[QODLink]
Europe
Italy 'appeals to China to buy bonds'
Sovereign wealth fund considering buying bonds following talks in Rome, media reports say.
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2011 08:29
The meeting was said to have included Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti [EPA]

Talks are reported to have been held between Italian officials and China's sovereign wealth fund in an effort to persuade Beijing to buy Italy's government bonds or invest in its companies.

The chairman of China Investment Corporation (CIC) met with Italy's finance minister, Guilio Tremonti, last week in Rome, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

They gave no indication as to whether the two sides had reached any agreements. Phone calls to CIC's Beijing headquarters were not answered.

The cost of borrowing for the Italy has reached record highs and any buying of bonds by Beijing with help ease the situation.

The reports come as Italian politicians consider a plan to slash spending in an effort to stabilise government debt equal to nearly 120 per cent of the country's annual economic output.

CIC was created in 2007 to invest a portion of Beijing's $3.2 trillion in foreign reserves, the bulk of which are held in safe but low-earning assets such as US Treasury debt.

The fund says it has assets of $409.6bn, which includes stocks in a wide array of major Western companies.

The fund's annual report in June said it is essentially fully invested, with only four per cent of its assets in cash.

The talks in Rome were also attended by CIC chairman Lou Jiwei and officials of China's foreign currency regulator and the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, an Italian government investment vehicle, the Wall Street Journal said.

Italy's financial crunch has prompted Rome to consider selling stakes in major state-owned companies such as power utility Enel or oil and gas supplier Eni, according to news reports.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list