U.S. Sees Emerging Market Woes as Focal Point At G20

Economic policymakers from the world's biggest economies will focus on recent financial market turbulence when they meet next week in Sydney, a senior official at the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20, which brings together the world's biggest economies and acts as a steering committee for global economic policy, will meet Feb. 22-23 in Australia.

Stock, bond and currency markets in developing countries have convulsed in recent months, hit by concerns over weaker economic growth and the winding down of monetary stimulus in the United States.

"Clearly this will be one of the focal points," the official said in a call with journalists.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will attend the meetings.

He is likely to get an earful over Washington's failure to follow through on a pledge to give developing nations a bigger say at the International Monetary Fund. The official told reporters that the Obama administration was still trying to persuade Congress to approve the IMF reforms.

"We recognize that the United States' continued delay in adopting the reforms is a setback," the official said.

Washington also will urge Europeans to act decisively to fix their banking system, as weak lending is dragging on economic growth in the region. The European Central Bank is due to release a review of assets in big banks this year.

"A rigorous asset quality review and stress tests will be central to restoring confidence in the euro zone's banking sector," the official said.

Washington has repeatedly expressed concern in recent months that Europe is moving too slowly to heal its crisis-stricken economy.

The Treasury official repeated the administration's view that surplus countries in Europe, which is code for Germany and other creditor nations, have too little domestic demand in their economy. This situation, he said, weighs on the global economy.

He also repeated the administration's position that Japan must be careful to boost its economy by lifting domestic demand. This is an allusion to the U.S. view that Japan's massive monetary stimulus, which has weakened the value of the yen, should not be used as a tool to boost exports.