G20 backs away from commodities curbs

Marion Dakers
THE G20 is set to shy away from tough curbs on commodities speculation after leading producers lined up to oppose any interference in the boom in raw materials prices.

France, which is currently the president of the Group of 20 leading economies, had pushed for market intervention to halt skyrocketing prices linked to aggressive trades.

But France sought yesterday to downplay expectations, with economy minister Christine Lagarde saying France had no desire to regulate commodity prices.

“What we would like to do, on the other hand, is try to reduce volatility by simply shining a light on market fundamentals,” she told reporters.

The US, Brazil and Canada, all major producers of foods, metals and other commodities, have made a point in recent days of publicly opposing the French push.

Broad G20 opposition to a global transaction tax, similar to the Tobin Tax proposed for banks, has all but torpedoed the use of such a measure in the commodities market.

The World Bank said last week it expected volatile grain prices until at least 2015 with nearly a billion people worldwide hungry already.