29 Oct 2011

China approached about backing eurozone fund

4:41 am on 29 October 2011

The head of the eurozone's bailout fund is attempting to persuade China to invest in a scheme aimed at helping to rescue member countries facing debt crises.

It is thought China might pay about €70 billion ($US120 billion) into the fund, which is expected to be boosted to €1 trillion.

After meeting Chinese leaders, Klaus Regling said there were no formal negotiations and would be no deal at this stage.

Though he described it as a regular meeting, it is being seen as the start of a process that could yield an agreement, the BBC reports.

With vast reserves, Beijing is certainly in a position to invest - but like any other investor China will want to make sure its money is safe.

In the past, overseas investments made by China's sovereign funds have soured, leading to criticism back home.

Beijing has made it clear that it will demand strong guarantees on the safety of any contribution it might make.

Mr Regling, who is 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.

He said China had been a regular buyer of EFSF bonds in the past.