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French finance minister says understanding oil is key

Latest update : 2008-06-13

At a meeting of the G8 in Osaka, Japan, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said harder information was needed on the state and functioning of the world's market for oil in order to understand wild fluctuations in prices.

The Group of Eight industrialised nations needs harder information about the cause of recent wild swings in world oil prices, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said here Friday.
  
"I find it hard to understand the erratic volatility in oil prices" in recent days, she told reporters ahead of talks with fellow G8 finance ministers in the western Japanese city of Osaka.
  
She said that the spike in oil prices appeared to be at least in part linked to demand but said there was a lack of information to explain the surge.
  
Oil prices struck a historic high of 139.12 dollars a barrel in New York last Friday, leaping more than 10 dollars in a single day.
  
Price have seen sharp swings this week as traders fret over supply and demand and the weakness of the US dollar.
  
Lagarde said the G8 needed harder information on the state of crude oil reserves, the functioning of energy markets, and on production and refining capacities.
  
One possibility was for the International Monetary Fund to lead studies into the oil market, she added.
  
Currently, major consumer nations rely largely on the International Energy Agency, the oil market watchdog for industrialised countries, for such information.
  
Finance ministers from Britain, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States are meeting here for two days of talks focused on the impact of soaring oil and food prices on the global economy.
  
Although officials said currencies may not be mentioned in the official G8 joint statement, Lagarde said they would be discussed at the talks.
  
"We cannot talk about volatility on markets with talking about currencies," she said.
  

Date created : 2008-06-13

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