Would China come to rescue for euro crisis?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 28, 2011
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At the second eurozone summit in just four days that lasted well into Thursday morning, European leaders failed again to deliver a convincing and definitive rescue package designed to prevent the eurozone debt crisis from further spiraling, analysts said.

Hopes that China and other emerging economies might come to the rescue prompted a sense of deja vu. However, some experts urged caution as they said the summit deal might prove a hard sell to potential participants in the package.

Under a plan agreed by the eurozone leaders on Thursday morning, Greece's debt will be reduced, European banks will be recapitalized, and the eurozone's bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), would be scaled up to have bigger firepower.

However, the prescriptions offered by the European leaders seem to create more problems than they solve.

A 50 percent write-off on the value of the Greek bonds held by private creditors would deal a harsh blow to the banks that are already deeply mired in the crisis; Wrangling is expected as details for the recapitalization plan are yet to be decided on.

Still hesitant and reluctant to commit their own resources to a problem that threatens not only the survival of the euro but the world economy at large, the 17-nation single currency area is considering turning to China and other emerging economies for funds, by creating one or several Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).

Stabilizing the eurozone is in China's interest since Europe is China's biggest export market, and China has repeatedly expressed its confidence that the EU countries have the wisdom and ability to eventually tide over the crisis.

However, whether China should offer a helping hand would depend on what the rescue package is like, said Xiong Hou, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a top Chinese think tank.

"What if default happens in the future? What if other countries follow in the footsteps of Greece? Many people would ask why we should step into the mess," Xiong said, "The key to the debt crisis and the lifeline of the European economy are in the hands of Europeans themselves, rather than China."

It would be an unacceptable scenario to let a developing country like China pay the bills while Europeans sit idle. "It is just like a big hole was created by someone, but somebody else is asked to fill it," Xiong said.

In the short term, the eurozone must come up with a more convincing plan to restore investors' confidence and prevent a further spread of the debt crisis. In the long term, "they have to put their own house in order by making painful reforms and adopting responsible fiscal and monetary policies," Xiong said.

In the meantime, some European economists argued that emerging economies should give a hand as it is crucially important to avoid recession in Europe given the fragile global economic recovery.

Fabian Zuleeg, chief economist of the European Policy Center, a think tank based in Brussels, told Xinhua in an email that BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should take the long view and buy bonds as well as invest in these countries.

"The global economy cannot afford a knock on the financial sector and on confidence at this time. In addition, the sovereign wealth funds have enormous funds to invest with few options on the table," said Zuleeg.

However, Chinese researcher Xiong said: "It's a hard decision to make and investors always need assurances that what they invest is safe and they would get a return."

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