IMF Chief: Fuel Subsidies Won't Counter High Oil

The International Monetary Fund is opposed to general fuel subsidies to counter the high price of oil, and would prefer measures that target the poor, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said in a newspaper interview.

"The IMF does not support generalized subsidies for the good reason that they benefit everyone, that is to say rich people as well as poor people," he told French daily Le Monde in an interview published on Friday.

"In the area of fuel, as in food, we believe that it is better to focus assistance on populations in difficulty and to reserve appropriate help for them," he added.

Strauss-Kahn also said that fuel subsidies would not help to solve the underlying problem of the high price of crude oil, which was around $136 a barrel on Friday.

"First of all, because of the fact that for the first time in a very long time, demand and supply are in balance," he said.

"The only response to the rise in the price of crude is through production and necessitates exploiting new oil fields."