World Bulletin / News Desk
France will convene in the first half of September a rapid reaction forum of G20 countries if upcoming data on grain markets points to serious tensions following drought in the United States and Russia, a farm ministry official said on Monday.
The French government announced on Saturday it was ready to call an emergency meeting on grains in light of a surge in world prices driven by the worst drought in more than 50 years in the U.S. Midwest crop belt.
To judge the gravity of the situation, France is waiting for a U.S. government crop report on Aug. 10 and then a study from a G20 information body in late August or early September, the ministry official said.
"It's too early to tell if we are heading towards a crisis or if the situation is going to turn our normally," he said. "We have to be vigilant."
A first-ever gathering of farm ministers from the Group of 20 countries last year set up a data-sharing system, known as AMIS, to improve transparency in agricultural markets, with the aim of tackling price volatility and ensuring food security.
France currently presides the G20 agriculture body and will hand over the presidency to the United States at the end of September, the official said.
The initiative aims to encourage major producing countries to avoid unilaterally imposing trade restrictions, moves that have been widely blamed for exacerbating market tensions during price spikes in 2007/08 and 2010.
Russia banned grain exports for almost a year after a severe drought two years ago and weather problems this year have fuelled market rumours it could resort to export curbs again.
But Russia has given reassuring indications in contacts through the AMIS system, the French official said.
"We have the impression that Russia wants to act in the spirit of the G20," he said.
Exit would cost average monthly salary for each household, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says
Firms to see deterioration in credit metrics as low oil prices impact cash flows
OPEC exporters as well as other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, fail to agree on oil output freeze
Moody's has upgraded Argentina's credit rating after a US appeals court ruling this week cleared the way for Buenos Aires to proceed with the biggest debt issue by an emerging market country in 20 years.
Ahead of Doha meeting, OPEC says 'hurdles prevail as oversupply persists and inventories remain high'
Kuwaiti OPEC head says Russia and OPEC are likely to agree on oil output freeze
'The good news is that the recovery continues; we have growth; we are not in crisis,' Christine Lagarde says
The meeting is a 'follow-up' to last month's talks between Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela when they proposed an accord to freeze oil output at January levels
'They are not trimming output, only keeping it at the same levels...this is the same unchanged policy,' one expert says
Iran joining Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Russia in freezing oil output levels
According to the ratings agency Moody’s, Iran is fiscally and structurally well placed to come back into the global economic scene
PM Davutoglu meets the heads of the world's largest companies as he promotes Turkish economic interests at World Economic Forum
Fund cuts global growth forecasts for both 2016 and 2017 by 0.2 percentage points
'Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population'