South America may expand anti-crisis fund -Mantega

BUENOS AIRES Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:23pm EDT

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BUENOS AIRES Aug 11 (Reuters) - South American finance ministers could agree on Friday on ways to strengthen the Latin American Reserve Fund, or FLAR as it is known in Spanish, to protect regional economies from global volatility, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Thursday.

Mantega told reporters one possibility would be to incorporate Brazil and Argentina -- South America's biggest economies -- into the FLAR fund to give it added "firepower."

He said the ministers will also study other financial assistance mechanisms, such as the currency swap agreements used in Asia, adding this was a stronger tool than the FLAR but it would be best to build first on what is already in place. (Reporting by Guido Nejamkis: Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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