G20 group meets as the gloom deepens

As the eurozone was expected today to officially slide into recession, Gordon Brown heads to Washington for yet another conference about the worsening global economic crisis.

The eurozone economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the June quarter and is expected to shrink further in the most recent three-month period.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts a slump by 0.5 per cent next year.

George Bush

Summit: George Bush will meet with leaders of the G20 group, including Gordon Brown

Leaders of the so-called G20 group are gathering at the invitation of President Bush to develop a plan to tackle the worldwide slowdown.

President-elect Barack Obama will not be attending the meeting, however, raising doubts over what it can achieve.

Bush has said he wants the summit to focus on ways to spur growth.
While stocks rallied in Asia today, there are signs that conditions are worsening quickly.

Germany yesterday officially entered a recession with a second quarter of contraction. Its economy shrank 0.4 per cent, and then 0.5 per cent in the third quarter.

Meanwhile the Chinese economy, until recently thought an insurance policy that would maintain global growth, is slowing faster than anticipated with Beijing saying it faces a 'formidable challenge' to prevent a slump. 

China's economy grew by 9 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier and that may fall to 5.8 per cent this quarter, according Credit Suisse.

A 'severe situation at home and abroad' and past policies to prevent overheating have undermined growth, Mu Hong, a top planning official, said.

His comments came as Sinopec, Asia's biggest oil refiner, said it will reduce crude processing by 10 per cent in November from July's record as demand falls.

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