Canada says no magic solution to record oil prices
By Louise Egan
MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is keeping options open as he heads into a discussion on soaring oil prices at a meeting this weekend of finance ministers from the world's top industrialized countries.
Flaherty said on Monday that although he believes markets not governments set oil prices, he is willing to listen to those who encourage boosting oil supplies as a way to lower prices.
"I'm sure we'll be talking about it. I suppose we could encourage more supply, that's certainly what some of the ministers have been talking about," he told reporters after a speech in Montreal.
"But there isn't the ability to force anyone to do anything," he said.
"I'm not going to encourage anything... I'm not going there with a preset notion of we should do 'A' or 'B'," he said.
Flaherty, a strong proponent of free markets in Canada's Conservative government, was less emphatic than in past remarks on the need to let markets decide prices. He suggested that speculation was partly to blame for skyrocketing oil and commodity prices.
"I think we need to discuss it. We've seen some fluctuations, particularly last week, which is some evidence of some possible speculative component there and that is something that we need to talk about."
Flaherty also said that Ottawa was open to a request by Saudi Arabia for a meeting of oil-consuming and oil-producing nations. Continued...