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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 11:20, September 24, 2005
G7 agree to tackle surge in energy prices
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Finance officials from the Group of Seven (G-7) countries said on Friday in Washington that soaring energy prices pose a risk to global economic activity and agreed to take actions to tackle the surge in energy prices.

In a joint statement released by finance ministers and central bank governors after a one-day meeting, the G-7 countries said that high energy prices, growing global imbalance and rising protectionist pressure have increased the risks to the global economic outlook.

The G-7 finance officials encouraged oil-producing countries and producers to make available additional oil and oil products to the market and called for a sustained increase in supply by those with spare capacity.

They also said that oil-producing countries should ensure a favorable investment to increase the supply of oil and urged countries to explore alternative sources of energy and to improve conservation efforts.

The G-7 countries pressed for more timely and accurate information about the oil market, which officials said could help control price fluctuations and make companies more willing to expand oil and gas production.

The statement also said that the challenge of addressing global imbalances over the medium term is a shared responsibility of the international community and must be undertaken in a way that maximizes sustained growth.

It admitted that the G-7 countries have a critical part to play and vigorous action is needed to address global imbalance and foster growth.

The G-7 countries affirmed that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals but also stressed that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rate are undesirable for economic growth.

In another matter, G-7 finance officials called for the speedy enactment of a plan to erase billions of dollars worth of debt that poor countries owe the World Bank and other lending institutions.

They called upon members of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund to "expeditiously complete this historic and crucial initiative."

The plan initially calls for canceling 40 billion dollars in debt that 18 poor countries owe to the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Fund.

The G-7 countries along with Russia also sent a letter on Friday to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, with each country pledging to pay for the costs of the debt cancellation program.

The G-7 consists of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada and their financial leader held the meeting in the eve of the joint annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank which will open on Saturday.

Source: Xinhua

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