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Eurozone examining ways to raise lending capacity of rescue fund
Date: 2011/1/24 Click: 1157
Eurozone finance ministers Monday made no immediate decision to expand the rescue fund set up in May last year but said that "a number of options" are being considered to reinforce the lending capacity of the fund.

Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the eurogroup is "examining the different instruments" that could be used to raise the lending capacity of the 440-billion-euro (580-billion-U.S. dollar) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the lion's share of a 750-billion-euro (990-billion-dollar) rescue fund put together last May by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund(IMF).

Juncker said that the decision made in May last year said that the facility will make 440 billion euros available, "we are looking at the different ways that we could do that".

"The commitment will be respected," Juncker said.

As to suggestions that the eurozone could use the fund to buy bonds of member states on the secondary market, Juncker said it's too early to say what kind of conclusions could be reached.

The EFSF is not offered directly by eurozone countries, but guaranteed by them to borrow money by issuing bonds on the market. Some eurozone member states support the idea of expanding the fund or at least increasing its real lending capacity.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on arrival for Monday's meeting that "there is no need at the moment for an urgent decision" on whether to broaden the EFSF.
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