Emerging nations not answer to debt crisis says World Bank

Robert Zoellick says he wouldn't hold his breath for a bag of gold

World Bank president Robert Zoellick has warned that help from cash-rich emerging nations is no solution to the eurozone's debt crisis.

European leaders are due to meet officials from countries such as China and Brazil for talks in Washington.

There have been reports that China could buy Italian bonds and that Brazil might contribute to bailout funds.

But in an interview with the BBC, Mr Zoellick said the idea anyone will come along with a "bag of gold" is fanciful.

"I have been cautioning people not to look for the panacea," he said.

"A co-operative international response to Europe's crisis is useful and it helps that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank can draw on capital from cash-rich countries.

"But the idea that you are going to have the Chinese come with a bag of gold and bail everybody out of this problem, I wouldn't hold my breath," Mr Zoellick said.

'No substitute'

As well as representatives from Brazil and China, the Washington meeting will also include officials from the other so-called Bric nations, India and Russia.

Mr Zoellick said that financial support mechanisms that had been put in place to help indebted nations, such as the European financial stability fund, had helped.

But simply throwing more money at the problem was no long-term solution.

"It stems a crisis and buys time. But these are no substitute for dealing with the fundamentals: the sovereign debt problem, the bank problem, and for some countries the competitive problem," he said.

Europe had to decide whether to "design a fiscal union to closely match the monetary union. There are lots of ways that can be done. But if you don't face that fundamental [question], you are going to have to manage the consequences for countries that have taken on too much debt.

"Only Europeans can make that decision. But my point is, they are going to have to make it."

Mr Zoellick also told the BBC that there was a risk that the slowdown in the advanced economies might spill over to the emerging nations.

"Up to this point in the downturn, developing countries have been the bright light. They have provided about half the global growth.

"I think [what] we have to watch real closely is that if the confidence that has slipped in Europe, the US, and Japan spreads to the developing world, that will affect their domestic demand, their consumers, their investment."

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