Group of Eight finance ministers delivered an optimistic assessment of the global economy Saturday but cautioned that economic imbalances and energy prices could spoil the picture.

The ministers from eight leading industrial economies held two days of meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia in preparation for a meeting of their heads of state next month.

The group concluded the meeting by saying in a statement that "global growth remains strong and is gradually becoming more broadly based."

However, the statement added that risks remain from "high and volatile energy prices and widening global imbalances."

The statement did not refer to inflationary pressures that have prompted central banks to raise interest rates recently. But Thierry Breton, France¿s finance minister, said in a news conference that inflation was "clearly under control," according to the

Associated Press

.