G7 Ministers Fail to Agree Private Sector Rescue Role Diane Coyle in Washington Reports on Plans to Ease Hardship and Handle Future Crises

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FINANCE MINISTERS and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrial countries failed to agree yesterday on how to make private- sector lenders take part in future international financial rescues.

Although they are determined that the private sector must share the burden in future IMF rescues, little progress is expected in the near future.

However, the G7 did reach agreement on plans to sell some of the IMF's $30bn gold reserves to finance a more generous programme of debt relief for the world's poorest countries. Details of the plan are likely to be announced by G7 leaders at their June summit, but the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, urged the sale of at least $3bn of IMF gold to generate extra funds for debt relief. This was the first G7 meeting in almost two years at which there was a sense that the world economic position had begun to improve, senior officials said. Although there are fears about over- dependence on US growth, ministers were cautiously optimistic that the economic and financial crisis is over. European officials stressed that the EU was playing its part in boosting growth. …