APEC members concerned about high oil prices

Pacific Rim finance ministers are concerned about the impact of high oil prices and will stress the need to boost production and refining capacity when they meet this week, according a draft of their joint statement.

Finance ministers or their deputies from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will gather on South Korea's southern Jeju Island for two days starting Thursday, ahead of APEC's annual summit meeting in November.

Representing a total population of about 2.8 billion, APEC accounts for nearly half of global trade.

"We discussed the risks of sustained high energy prices to economic growth and ongoing development in the APEC economies," said the draft, seen by The Associated Press.

APEC member Indonesia has been hit hardest among Asian nations by the roughly 50-percent rise in crude costs in the past year.

Indonesia's central bank has raised interest rates and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said fuel subsidies must be cut to stem the rupiah's currency's fall to four-year lows against the U.S. dollar, and to keep the nation's budget under control.

APEC's discussions will be held without the financial chiefs of the world's two largest economies, Japan and the United, both busy with matters at home.

The main goal of APEC, launched in 1989, is boosting trade among its members.