Sept. 4 - Syria is expected to be the main topic of conversation at this week's G20 summit. As world leaders start arriving in the region Joanna Partridge looks at what progress is likely to be made on other key economic issues, such as recent volatility in emerging markets.
Big hitters arriving for the G20 summit. Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde was among the first to land in St Petersburg. The Group of 20 cut its teeth during the financial crisis - working to improve cooperation between developed and emerging economies on economic issues. This time, Syria is firmly at the top of the agenda. US President Obama - visiting Sweden ahead of the summit - said he was hopeful the G20 host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, would change his position on Syria. But the mere prospect of US-led action has been enough to rattle markets. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is expected to hold bilateral talks with several international leaders at the two-day meeting. David Buik from Panmure Gordon is hoping for some kind of agreement. SOUNDBITE: David Buik, Panmure Gordon, saying (English): "What I would like to see is the rumours that I've read that President Putin hasn't ruled out the possibility of joining the escalation of dislike for what's happening with these chemical weapons and wouldn't rule out the possibility of military action. I think I've probably just seen a pink elephant fly outside the window, but if there was any truth to that I think the G20 would have had a right royal result." Leaders are also likely to discuss recent turbulence in emerging markets. Indian Prime Minister Mamohan Singh is only too aware. He's seen the rupee lose around 20% against the dollar since May, hitting an all-time low. Brazil's and Indonesia's currencies have also slid, all largely due to the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to scale back its massive bond-buying programme. India has called for joint currency intervention, but there hasn't been any sign of other BRIC nations rushing to its aid. Christian Schulz from Berenberg Bank. SOUNDBITE: Christian Schulz, Berenberg Bank, saying (English): "I think there will be behind-the-curtain talks about at what stage there should be an intervention by global central banks to support economies and to support currencies. I don't think that there will be an official announcement, but there should be something along the lines of the last meetings where the Americans pretty much said they would take into account the effects of their monetary policy changes on the rest of the world." While the G20 gives leaders a chance to debate the main global issues, few are expecting them to reach agreement. The leaders represent around two-thirds of the world population and 90% of global economic output. Such a wide span of interests can make it hard to forge a united front.