Yen weakness to top agenda at G7 finance summit

FRANKFURT, Feb 4, 2007 (AFP) – The current weakness of the Japanese yen is likely to top the agenda when finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of Seven (G7) countries gather in the western city of Essen next weekend. But if European governments entertained any hope the club of the world’s seven richest nations might devise a strategy to steer the Japanese currency higher, those hopes were dashed this week when both Washington and Tokyo signalled that no concerted action was on the cards.

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who will host the meeting in Essen’s Philharmonic Hall on February 9 and 10, is keen to talk about the yen’s recent slump to record lows, which gives Japanese goods a huge competitive advantage over exports from the eurozone.

The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
And host nation Germany has also invited non-G7 participants as guests to the meeting, including top officials from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia and South America.

“Exchange rates will be discussed, and that will include a discussion of the euro-yen exchange rate,” Steinbrueck said after chairing the monthly meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels last week.