Belt and Road: Montenegro takes the high road

In 2018, Montenegro was named as one of the countries most at risk from over-indebtedness to China for the €809 million Bar-Boljare highway, dubbed a ‘road to nowhere’, but in Podgorica, enthusiasm for the project is still running high.

The Belt and Road backlash

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is trumpeted as a ‘win-win’ for all, but is it everything it’s cracked up to be? Or are countries on its route, wary of Beijing’s motives and fearful of being trapped by debt to China’s big development banks, losing faith in the plan?

Sri Lanka questions reliance on China

When Sri Lanka, a key link in the Belt and Road Initiative, sold China a deep-water port in exchange for debt alleviation, it raised eyebrows around the world – yet Colombo continues to borrow from Beijing even as its fiscal situation worsens.

Africa: Why Djibouti’s China debt is raising the alarm

Warning sirens are sounding about the level of debt Djibouti owes to China for Belt and Road projects. The local view is that they need the money and China is the country that is offering it. But the fate of the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway represents the financial challenges of BRI in a 756-kilometre microcosm.

New Silk Road: Realizing China's dream

The country is famously extending its reach across the Eurasian continent, building infrastructure and more for the benefit of itself and the countries the Silk Road passes through.

Belt and Road: China's gaze shifts to southeast Asia

Overlooked during the early years of the Belt and Road Initiative, the region is now central to the entire project. China is shifting its attention south, and it likes what it sees in the Asean zone: lending opportunities, ambitious consumers and fast-growing states and cities.

China strengthens its grip on south Asia

Pakistan has long been as enamoured of the BRI as India is suspicious. But BRI-related projects are now springing up in the likes of Bangladesh and Nepal, suggesting that whatever New Delhi’s reservations, the Beijing-led scheme is here to stay

Kazakhstan Belt and Road Initiative: The road to somewhere

Khorgos, a new state-of-the-art port in the middle of the Kazakh desert, sums up the grand ambitions of the Belt and Road Initiative. But it is as much driven and funded by Kazakhstan as it is by China. Rather than being a white elephant, it has real implications for trade.

Belt and Road: The debt threat

Countries are queueing to accept Chinese lending for Belt and Road infrastructure projects. But could that borrowing come back to bite them – and China?

A tale of two Chinas

Why being positive on Chinese macro and the big four banks, but bearish on the rest of the financial sector, is not a contradiction in terms.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Chinese driver: The Silk Road Fund

China has plenty of engines to get Belt and Road underway: Export–Import Bank of China, the China Development Bank, the enormous state-owned lenders. But it needs a dedicated, wealthy, powerful and politically enabled body to be the driver of the whole enterprise, and that is the Silk Road Fund.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Chinese policy bank: China Development Bank

China Development Bank (CDB) is, along with China Eximbank, a policy bank under the jurisdiction of the government and the State Council. It dates from March 1994 and has a history of infrastructure funding that long pre-dates Belt and Road. Signature developments include the Three Gorges Dam and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. It will be absolutely vital to Belt and Road.

Belt and Road: China in CEE – On the right track?

Chinese policymakers and firms are showing an increasing interest in central and eastern Europe – but will Beijing’s ambitious plans for infrastructure development put China on a collision course with the EU?

New Silk Road Finance Awards 2017: Results index

Through the internationalization of the renminbi, capital markets activity, mergers and acquisitions and the funding of some remarkable projects, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has taken root in financial markets. These are the banks leading the way.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Non-Belt and Road project borrower: Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan

Euromoney is in the Socar Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan, about a mile from the Caspian Sea. Here, two members of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) holding company’s executive team are describing a complex gas pipeline project reaching from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian, through Azerbaijan and Georgia, the length of Turkey and ultimately across Greece, Albania, the Adriatic Sea and into Italy.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The China bank overseas subsidiary: ICBC Standard Bank

ICBC Standard Bank is an interesting institution. It is a legacy of ICBC’s landmark acquisition of a 20% stake in South Africa’s Standard Bank 10 years ago. In 2015, ICBC acquired a controlling stake in Standard Bank’s London-based global markets business. Today it stands as a financial markets and commodities bank serving ICBC clients’ global markets needs, with a separate business in the distribution of African risk. Still London-based, it focuses on global commodities, fixed income, currencies and equities.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Asean bank: UOB

For UOB, the announcement of One Belt, One Road in 2013 was welcome vindication. Two years earlier, the Singapore bank had set up a foreign direct advisory unit based principally on Chinese overseas direct investment into southeast Asia. “The great beneficiary of our service over the last five years has been Chinese corporates,” says Sam Cheong, head of the unit. “This trend is just beginning.”

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Chinese commercial bank: ICBC

At the vanguard of the funding effort for the Belt and Road Initiative will be China’s state-owned commercial banks. All eyes are upon them and their lending practices. Will they be expected to pour funds into projects with a tenuous economic rationale in the interests of state policy? Or will they instead be able to assess BRI projects as they would any other enterprise, with a weighing up of risk and return and a commercial decision at the end of it?

Making sense of Belt and Road – The white elephant: Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Sri Lanka

With infrastructure ambitions on this scale, it is inevitable that some of the capital will be misspent. As McKinsey Asia-Pacific chairman Kevin Sneader observed in a recent podcast: “There is a real risk that this becomes a source of funding that gets mis-deployed and doesn’t end up contributing to greater trade or greater economic collaboration, but just gets wasted on projects that really should never have been funded in the first place.”

Making sense of Belt and Road – The international multilateral: Asian Development Bank

What does Belt and Road mean for a multilateral like the Asian Development Bank? Friend or foe? The ADB’s stated mandate is, among other things, to improve infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region, so any assistance in that task is surely good. But does it move the goalposts of due diligence and so undermine the standards ADB seeks to set around environmental and social impact? Does the good outweigh the bad?

Making sense of Belt and Road – The institutional investor: Macquarie

Policy bank money is fine, to a point, but if China really wants an infrastructure plan to change the world, it is going to need private sector money to join the party. It is going to need names like Macquarie, historically thought of as an investment bank (which it still is), but today also one of the world’s largest infrastructure investors.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The Chinese multilateral: AIIB

If there is one message Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) chairman Jin Liqun wants you to take away about Belt and Road, it is that AIIB is not the same thing. It is not the Silk Road Fund either. Despite what is widely said in international discussions, these things are not synonymous.

Making sense of Belt and Road – The China analyst: CLSA

It falls to analysts like Alexious Lee, head of China industrial research at CLSA, to make sense of the vast scope and long-term themes of Belt and Road. Lee heads CLSA’s research coverage of Belt and Road and public-private partnerships, assisting clients seeking access to China for projects related to the new Silk Road.

Making sense of Belt and Road – What it means for banks

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is so vast and ambitious it can be difficult to understand how it will all work in practice – what makes a BRI undertaking, how will they be funded, will they be trophy projects or on commercial terms, how are they originated? – so Euromoney spoke to 16 institutions all looking at BRI from their own different perspectives.

Jin Liqun: China’s internationalist

It is a strange world when the most outward-looking financial institution is based in Beijing – welcome to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, led by Jin Liqun. But can the rest of the world really accept the idea that this is an apolitical organization formed only for regional infrastructure?

CCB’s Wang is alert to China’s challenges

China Construction Bank is not alone among the country’s big four banks to claim it changed its lending policy before the rise in bad debts. But in chairman Wang Hongzhang, CCB has a leader who thinks differently.

New Brics lenders redraw multilateral map

Top emerging market officials reveal the ambitions of the new Sino-led development institutions. But emerging markets ignore the opportunity costs of state-led project financing at their peril.

Brics take the road less travelled

Emerging markets are working for a multipolar monetary world. Beijing is spearheading the push to establish rivals to the World Bank to globalize the renminbi, establish markets for its excess capacity and plug the infrastructure deficit. But, for now, a post-Bretton Woods era is fantasy.

Funding Asean’s infrastructure demand

The region’s businesses are being held back by weak transport links, while markets are underdeveloped because of lack of infrastructure. Will Asean’s economic fusion in 2015 give southeast Asia the injection of funds it so desperately needs?