By Jonathan Davies

The German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned Greece that it would struggle to find creditors outside of Europe.

Mr Schaeuble said Greece would be welcome to try and gain finance from the likes of China or Russia, but would find it difficult.

It comes after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras travelled to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin which intensified rumours that Greece was looking outside of the EU for finance.

His comments follow the latest blow to Greece's finances - the huge rise in the cost of its debts.

The German finance minister said: "The Europeans have said, OK, we are ready to do it [lend money] until 2020... If you find someone else, whether it's in Beijing, in Moscow, in Washington DC, or in New York who will lend you money, ok, fine, we would be happy. But it's difficult to find someone who is lending you in this situation amounts [of] €200bn."

At the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington, where Wolfgang Schaeuble was speaking, the head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, said: "We have never had an advanced economy asking for payment delays.

"Payment delays are analysed as additional financing granted to that country. Additional financing means additional contribution by the international community - some of which are in much direr situations than the country eventually seeking those delays.

"Payment delays had not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years and it was eventually granted to a couple of developing countries and that delay was not followed by very productive results.

"It's clearly not a course of action that would actually fit or be recommendable in the current situation."