ASIAN investors rushed to buy up bonds sold by the European Union to help finance aid for Ireland, which means that the bailout package from the EU is being funded in part by China.
China first emerged as a buyer of Irish debt in 2008.
But the amount purchased rose to 21.5pc of the €5bn of five-year bonds compared to the 4pc average two years ago.
However, the main buyers remain in the UK, Germany, France and the US.
The EU has increasingly looked to China over the past year for support in tackling the euro-area debt crisis triggered by Greece, which received a €110bn rescue in May.
Then in November, Ireland obtained an €85bn package.
In the purchase of government bonds, Europe represented 71.5pc -- with the UK taking 16.5pc -- while the Americas 6pc, the EU said. Chinese vice-commerce minister Gao Hucheng said that China would buy Spanish public debt in the primary and secondary markets.