* India still favours common emerging mkts candidate
* If no BRICS consensus, will support candidate on “merit” (Adds quote on China)
By Manoj Kumar
NEW DELHI, June 3 (Reuters) - The BRICS group of fast-growing economies has yet to build consensus behind an emerging markets candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, two Indian sources said, a sign that efforts to nominate a joint candidate may be losing steam.
In a statement on May 24, the BRICS countries had sharply criticised European officials for suggesting the next IMF head should automatically be a European, and that efforts were being made for a common BRICS or emerging markets candidate.
“There is no signal so far” of support around a common candidate, a senior Indian government official said on Friday, adding that discussions were still ongoing.
The BRICS grouping includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Emerging markets powerhouses including China and India have long clamoured for more clout within the International Monetary Fund, in line with their growing economic strength.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde visited Brazil this week as part of a tour to build support for her candidacy that will also take her to India, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. [ID:nN30250368].
The Indian source said she will visit on June 7.
The Indian source said Mexico’s candidate for the IMF top job, central bank governor Agustin Carstens, will also visit India but no date has been. He was in Brazil this week.
“If there is no consensus among the BRICS, India will take its stand to support a candidate on a merit basis, who is open to our concerns regarding quota reforms,” said another government source, who is advising government on the issue.
The IMF has a June 30 deadline to pick a successor.
“We have not heard anything from China after the BRICS joint statement,” said the second source.
India has been talking with other emerging countries to build support behind a common candidate from the developing world, with Carstens a possibility, two Indian government sources said last week.
However, the G8 group of leading economies, which includes Russia, a BRICS member, at a recent meeting endorsed Lagarde’s candidacy, while senior French officials have reiterated China’s support for Lagarde -- developments which seem to have undermined the show of unity by the BRICS.
Brazil has welcomed Carsten’s candidacy but has stopped short of offering an endorsement, saying that it needed more time to decide on which candidate to back.
“India would listen to both the candidates when they visit India, and will take its stand at the appropriate time,” said the second source.
Lagarde and Carstens have confirmed they are candidates to head the IMF, the main institution overseeing global financial stability.[ID:nLDE74I0U6]
The top IMF job fell vacant after Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged last month with attempted rape of a maid in a New York hotel. He has denied the charges.
His resignation has led to calls from developing countries to end Europe’s traditional hold on the job. (Editing by Tony Munroe)