Sarkozy: soaring commodity prices threaten world growth
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Tuesday for tighter controls on the speculators he blames for soaring food and energy prices threatening global growth.
Saying the world had "worked extremely hard" to revive growth in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Sarkozy said "one of the main threats to growth is the rising cost of commodities."
The president has said he plans to use France's chairmanship of the Group of 20 top economies to push for regulations to curb speculative trade in the commodities markets but this has met strong resistance from suppliers such as Brazil and Argentina who have benefited from high prices.
Sarkozy, speaking at the invitation of European Commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso, said "the G20 nations are the first concerned by this issue and it is up to them to install conditions for sustainable growth."
The same rules applied to curb financial market speculation needed to be used to crack down on commodities prices which threaten inflation and social tensions.
Speaking ahead of a meeting next week of G20 farm ministers, Sarkozy won support from Barroso, who said the issue was vital as the commodities markets expanded and price volatility increased with the involvement of new investors.
Sarkozy said deregulation in the financial and banking sectors had brought the world to the edge of an abyss.
"A market with no rules is no longer a market ... What caused catastrophe for the financial markets can lead to the same catastrophe on the raw materials market," he said.
"Regulation does not mean control, it does not mean fixing prices arbitrarily," Sarkozy said, adding that more transparency was needed in the markets.
© 2011 AFP