, leaving more than 7,300 dead or missing.