Yellen sees no 'showstoppers' for G7 loan for Ukraine, backed by Russian asset income

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday she sees no “showstoppers” in her talks with fellow G7 treasury ministers over a bigger loan to Ukraine backed by revenue from frozen Russian government bonds.

Yellen told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 financial leaders that not all technical details of the loan proposal need to be worked out this weekend.

“I think things are looking pretty good” because he agreed on the concept of the loan, Yellen said after several bilateral meetings on the first day of the two-day financial summit in the northern Italian resort of Stresa.

“I haven't seen anything that I consider a showstopper, but there are some issues that we need to resolve and people are going to have to be flexible to come to an agreement,” Yellen said.

The head of the U.S. Treasury Department has pushed her counterparts in the talks to agree to bringing forward revenues from some $300 billion in Russian government bonds to support a larger loan to Ukraine.

But it has become clear that no hard details about the loan will emerge from the Stresa talks.

“I am hopeful that we can essentially agree that this is a concept that we can further develop in the coming weeks and present to leaders for consideration in June.”

G7 leaders will meet next month in Puglia, southern Italy. The group of industrial democracies includes the US, Japan, Germany, France, Britain and Italy.

Yellen also told Reuters that there are differing views among G7 finance ministers on the level of concern about China's industrial overcapacity, which she said threatens the viability of companies in market-driven economies.

On the first day of the G7 meeting, some ministers expressed concern about a possible trade war in the wake of new US tariffs on Chinese goods, but the finance ministers of Germany, France and host Italy said a common front was needed against the China's growing export power.

“I think there is a general understanding that we need to express a common set of concerns to China,” she said. “It is that China's overall macroeconomic strategy is worrisome and has negative spillovers.”

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