The head of the eurozone's bailout fund is beginning attempts to persuade China to invest in a scheme to help rescue member countries facing debt crises while Beijing has made it clear that it will demand strong guarantees on the safety of any contribution it might make.
Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility, said he was not negotiating with China as a potential investor but holding consultations to decide the terms for raising the money. I am optimistic that we will have a longer term relationship, he said.
Beijing has not said publicly it would invest in the fund, although it has repeatedly expressed confidence that Europe can overcome its two-year-old debt crisis. The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has said he believes China will invest in Europe only if there are incentives for it to do so.
The resolution reached by European leaders to increase the EFSF's leverage is important as it will help create a firewall that stops the crisis from spreading, Vice Chinese Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said at a conference in Beijing Friday.
More importantly, European leaders should transform their policy consensus into action and really convince the financial market, Zhu said. He called on European officials to work hard and to make serious efforts to implement their agreement. China is already buying several hundred million worth of bonds issued by the EFSF, which is rated triple-A. It also owns an estimated $800 billion worth of euro assets in its $3.2 trillion foreign exchange reserves.
The main provisions of Thursday's deal stipulate that banks holding Greek debt are to accept a 50 percent loss and banks must also raise more capital to guard against losses resulting from any future government defaults. The framework for the new EFSF bailout fund will be put in place in November.