China may the answer to our nativity prayers.

China is keen to see Europe recover. Europe is China’s biggest trading partner, and the giant Asian nation has been reducing its reliance on the dollar by switching a larger portion of its $2.65 trillion (£1.7 trillion) reserves from dollars into euros.

A Portuguese newspaper earlier this week reported that China was ready to buy €4bn-€5bn of Portuguese government debt to shield it from funding pressures. China’s central bank declined to comment on the story.

Chinese vice premier Wang Qishan yesterday said that Beijing supported efforts by the EU and the International Monetary Fund to calm global markets in the wake of Europe’s debt crisis. China had taken “concrete actions” to help some European countries, he added.

Foreign ministry spokesman Jian Yu added: “I can tell you China supports the financial stabilisation package of the EU and International Monetary Fund to respond to the European debt crisis. We’re willing to support eurozone countries in surmounting the crisis and achieving economic recovery and fiscal health.”