The euro jumped to an intraday high in Asian trade after China pledged to continue investing in eurozone government debt.
Chinese Central Bank Governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, made the assurance to European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, and European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, who are in Beijing for the China-EU Summit.
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Zhou says China hasn’t cut its exposure to the eurozone, but admits Beijing is waiting for the right time to invest more, when certain conditions have been reached:
“G20 members, including the BRIC countries, have all expressed a wish to positively participate in helping the related actions on the eurozone. Of course, some specific measures have not specifically reached that level, but the desire has always been clear.”
Zhou also thinks Europe needs to make its investments more attractive to China.
Chinese leaders have welcomed a fiscal agreement that will build up a massive fund to backstop European debt, but are alarmed at the protests and strikes sweeping Europe.
In response, Rompuy assured Beijing that the political will to keep the eurozone intact is strong:
“Don’t underestimate the strong political will to defend the eurozone, and that’s the message we want to convey. I know that in the press and in our meetings, we have to deal with rescue funds, with the various mechanisms in the private sector involvement and all those things. And it’s important. We welcome that China will cooperate with us in this huge effort.”
With $3.2 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves at hand, China is seen as having the financial firepower to bail out some European governments.
But Beijing has been reluctant to make firm financial commitments. Whether it will put its money where its mouth is remains to be seen.