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Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Analysis: Years of weak growth sow doubt in economic rescue plans

More than three years after the end of the global recession, sluggish activity across rich and poor economies is confounding policymakers who expected more by now and raising concerns that options for kick-starting growth are increasingly limited.They face a sobering checklist:The U.S. economy remains shackled by a mountain of household debt and continues to whipsaw between periods of modest growth and next to none at all.The euro zone is mired in recession, lurching from crisis to crisis and now dealing with the latest trouble spot in Cyprus.And even such star performers as China and Brazil have run low on gas. China in 2012 posted its weakest year of growth since 1999. Brazil's economy slowed to a near standstill; at the same time, it faces a growing threat from inflation.Against this backdrop, the exasperation of finance ministers and central bankers attending last week's Group of 20 and International Monetary Fund meetings was palpable. The official communiques and sideline discuss...

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