World economic leaders act to counter financial, food price crises

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2008 (AFP) – World economic leaders have taken steps to alleviate the worst financial shock in decades and a food price crisis that is sparking deadly unrest in developing countries. In three days of meetings that ended Sunday, finance ministers and central bankers grappled with the credit squeeze and inflation emergencies against the backdrop of an apparent US recession and a sharply slowing global economy.

The Group of Seven industrialized countries set the alarmed tone on the eve of the annual spring meetings of the 185-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister institution, the World Bank.

Confronted by what the IMF head says is the worst financial crisis since the 1930s Great Depression, finance chiefs from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States decided only greater transparency in the financial system could restore normalcy to the markets.

The G7 endorsed recommendations from an international forum and set for some of them a deadline for implementation unprecedented in its brevity — 100 days.

Recommendation is a “gentle word,” said Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi, who also chairs the Financial Stability Forum that mad