The world's top 20 major economies may agree to set an ambitious target for faster global growth at a weekend meeting of G-20 in Sydney, where major central banks are also being urged to coordinate policies to avoid "surprises" that could roil emerging markets.
Opening the two-day meeting of the G-20 finance ministers and central bankers on Saturday, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said support was building for setting a numerical goal for growth.
"I have a great sense of hope that this G-20 meeting will be able to lay down a real and tangible framework for an increase in the growth of the global economy over the next five years," said Hockey, who is hosting the Sydney gathering.
If adopted, the plan would mark a departure for the G-20, as previous attempts to set fiscal and current account targets have dissolved into bickering. And while a target would largely be aspirational, it would mark a sea change from recent meetings where the debate was all about growth versus budget austerity.
France's finance minister, Pierre Moscovici, welcomed a goal of lifting world growth by a total of 2.5 percentage points over five years, calling it ambitious but "not unrealistic".
A G-20 source said the Germans had withdrawn their opposition to setting an overall target, as long as there were no goals imposed for individual states.
However, not all the German camp seemed to be happy, with Jens Weidmann, head of the country's central bank, saying quantitative targets were "problematic in my view".
And Nhlanhla Nene, South Africa's Deputy Finance Minister, said there was still a lot of work to be done.
"For us, whatever the target is, if that target doesn't talk to our issues of dealing with inequality, unemployment, dealing with our growth, but also looking at the broader integration and making sure that we have a stable environment at the global level in which to operate, unless they talk to that it wouldn't mean anything to us," he said.
The plan borrows wholesale from an International Monetary Fund paper prepared for the G20 meeting which estimated that structural reforms would raise world growth by about 0.5