Global finance chiefs sought a way on Friday to put pressure on China to let its currency rise in value to ease global trade imbalances and also aimed to craft a message to soothe turbulent financial markets.
Neither prospect appeared highly promising.
The dollar sank to fresh lows and oil prices briefly topped $90 a barrel as Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers were preparing to meet. Stock prices plummeted around the globe as investors fretted over slowing economic growth.
Just before G7 ministers sat down for a meeting at the U.S. Treasury, a senior Chinese central bank official said allowing the yuan to rise faster would have only a limited impact on China's huge trade surplus and could hurt the world economy.
Some G7 officials indicated a closing communique would present a united front in sharper calls for China to let its tightly controlled currency rise and hinted a nod to Europe's unease at the euro's soaring value might also be included.
"I expect we'll have more pressure from the other market currency countries (on China), especially with the euro being at a relatively high value now," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told Reuters on Thursday.
"I can't anticipate the language ... but I expect it will be a vigorous discussion," he added on Friday.
China has always taken the position -- repeated on Monday by President Hu Jintao -- that it will move gradually and at its own speed on currency and other economic reforms. ( Reuters )