China Belt-Road project may top $500 billion: Credit Suisse report

BEIJING: China could pour more than half a trillion dollars into its Belt and Road Initiative, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

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The plan could funnel investments worth $313-502 billion into 62 Belt-Road countries over the next five years, Hong Kong-based analyst Shen Hu wrote in a report. China may make additional investments of as much as $79 billion in 13 countries in Africa, she said.

Most funds may flow into India, Russia, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, the Philippines and Pakistan, Shen and other analysts said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has championed the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative to build a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe.

Leaders from 28 countries will gather in Beijing on May 14-15 to discuss the plan, which involves investing billions of dollars in infrastructure.

China will allow firms to tap domestic and overseas stock markets to finance projects related to the initiative, a senior securities regulator said in comments seen on Friday.

China will develop direct financing to meet huge funding needs for the OBOR programme, which has been relying on China´s policy banks and big commercial banks, Fang Xinghai, a vice head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said in an article published in the central bank´s China Finance magazine.

China will encourage high-quality local firms to raise funds on the domestic A-share market to “safeguard financing demand for key OBOR projects” and also raise funds from overseas stock markets, including Hong Kong´s H-share market, Fang said.

Firms will be allowed to issue bonds, including panda bonds issued by foreign companies in China, to support such projects, he said.

China will also quicken the development of offshore yuan markets, open up financial markets wider to foreign investors, and provide more trading tools and investment channels for foreign investors, the analyst said.

Fang said project financing involved in the “One Belt One Road” programme would mainly use the US dollar, raising the risk of exchange rate fluctuations.

Central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said in an article published in the same magazine that using local currencies instead of dollars or other major currencies for OBOR initiative investments would reduce that risk.

China stresses security needs for Silk Road initiative
China’s ambitious initiative to generate economic prosperity by building a new Silk Road will depend on the countries involved ensuring strong security, the country’s top policemen said ahead of the summit.

Speaking at a security dialogue on the new Silk Road, domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu said the plan could only advance if there is a secure and stable environment, the Public Security Ministry said late Thursday.

“Increasing international cooperation, jointly dealing with risks and challenges and protecting the security of One Road, One Belt is the joint responsibility of all countries,” the ministry paraphrased Meng as telling attendees.

Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun said there should be more pragmatic cooperation in such areas as public security, anti-terrorism, and protecting overseas interests.

“We hope that all sides would foster the concept of common and cooperative security, and establish a sound security cooperation mechanism for the Belt and Road Initiative,” Guo said, using another name for the new Silk Road.

President Xi has moved to strengthen the country’s national security apparatus since assuming office more than four years ago, including setting up a new national security commission.

In China’s far western region of Xinjiang, a key link in the new Silk Road between China and Central Asia, the government has blamed extremists for a series of attacks in recent years in which hundreds have died.

China has repeatedly rebuffed concerns the plan for a new Silk Road is part of a grand strategy to selfishly expand economic interests and seek global dominance, saying that while it’s a Chinese-led scheme anyone can join to boost common prosperity.

Reuters

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