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BBC World Service

China watching European debt crisis closely

Rebecca Singer Jun 24, 2011
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BBC World Service

China watching European debt crisis closely

Rebecca Singer Jun 24, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Markets around the world are on the rise today with hopeful news. Key word — hopeful of course– that Europe has signed off on deep government cuts in Greece. Asian shares were up an average of 1 percent, Shanghai was up more than 2 percent today because China has a big stake in what happens to Europe. China sells more goods to Europe than it does to the U.S.

The BBC’s Rebecca Singer has more.


REBECCA SINGER: China has no interest in seeing Europe collapse. Besides its trading links, it’s already been buying up Western assets including the Greek port of Piraeus. And Chinese investors are thought to be very interested in some of the Greek islands which may be sold off to pay the country’s debt.

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford. He says European governments aren’t scared of taking Chinese money.

TIMOTHY GARTON ASH: It’s much easier for China to invest in and export to Europe than it is for Europe to invest in China. And above all, China is one state and the EU is 27.

Garton Ash warns that assets in struggling European economies are so attractive that China is snapping them up. In fact 30 percent of Chinese investment in Europe is currently in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. And with a stake that size, those countries may become reluctant to vote against Chinese interests.

In London, I’m the BBC’s Rebecca Singer for Marketplace

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