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El-Erian Says World Is on Eve of Another Financial Crisis

Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian
Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Mohamed El-Erian. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

The world is on the eve of the next financial crisis, with sovereign debt its epicenter, said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., which runs the biggest bond fund.

The European Central Bank hasn’t put in place a “circuit breaker” to contain the region’s debt crisis, El-Erian, who is also Pimco’s co-chief investment officer, said at an event in Washington today.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 are meeting in Washington this weekend as markets tumble on concern the world economy is slowing and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis threatens to spread beyond Greece. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank 4.6 percent to 214.89 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the lowest since July 2009.

“There has been a significant increase in the financial requirements of international intervention,” El-Erian said. “You need a lot more firepower in order to be a circuit breaker. Look at how much the ECB has put in and ask yourself the question: has it created a circuit breaker? The answer is no, even though the amounts involved have been massive.”

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said the G-20 nations will coordinate a response to the European sovereign debt crisis. Baroin, speaking to reporters today in Washington, said European nations must approve a July 21 accord on further financial aid to Greece.

Greek Budget Cuts

The Greek government said today it will accelerate budget cuts to keep emergency loans flowing, extending austerity measures that have deepened a recession and failed to ease doubts that it can avoid default. The latest round of deficit fighting was demanded by international lenders to ensure Greece reaches targets in a 110 billion-euro ($151 billion) bailout and receive a payment due next month.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the global economy is “in a danger zone,” and his counterpart at the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said “downside risks” are high.

“We’re in it together and we will be able to solve it together,” Lagarde, a former French finance minister, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Europe will act “with more force” to combat its debt crisis.

In the U.S., stocks tumbled on concern central banks are running out of tools to prevent another recession and after the Federal Reserve said yesterday it saw “significant downside risks” to the economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 2.9 percent to 1,133.09 at 12:51 p.m. on New York.

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