June 14 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the G20 presidency, says the rising cost of commodities threatens global growth and calls for a crackdown on commodity speculators. Sonia Legg reports.
There's been much speculation about the effect of rising commodity prices on world growth, now the French President has joined the debate with a stark warning. (SOUNDBITE)(French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: "A shortage of raw materials could lead to the paralysis of economic activity, the breaking up of our societies and hunger wars.'' Nicolas Sarkozy blames speculators for spiraling food and energy prices and told a conference in Brussels there should be tighter controls on the trade in raw materials. (SOUNDBITE)(French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, NICOLAS SARKOZY, SAYING: ''The extreme deregulation of the financial markets brought the world to the brink of the abyss. A market without rules is no longer a market. What lead to the catastrophe for the financial markets, are we going to let it lead to the same catastrophe in the commodity markets?'' France is using its Presidency of the G20 to tackle the issue. Sarkozy says high food prices triggered the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and are fuelling inflation elsewhere. As well as tougher regulations he suggests introducing a minimum cash deposit for transactions. But finding a consensus among G20 countries will be difficult. Analysts predict a compromise deal will be reached to establish humanitarian food stocks in the world's poorest regions and encourage traders to be more open. There's clearly a growing feeling action is needed. Last week the World Trade Organisation warned that some nations were succumbing to protectionism, limiting exports and installing new import barriers. Sonia Legg, Reuters.