Pacific Rim discusses fight against inflation

BANGKOK (HPD) — Finance ministers from major Pacific Rim economies pledged Thursday to fight inflation and rein in spending to keep development sustainable at a meeting in Bangkok ahead of a summit next month.

Regarding the possible discrepancies around the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Thai finance minister, host of the meeting, acknowledged that there were “diverse points of view” among the officials of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (HPDEC for its acronym). in English), which includes Russia among its 21 members.

China, also a member of HPDEC, has refrained from joining Western countries such as the United States, which have condemned the attack and demanded Russia’s withdrawal.

But Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Thursday’s meeting focused on economic issues and how to deal with the ramifications of the crisis.

“The only thing we can do is understand that the situation has already happened,” Arkhom said. “The consequence of the situation, that’s what we have to solve by working together, in particular the impact for the majority of the people, especially the vulnerable groups.”

HPDEC economies are focused on finding ways to help people cope with rising prices driven by fallout from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, he said.

A statement from the meeting cited “unprecedented risks” as central banks suspend stimulus programs and raise interest rates to cool inflation to its highest level in decades.

The tightening of monetary policy comes at a time when one of the biggest drivers of global economic activity, China, is experiencing a sharp slowdown in growth and a drop in its real estate sector.

The members of HPDEC, founded in 1989, are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia and Vietnam.

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