Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Rising global food prices to dominate deliberations at G-20Issues of spurt in global food prices to "dangerous levels" and fragile economic
recovery will figure prominently during the two-day meeting of the G-20 finance
ministers beginning here tomorrow.
The meeting, which will also be attended by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee,
will deliberate on steps to moderate volatility in energy prices, check tax evasion,
disruptive capital flows, reform the International Monetary System (IMS) and
work on indicative guidelines for quantifying global imbalances.
Ahead of the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, the
World Bank has warned that food prices worldwide are rising to "dangerous
levels" and have pushed 44 million people in developing countries into poverty
since June last year.
The food price index has climbed 15 per cent between October 2010 and January
2011, the World Bank said, adding that global wheat prices have doubled during
the same period.
"Sugar and edible oils have also gone up sharply. Other food items essential for
dietary diversity in many countries have increased. This includes vegetables in
India and China, and beans in some African countries," it noted.
India, which has been witnessing high food prices, will impress upon the G-20
ministers to work on policy options to improve the functioning of the commodities
"Finance ministers... are expected to exchange views on the recent trends and
volatility (of food and energy prices), make an assessment of their possible
macroeconomic consequences on growth and inflation, and discuss policy options
with a view to improving the functioning of commodities market", finance
ministry said.
France, which is holding the first meeting of the finance ministers and central
bank governors under its presidency, said it "would like to find collective solutions
Drishti to reduce excessive price volatility, particularly of agriculture and energy
commodity prices, which undermines world growth and threatens food security."
It has also been decided to hold a meeting of the G-20 agriculture ministers in
June to work out solutions for strengthening food security and enhancing
agricultural supplies.
With global economic recovery still fragile, uneven and fraught with significant
downside risks, India will press for a coordinated response to deal with current

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