IMF chief praises Gulf effort on oil price management

Sat Oct 6, 2012 12:42pm EDT
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RIYADH (Reuters) - IMF chief Christine Lagarde praised Gulf oil exporters on Saturday for their help in stabilizing the global economy by managing oil prices, despite complaints by some Western countries that energy costs are still too high.

"It gives me an opportunity to thank the GCC countries for their ... stabilizing role in the global economy because of the good monitoring and good management of oil prices and oil reserves ..." the International Monetary Fund's managing director said.

Lagarde was speaking at a news conference after meeting with senior officials of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups six oil-exporting countries - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Lagarde appeared at pains to enlist the support of wealthy Gulf oil exporters in a year when the Fund has been working to increase its resources, although she said she didn't plan another financing campaign this year.

She also said talks with Greece on its fiscal position had been very good and that the resumption of loan negotiations with Egypt later this month were not subject to preconditions.

Since OPEC ministers last met in June, Brent crude oil prices have surged about 20 percent and have hovered around $112-$117 a barrel since mid-August, despite fragile economic growth in many consuming countries.

Last month, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which represents 28 importing countries said high oil prices were a concern for these nations.

In effort to cap high oil prices, sources told Reuters the United States is considering an emergency oil stocks release. Other members of the IEA, such as France and Great Britain, could also join the move.

The Gulf states have managed to maintain high production levels, making up for lower supplies from Iran because of sanctions, and outages in the North Sea.   Continued...

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde (C) Bahrain's Finance Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, (center L)and Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, (center R) and other Arab Gulf officials pose before the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Finance Ministers meeting in Riyadh October 6,2012. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed