G20 finance ministers are meeting in Turkey with Greece's fate and global turbulence caused by diverging monetary polices and cheap oil uppermost in policymakers' minds. As Amy Pollock reports the leaders may take some comfort from the latest economic data from the euro zone.
Security was tight as the G20 meeting got underway in Istanbul. Turkey's neighbours Syria and Greece are causing headaches, as is unrest in nearby Ukraine. But the brave faces of European leaders were for once reflected by positive economic data. The ECB's bond-buying plan has pushed up sentiment in the euro zone for a fourth straight month. And Germany's seasonally-adjusted exports hit a record high in December. The OECD also acknowleged the economy was looking up in Europe, although its head Angel Gurria says the G20 nations should do more to help. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OECD SECRETARY-GENERAL, ANGEL GURRIA, SAYING: "It is important that the structural reform agenda contribute to boosting demand and put more emphasis on those measures, then, in addition to boosting productivity in job creation, can support activity in the near term." Ministers in Istanbul face a tough task agreeing how to boost growth globally, with so many conflicting factors - stagnation and deflation to name just two. Italy's Economy minister Pier Carlo Padoan . (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN ECONOMY MINISTER PIER CARLO PADOAN, SAYING: "To deal with these two issues there is no other way but the one to put on the table all the policy instruments both at the European and the international level." Cheap oil - while good for the consumer - is also hitting inflation. And Greece is threatening Europe's fragile recovery. The U.S. also looks set to raise interest rates - in contrast to the rest of the world. But CCLA's James Bevan says that may not be as big a problem as some think. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CCLA JAMES BEVAN SAYING: "We know that it is a significant importer, we know it has benefitted from its own low energy costs, but I fully expect to see improving numbers coming out of euro land and I certainly expect China's government to take appropriate steps to ensure that their economy improves." Last year G20 nations committed to raising growth by two percent over four years. This time they're discussing how best to achieve that - but agreement is proving a challenge.