China can do little in the short term to bail out the struggling U.S. and European economies, International Monetary Fund senior adviser Jorg Decressin told CNBC Tuesday. However, that can change in a few years.
He spoke after the IMF released a report downgrading its outlook for the U.S. economy and warning European leaders to "get their act together" on the sovereign debt crisis.
The IMF expects 9 percent growth in China, but "one shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Chinese consumption in U.S. dollar terms measured as a share of global consumption is still relatively small," Decressin said. "So what China can do for Europe and the U.S. in the short run is relatively limited."
However, he added, that may change in the next four or five years as China's economy continues to grow.
"That’s why we keep emphasizing the need for this economy to develop more domestically oriented growth and also to allow for some adjustment in exchange rates so [China's] imports will ultimately rise, and this will help the U.S. and other crisis-hit economies to grow."