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Banking

Brazil to gain a new global profile?

The G20 summit in Washington in mid-November was generally seen as underwhelming – largely as a result of the political leadership vacuum caused by President Bush’s lame-duck presidency. However, there was one historic achievement: emerging market countries such as Brazil were invited to play a larger role in determining the course of the global economy.

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Brazil – along with Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey – look set to gain some power in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which for decades have been a thorn in the side of developing nations. Speaking after the summit, President Lula said: "In the next meeting of the G20 [to be held in April], concrete, necessary steps to make financial institutions more democratic need to be put at the centre of the debate."

The practical changes that will result from the greater inclusion of emerging nations in the global financial infrastructure have yet to be worked out. But President Lula has indicated that more regulation of the global financial system is necessary and desirable to emerging countries. Such regulation could encompass changes in accountancy standards, rules for credit rating agencies (long a bugbear for emerging markets) and international guidelines on bankruptcy rules.

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