Watching the G-20

The G-20 is meeting in Pittsburgh today and tomorrow for what could wind up as a watershed moment in global financial regulation efforts. The worlds top 19 nations plus the EU delegation will gather to discuss the global economic situation and what should be done about it. Some things to watch:

  • Germany and France have been favoring more conservative approaches to fiscal and monetary policy of late, while the U.S. and U.K. have been maintaining a tight grip on their financial sectors. This dichotomy is sure to create some barriers to discuss (and that’s a good thing).
  • There is a push to adopt new international standards for capital requirements, executive pay, and management of systemic risk. Details won’t be worked out this week, but there could be a serious step towards revisiting Basel II.
  • The dollar as global reserve currency is sure to come up, as China continues to question the dollar’s role as dominate in the world’s economy.
  • Will any nations be willing to give up monetary policy autonomy in the name of some misguided progressive notion of planning?
  • There has been a lot of push back against President Obama on the international stage lately, especially after abandoning the missile shield and staking a step towards protectionism. Will he work his magic to pull the conference together as chairman?
  • Will the protesters in Pittsburgh, which has quadrupled it’s police force for this event, make any significant impact on the event. I doubt this will be another battle in Seattle, but the Golden Triangle where the delegates will meet is a tight space that a projected 20,000 to 35,000 protesters could jam up pretty good.