Heavy Cross

MADRID, Apr. 20 (AFP) – Consumers should carry the burden of higher oil prices, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Rodrigo Rato said in an interview published Thursday by the Spanish daily El Pais. Rato said it would be necessary to “pass on new energy prices to consumers”, and added: “There is a very clear message, oil prices have reached a level which rule out a return to those of two years ago, to 30-35 dollars a barrel.”

In the past, the IMF has stressed that some governments needed to adjust their subsidies for oil consumption if prices remained at high levels.

The International Energy Agency has also warned that oil subsidies being paid by a number of Asian countries to shield consumers from the price rises were unsustainable.

Rato estimated the chances of oil prices exceeding 80 dollars a barrel by mid year at around 15 percent, in line with a forecast from IMF economists, according to the newspaper.

Rato agreed with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and oil analysts that a lack of refining capacity was partly to blame for the current record high prices.

“Consuming countries which have not invested in refining for more than a decade will have to reverse th