Stock Futures Slip After G20 Meeting Raises Fears of Protectionism

World finance chiefs struggled during a weekend of tense talks to find common ground on boosting trade in a global economy that is finally showing faint signs of momentum.

G20 finance ministers will probably remove any mention of trade in the final communique as Trump's team pushes for language on fair trade and others stick to the open trade mantra.

The communiqué was revised to a commitment by the members "to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies", reports Bloomberg.

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tried to downplay the group's division by saying "balanced trade needs to be what's good for us and what's good for other people, a win-win situation."

He has already pulled the USA out of a proposed free trade deal with Japan and other Pacific Rim countries and is trying to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

"The result is a warning shot for every trading nation and this means also for the German economy", DIHK foreign trade economist Volker Treier said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, taking part in his first worldwide meeting since being sworn in, expressed optimism despite the disagreement over wording.

Financial officials from the world's biggest economies have dropped from a joint statement any mention of financing action on climate change, reportedly following pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

"I understand what the president's desire is and his policies and I negotiated them from here, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome", Mnuchin said.

While some expressed frustration, like French finance minister Michel Sapin, others played down the dispute. "Having said that, we want to re-examine certain agreements".

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, despite admitting a consensus could not be reached on the actual meaning of protectionism, insisted that the meeting was a success and warned against exaggerating the reaction of the American delegation.

"It's completely clear we are not for protectionism". There was some willingness at the meeting to cut Mnuchin some slack and hope the stance of the Trump's still very new team will evolve between now and the July summit of G20 leaders in Hamburg.

  • Leroy Wright