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G-8 Finance Ministers Hail Growth, Urge Vigilance


Finance ministers of the world's eight wealthiest countries say that global economy is on track, but warned that volatile investments and energy prices could disrupt growth.

Officials from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia issued a statement Saturday after a two-day meeting in Germany saying that economic growth remains robust for the fifth consecutive year. The statement also says that growth has become more balanced among regions.

But it calls for better financial governance in Africa. Finance ministers of the eight wealthy countries also reaffirmed their commitment to help reduce poverty in the region.

The joint statement urges a speedy conclusion of the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks.

The Doha round of world trade talks began in 2001 and stalled last year because of disagreements between industrialized and developing nations over agricultural subsidies, trade barriers and other issues.

The two-day meeting ending today in Germany set guidelines for a larger Group-of-eight summit in June.

German finance minister, Peer Steinbrueck urged more vigilance over the profitable, but risky hedge fund industry. But some countries, including the United States, Japan and Britain are rejecting any move to regulate the industry.

Hedge funds are lightly regulated pools of investment money allowed to use high-risk strategies in the hope of earning large returns. The profitable industry controls more than $1 trillion in investment. Some financial ministers warn that they could disrupt the global financial stability.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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