G-8 finance ministers warn of soaring energy prices

"Global growth remains strong and is gradually becoming more broadly based," said the ministers, who met in St. Petersburg before summit of G-8 leaders. "However, downside risks from high and volatile energy prices and widening global imbalances remain." The ministers called for developing global common standard for reporting oil reserves.

Finance ministers had been expected to discuss how the United States is dealing with its huge trade deficit and what policies other countries are pursuing to bolster domestic growth as a way of supporting U.S. exports. Without referring directly to the United States, the draft called the task of addressing economic imbalances a "shared responsibility."

In the face of calls in Europe to diversify energy supplies away from a strong reliance on Russia currently supplying a quarter of European energy, Moscow has insisted that predictable markets for its oil and gas are a key part of energy security. The draft appeared to acknowledge both positions.

"We recognize the importance of the principles of the Energy Charter, of diversification of energy markets and supply sources and of strengthened emergency response cooperation in ensuring energy security," the draft said, reports the AP.

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