China’s Belt and Road spending plummets in first half, with no investment in Russia: Research

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SHANGHAI: China’s financing and investment spending in Belt and Road countries fell slightly in the first half year on year, with no new coal projects and no investment in Russia, Egypt and Sri Lanka only falling to zero, according to new research.

Saudi Arabia was the biggest recipient of Chinese investment during the period, with around $5.5 billion, according to the Shanghai-based Green Finance and Development Center (GFDC) in a study released Sunday (July 24).

Total financing and investment amounted to $28.4 billion over the period, up from $29.6 billion a year earlier, bringing total cumulative Belt and Road spending to $932 billion. dollars since 2013, the GFDC said.

President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 aimed at harnessing China’s strengths in financing and building infrastructure to “build a broad community of shared interests” across the Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But it has come under scrutiny for the debt burden it places on countries and other problems such as environmental degradation. Some countries have also renegotiated their investment plans with China, highlighting the risks of indebtedness.

No new coal projects have received Chinese support in the period after Xi’s pledge at the United Nations General Assembly last September to end overseas coal funding.

However, a Chinese developer won a tender to build a thermal power plant in Indonesia in February, and there are still 11.2 gigawatts of capacity that have already secured funding but have yet to be built. started, according to GFDC, which is part of Fudan University in Shanghai.

China continued to support other fossil fuel projects in Belt and Road countries, with oil and gas accounting for about 80 percent of China’s overseas energy investment and 66 percent of its construction contracts. , the GFDC said.

Commitments to gas projects amounted to $6.7 billion in the first half, compared to $9.5 billion for all of last year, he said.

Green energy and hydroelectricity transactions fell by 22% compared to the previous year. Investments fell from $400 million to $1.4 billion, but green energy construction spending fell to $1.6 billion, less than half of the previous year’s level .

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