EU's Barnier 'shares fully' Sarkozy drive on commodities

31st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union commissioner responsible for writing new rules governing financial trading said on Tuesday he backs a French drive to rein in the scope for traders in raw materials derivatives.

Former French foreign and agriculture minister Michel Barnier was responding to concerns articulated by French ministers that markets for a wide range of products from oil to rice could be distorted by complicated futures betting.

The push was first expressed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a priority in taking the chair of the Group of 20 forum of major and developing economies for 2011, and Barnier said he "shares fully" the concerns of his former boss.

Commodity derivatives trading on energy, metals and agricultural products needs to be controlled "at a European level and a world level," Barnier told AFP after Paris urged Brussels to "define common principles for the regulation of derivatives of all raw materials and assimilated products."

"President Sarkozy has said that France will make this a priority of his G20 presidency: that is positive," Barnier said, highlighting a particular emphasis on crops fresh from fears over grain prices amid summer Russian wildfires.

Barnier said that the "sometimes brutal" evolution of prices in these markets would be tackled in a series of proposals he will make for member states and the European parliament to address next month.

He said he was working closely with European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, considered a key French ally, on plans that would also feed into derivatives regulatory moves in the pipeline for next year.

© 2010 AFP

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