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This week’s top Belt and Road news

BRI Briefing
The latest updates on the BRI
Economics and Finance, Politics, More

 

"Chinese approach to Central and Eastern Europe is actually not entirely straightforward. On one hand, China emphasizes that it recognizes that the 16+1 China-CEE Cooperation should be a part of EU-China relations. On the other hand, there are indications that China doesn't entirely see this region as being inherently part of the EU, part of NATO, part of the developed world."

 

Richard Q.Turcsányi

From our latest Voices of the Belt & Road podcast

 

BRI Briefing

Our BRI Briefing summarizes and analyzes key news related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) over the last week. 
 
This week’s top Belt and Road news
 
Foreigners invest record amount into Chinese equity markets in Jan 2019:Foreigners invested a record $9bn into Chinese equity markets in January 2019. If the trend continues through the year, it will put foreign equity investments on par with FDI into China.
 
Chinese SOEs dominating Belt and Road:China’s Central SOEs have played an important role in the development of Belt and Road. 92% have participated in BRI construction and more than 60% of them have made an equity investment in countries along the routes in over 3,000 projects.

Mahathir confirms attendance at Belt and Road Forum: Malaysian PM Mahathir has confirmed his attendance at China’s second Belt and Road summit this April, in a move analysts say is aimed at reassuring Beijing of his commitment to the project. This follows the cancelation of key Chinese railway projects in Malaysia.
 
The US goes on diplomatic push in Eastern Europe: The US has warned of the growing influence of Huawei in central and eastern Europe as it launches a diplomatic push to curb Beijing’s ambitions in the region. Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, is due to visit Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland this week.
 
And all other Belt and Road news
 
Trade and Investment
 
China economic growth in Q1 expected to be slowest on record: China’s economic growth could slow to the weakest level on record in the first quarter, according to a state-run newspaper Economic Information Daily. There is the possibility that growth for the present quarter could reach 6%,” it said.
 
China has added to its gold reserves again. At the end of January, its holdings stood at 59.94m ounces, up from 59.56m a month earlier. As well as China; Russia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan have all added to their gold reserves this year and reduced dollar holdings.
 
Belt and Road expected to contribute significantly to global trade: The Belt and Road Initiative will contribute totaling 117 billion U.S. dollars to global trade in 2019, according to latest studies published on the website of Center for Global Development (CGD), a renowned American think tank.
 
Shanghai to improve business environment: Shanghai has announced a series of reform measures aimed at improving its business environment to maintain stable economic growth. The measures cover 25 main areas such as business startups, applications for construction permits and electricity service
 
Hainan issues new measures to boost trade: South China's Hainan Province on Wednesday issued four measures intended to stimulate imports and boost foreign trade in the region. Imports of daily consumer goods including medicine, rehabilitation facilities, and elderly care equipment will be supported.
 
Investment to grow faster in China in 2019: Investment, an important engine of the Chinese economy, is expected to grow faster this year, allowing China to better cope with economic uncertainties in 2019. Industry estimates that investment will contribute 40% to economic growth in 2019, vs. 30% in 2018
 
Sixth-round of cabinet-level negotiations: Chinese vice-premier Liu He and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer resumed trade negotiations in Beijing on Thursday as markets grow more optimistic they can avoid an escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Further talks will be held next week, it is expected an MoU may be signed between both sides.
 
Chinese exports pick up in January:Chinese exports rebounded in January, returning to growth as import declines eased, although analysts were unconvinced the jump in outbound shipments pointed to a robust recovery. Dollar-denominated exports rose 9.1% year on year.
 
Islamic finance on the rise along the Belt and Road: Since the launch of the BRI in 2013, Chinese banks, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), have made efforts to establish outbound Islamic financing frameworks and to encourage relevant entities to provide Islamic financing products.
 
Politics
 
Turkey condemns China detention camps: Turkey has called on China to close its detention camps following the reported death of a renowned musician from the ethnic Uighur minority.Astatement from Turkey's foreign ministry said they were being subjected to "torture" in "concentration camps".
 
China criticizes Modi visit to Arunachal Pradesh: Following a visit by Narendra Modi to Arunachal Pradesh, China released a statement saying it "resolutely opposes" activities by Indian leaders in the disputed region. In response, India said Arunachal Pradesh was "an integral and inalienable part of India"
 
Israel raises security concerns around Chinese tech: Security officials are raising alarms over Chinese investment in Israeli technology companies, prompting the Israeli government to scrutinize the money flows and businesses to reconsider accepting Chinese funds.
 
New Zealand denies a diplomatic rift with China: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has denied any diplomatic rift with China despite the postponement of a joint tourism event and media reports that her planned visit to Beijing is in limbo.
 
Trump considers banning Chinese tech equipment in the US: The Trump administration is moving closer to completing an executive order that would ban telecommunications companies in the United States from using Chinese equipment while building next-generation wireless networks, according to American officials.
 
Projects
 
Turkey reiterates efforts to align connectivity initiatives with China:Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced readiness to join efforts with China to further the alignment of Turkey's Middle Corridor project and the Belt and Road.
 
India and China leading the way with greening on land: Data from NASA satellites have shown that China and India led the way in greening on land, thanks to ambitious tree-planting programs. That is a perhaps a surprising finding, given its often assumed that China and India are actually exploiting available land resources
  
Cosco buys Peruvian Port: Cosco Shipping Ports signed last month an agreement with Peruvian mining company Volcan to buy a 60% stake in the operator of Chancay terminal, a major hub on the coast north of the capital, Lima.

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