Sarkozy takes G20 case to Obama as food prices soar

Monday, January 10, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Emmanuel Jarry
Reuters.com

French President Nicolas Sarkozy takes his campaign for greater global food price and currency stability to Washington next week when he seeks Barack Obama’s support for France’s goals as head of the Group of 20 powers.

Soaring food prices and riots in places like Algeria offer Sarkozy ammunition to press for more coordination between G20 governments to combat wild swings in vital commodity prices as well as exchange rates versus the long-dominant U.S. dollar.

The French president wants to use his run at the G20 helm in 2011 to start, if not finish, reforms of the monetary system at a time when many countries are tempted to let their currency drop to promote exports and growth after the worst downturn since World War Two, even if that can be at each others’ expense.

Paris is also pressing for international efforts to impose greater transparency in commodity markets trading and pricing, and for tougher regulation of trading in commodity derivatives along the lines pursued for other investment derivatives in the wake of the financial markets crisis that preceded the economic downturn of 2008-2009, and the government debt crisis now.

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