Global economic growth is strong and becoming more broadly based, the Group of Eight nations said on Monday at their summit in St Petersburg.

We concluded that global growth remains strong and is becoming more broadly based, the G8 chairman's statement issued by summit host Russia said.

We also discussed high and volatile energy prices, global imbalances and growing protectionism.

The wording of the economy section of the closing summit statement was in line with that used by G8 finance ministers at their meeting last month.

Russia's first turn at the G8 chair has toned down the group's discussion of issues such as exchange rates and economic imbalances, including the U.S. trade and current account deficits that are closely watched on financial markets.

The members of the 'old' G7, the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada, prefer to discuss those hot-button issues without Russia. Central bankers have not attended this year's G8 finance meetings.

We reiterated our commitment to address global imbalances, working together to remove distortions to the global adjustment process, promote liberalization of trade and investment, and modernize the international financial institutions, it said.

Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Sunday that G8 leaders might touch on high oil prices in their discussion of the world economy, although it was unlikely that this would find its way into the closing summit communiqué.

The G8 summit has been overshadowed by escalating hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah militants in Lebanon, pushing up crude oil prices to a record high in early European trading on Monday.

North Sea Brent crude oil futures for September delivery trade at $78 per barrel, up 42 cents on the session.