G7 finance chiefs may debate risks from Middle East conflict -chair Japan

By Leika Kihara

MARRAKECH, Morocco (Reuters) – Finance leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced nations may discuss the impact escalating tensions in the Middle East could have on the global economy, a senior government official of this year’s group chair Japan said on Wednesday.

While not included in the official agenda of Thursday’s G7 gathering, there is a good chance the fallout from the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas will be discussed, Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Masato Kanda told reporters.

“The conflict is already affecting markets in the form of a risk-off reaction due to heightening uncertainty,” Kanda said.

“We’ll closely monitor the situation and respond as needed,” he added.

The Japanese yen, which tends to be an investor safe haven in times of uncertainty, rose against other currencies this week as investors keep a close eye on the conflict.

The G7 finance leaders are scheduled to meet on Thursday on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings held in Marrakech this week.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Rod Nickel)