G8 asks IMF to analyze role of speculators in oil price hike
The finance ministers of the world's leading economies on Saturday asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) to analyze the factors currently driving crude oil prices to previously unknown levels, dpa reported.
Finance ministers from the Group of Eight (G8) called on both organizations to carry out "further analysis of real and financial factors" behind the recent surge in oil and commodity prices.
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said several members of the Group of Eight (G8) believed investigation on whether speculation was driving prices was necessary.
"The rise in commodity prices has many reasons ... demand is very close to maximum supply," he told reporters after the meeting.
"You may also think that that's not enough and one may think that some financial considerations may be at stake - this is why the G8 asked the IMF to produce a report," he added.
After "intensive discussions" on the role of speculation, further analysis of "what is really going on" was necessary before taking further measures, Deputy Foreign Minister Thomas Mirow, Germany's representative at the G8 said, explaining the lack of debate on hands-on measures.
But whether the behaviour of funds managers balancing their investments with countercyclical assets was speculation or the correct management of their funds and how far-reaching those influences were was the main question the IMF was setting out to investigate until the its annual meeting in October, Strauss-Kahn said.
"How important this is and what influence this has on the market we are going to investigate," he said.
In their final statement the G8 finance ministers stressed their strong concern about the sharp rise in oil prices and its impact on the global economy. They called for an increase in crude production and transparency of the oil markets, but stopped short of announcing concrete measures.