Christine Lagarde poised to become next IMF chief

Headed for the IMF? Christine LagardeWashington: French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, has emerged as the most likely candidate to head the International Monetary Fund with China, a key constituent of the fund, indicating its support for her candidacy.

For the first time ever the post has faced some uncertainty over the nomination of its chief as some member countries launched a challenge to Europe's traditional hold on the job. In this they received tacit support from the United States.

China's central banker, People's Bank of China Governor, Zhou Xiao-chuan, said Monday that Beijing had given "quite full support" to Ms Lagarde.

China is the world's second-largest economy after the U.S.

With the senior Chinese banking official expressing support for Lagarde's candidacy it is estimated that she should easily collect the majority vote needed to upend Mexico's central bank governor, Agustin Carstens, campaign to become the next managing director of the global lender.

At his end Carstens did manage to pick up endorsements from Canada and Australia last week which too constituted a significant challenge to Europe's grip on the post, but observers say it is unlikely to change the outcome as even with those nations and his home country, Carstens has lined up just about 12% of the fund's voting shares.