APEC finance ministers kick off 2-day meeting in Bali

Finance ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum began a two-day meeting in Bali on Thursday to discuss ways to boost growth and strengthen regional resiliency amid current turbulence being experienced by emerging economies.

The APEC financial chiefs are expected to emphasize the urgency to continue structural reform in all economies, particularly the emerging ones, amid concerns that the recent instability in emerging financial markets may more broadly impact the global economy.

Earlier Thursday, stocks in emerging markets, which had been affected by worries of the U.S. Federal Reserve winding down its stimulus program, soared soon after the Fed surprisingly decided to leave the plan intact.

India and Indonesia have been hardest hit by the fears, with capital outflows and falls in exchange rates and stock prices.

The ministerial gathering takes place less than two weeks after the leaders of the Group of 20 leading economies, at their summit in St. Petersburg, reiterated the need for industrialized countries to flexibly promote fiscal consolidation to prevent a recurrence of shocks such as the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

The APEC ministers are also expected to discuss trade finance as a means to facilitate trade activities in the region and the impact of global crises on trade finance.

At the conclusion of their talks in Nusa Dua, a beach resort on Bali Island, the finance ministers will witness the signing of statement of intent among Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, which are involved in the Asia Region Funds Passport scheme.

Initiated by Australia, the scheme will provide a multilaterally agreed framework allowing the cross-border issuing of funds across participating economies in Asia.

APEC sources said Japan and Taiwan may also sign up, but officials of the two economies have not confirmed it.

APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.