Finance chiefs of the Group of Seven leading industrialized powers will hold emergency talks on the eurozone debt crisis on Tuesday in a sign of heightened global alarm about the threat posed by strains inside the 17-nation monetary union.
With Greece, Ireland and Portugal all under international bailout programs, financial markets are anxious about the risks from a Spanish banking crisis and fret a Greek election on June 17 could lead Athens to leave the single currency and precipitate yet more economic turbulence.
"We have reached a point where we need to have a common understanding about the problems we are facing,» Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters.
Earlier, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said ministers and central bankers of the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain,
Germany, France and Italy would hold a special conference call, raising pressure on the Europeans to act.
Toronto and Washington both called for more action.
"Markets remain skeptical that the measures taken thus far are sufficient to secure the recovery in Europe and remove the risk that the crisis will deepen,» White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
In a sign of increasing concern about the euro area's debt crisis, Australia's central bank cut interest rates on Tuesday by 25 basis points to 3.50 percent, the lowest level in two years. It cited further weakening in Europe and a deterioration in market sentiment.
Pressure is building in particular on Germany, the European Union's paymaster, to back away from its prescription of fiscal austerity for the region's weaker economies and to work harder on fostering short-term growth.
A G7 source familiar with plans for the call, likely to be held late in the Asian night, said the group would urge more progress at an EU summit on June 28-29, though this alone would probably disappoint global markets.
Asian stocks rallied on Tuesday on hopes for the G7's intervention. The euro extended gains to a one-week high.
But there was only a very small chance the G7 would go so far as to pledge coordinated action to curb excessive volatility in currency markets, the source added. Japan, for one, fears a strong yen, which has been a safe haven for investors during the euro zone crisis, could help tip its economy into recession.
The G7 could also call for concerted action at the upcoming summit of the wider Group of 20 major economies in Mexico on June 18-19, the source said. The G20, which includes China, played a prominent role during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
A G20 official in Asia said the grouping, which also includes Brazil and India, could look to put pressure on Germany to switch to stimulus
mode, as part of a wider call for strong, developed economies to step up spending.