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G7 Finance Ministers say Lower Oil Prices Needed to Foster Global Economic Growth - 2004-05-23

Finance ministers from the world's biggest economic powers say lower oil prices are necessary to foster global economic growth.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow called on oil-producing countries to increase output to meet demand and lower oil prices, which have soared in recent months. "The current energy prices are unwelcome. We'd like to see energy process recede. It's important that energy prices, since they play into the growth rate for the global economy, be at a level that complements growth," he said.

Mr. Snow made the remarks after finance ministers from the seven leading industrialized nations and Russia met in New York to lay the groundwork for a summit next month.

The finance ministers also discussed ways to support economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

In a statement released after the meeting, the group said it is continuing its strategic review of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and said the two institutions need to change along with the world economy.

Mr. Snow says ministers talked about plans to improve on a joint IMF and World Bank plan to relieve debt in the world's poorest countries, predominantly those in Africa. "Some new initiatives need to be reviewed and new options looked at in that whole area, options that might point towards further debt forgiveness with further reliance on grants," he said.

The group also said global growth is at its highest rate in 15 years.