G8 finance chiefs send message to oil speculators: analysts

OSAKA, June 15, 2008 (AFP) – Group of Eight finance chiefs sent a warning signal to oil speculators this weekend, highlighting the inflation threat to the global economy in an attempt to cool red-hot energy prices, analysts said. Although the finance ministers said it was unclear how much influence speculators wield over energy markets, their remarks appeared to be aimed at curbing hot-money flows into commodities, they added.

The G8 — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States — called for an investigation involving the International Monetary Fund into the recent wild swings in energy prices.

“It is significant that G8 members put the spotlight on their shared fears over inflation. It is a message to speculators to try to control market conditions,” said Ryohei Muramatsu, head of Group Treasury Asia at Commerzbank.

Their united front is something “that speculators will find hard to go against,” he added.

World oil prices have been on a rollercoaster ride recently, soaring close to 140 dollars a barrel on worries about tight supplies, with some blaming market speculators for aggravating the erratic movements.

High oil and food prices pose “a serious challenge to stable