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G-20 draft highlights global growth hopes

LOS CABOS, Mexico -- The leaders of the world's largest economies will portray themselves as united behind efforts to boost growth and job creation in order to repair a global economy roiled by fears over the European financial crisis, according to a draft of the statement to be released Tuesday at the end of the Group of 20 annual meeting.

It's far from certain, however, that the reassuring words will sooth markets whose harsh judgment of the official response to the crisis appears to be pushing Europe closer to catastrophe by the day. On Monday, less than 12 hours after a Greek election quelled fears that the country could make a devastating exit from the Euro, fears about Spain drove that massive economy's borrowing costs dangerously close to the level where it would need a bailout.

The statement by the G-20 leaders includes language that appears aimed at easing the Spanish crisis by reassuring investors that Spain's treasury won't end up eating the costs of the up to 100 billion euro rescue of Spain's banks announced this month. Fears that the responsibility of paying back the bailout would fall on its government helped drive Spain's borrowing costs above the dangerously high 7 percent level.

“Euro area members of the G-20 will take all necessary policy measures to safeguard the integrity and stability of the area ... and break the feedback loop between sovereigns and banks,” the statement says.

It also places the G-20 on the side of those who have been arguing for a focus on job creation, including through government spending, instead of the budget cutbacks and austerity pushed most notably by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

And it singles out China and Saudi Arabia for commitments to global economic well-being, lauding a Saudi pledge to keep oil prices from going too high by amping up production from its massive reserves, and praises China for a promise to move away from policies that keep its currency artificially low, giving Chinese exports a price advantage on world markets.

“We welcome Saudi Arabia's readiness to mobilize, as necessary, existing spare capacity to ensure adequate supply,” the statement says. “We also welcome the commitment by China to allow market forces to play a larger role in determining movements” in the Chinese currency.

A growing number of European countries having been advocating spending and growth, not austerity, and the G-20 statement appears to place the group of the world's largest economies into that camp.

“We are united in our resolve to promote growth and jobs,” the draft says, declaring that the leaders will announce the “coordinated Los Cabos Growth and Jobs Action Plan” to achieve those goals, although the draft does not provide details of the plan.

It throws its support specifically behind greater government spending as a response to a worsening global economy, saying that countries with the resources “stand ready” to take fiscal action.

The plan says the Obama administration pledged to prevent sharp tax increases and government spending cuts from kicking in at the end of the year, as scheduled under current law, to avoid sending the U.S. into another recession.

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