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Showing posts from August 13, 2018

US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million to combat China’s investments in strategic island

EAST ASIA The State Department will provide the funds as “foreign military financing” to boost maritime security Agence France-PresseUPDATED : Tuesday, 14 Aug 2018, 6:18AM  27 The United States announced Monday it would grant Sri Lanka US$39 million to boost maritime security as China develops its strategic hold on the Indian Ocean island. The State Department will provide the funds as “foreign military financing”, pending congressional approval, the US embassy in Colombo said. Sri Lankan president welcomes US$295 million ‘gift’ from Beijing “We look forward to discussing with the government of Sri Lanka how this contribution can support our Bay of Bengal initiative and Sri Lanka’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response priorities,” it said. It comes as China, the world’s second-largest economy, increases investment in ports and other building projects in Sri Lanka – a key link in its ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative. Last week, the Central Bank of

The Arms Trade in The Horn of Africa

  Download logo EXX Africa ( published a special report on the arms trade in the Horn of Africa. The trade of illegal weapons in the Horn of Africa remains highly lucrative and is comprehensively entwined with transnational terrorist groups, drug smuggling, and the conflict in nearby Yemen. The focus of the regional arms trade remains volatile Somalia and its semi-autonomous regions where demand for weapons remains unabated despite various embargoes and other sanctions. Over the past few years, Djibouti has emerged as an increasingly important hub for weapons trans-shipment to armed groups in the region. There is growing evidence that Djibouti is acting as a strategic transit location for weapons derived from Houthi-held territory in Yemen, which it then ships to the Awdal region of northern Somalia through its peacekeeping deployment in the AMISOM mission. Djibouti’s enhanced role in regional arms trafficking is occurring at the same time as the country’s governm

CPIC to Launch Downtown Gwadar on Pakistan Independence Day

CPIC are to launch Gwadar Downtown plots with an offer to buy three get one free for a limited period from 14th August. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, August 13, 2018 / / -- Today CPIC presented their new campaign in which they want to bring people even closer to the great things Gwadar has to offer with their latest launch, Downtown Gwadar, at China Pak Golf Estates. Downtown Gwadar occupies a prime location straddling the CPEC Highway (N-10) with a selection of Commercial and Residential plots. CPIC offer real estate opportunities within the $62bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), offering the public investment opportunities within Gwadar particularly in the $350 million luxury gated community of China Pak Golf Estates at the heart of Gwadar. This region is predicted to become South Asia's busiest shipping port by 2023. Investors can purchase freehold residential plots from only £8,499 with flexible payment plans available to buyers. China Pak Golf Estates is

Caspian Five settle row over sea’s legal status, demarcation pending

By  Alexandra Brzozowski  |  Euractiv  Aug 13, 2018 (updated:  Aug 13, 2018) President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev (L), President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (2-L), President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (C), President of Russia Vladimir Putin (2-R) and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (R) attend the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea during the 5th Caspian summit at the Friendship Palace in Aktau, the Caspian Sea port in Kazakhstan, 12 August 2018. [EPA-EFE/ALEXEY NIKOLSKY]         Leaders of the five Caspian littoral states met on Sunday (12 August) for the Fifth Caspian Summit in Kazakhstan’s port city Aktau to sign a landmark declaration determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea and aiming to end the legal limbo over its resource-rich waters. However, the exact demarcation of the Caspian seabed still remains an open issue among the four ex-Soviet states and Iran. “The Caspian Sea is an effective bridge of cooperation no

Fall of Xi's empire? China's new silk road may lead to USSR-like collapse

David Fickling | Bloomberg | | Last Updated at August 12 2018 14:34 IST Illustration by Binay Sinha What causes empires to fall? According to one influential view, it’s ultimately a question of investment. Great powers are the nations that best harness their economic potential to build up military strength. When they become over-extended, the splurge of spending to sustain a strategic edge leaves more productive parts of the economy starved of capital, leading to inevitable decline. That should be a worrying prospect for China, a would-be great power whose current phase of growth is associated with an increasingly aggressive military posture and a tsunami of capital spending in its strategic neighbourhood. Like the Soviet Union in the 1970s, China is coming to the end of a long labour-force boom, and hoping that an orgy of investment will keep the old magic going while stabilising its fraying frontiers. The success or failure of its Belt and Road projects – and the still greater


TRIVIUM CHINA FINANCE & ECONOMICS 1. The July credit whisper number We’ve been trying to drive this point home recently  – the July credit numbers will be a key barometer of the state of economic policy support. The central bank will put out the official numbers sometime between Monday and Wednesday , but the banking regulator (CBIRC) is already saying that the growth of bank loans picked up in July. "According to preliminary statistics, new RMB loans increased by RMB 1.45 trillion in July, an increase of RMB 623 billion over the same period last year." "New infrastructure loans increased by RMB 172.4 billion, an increase of RMB 46. 9 billion over June." Get smart:  If those numbers are right, overall RMB bank loans grew by 13.2% y/y in July – up from 12.7% y/y in June and the 12.8% H1 average. But according to CBIRC , growth of non-bank lending looks to have remained weak. According to our estimates , that will put total loan growth (i.e., bank and non-

China is printing foreign money at 'full steam' as it tries to expand its influence on the global economy

MICHAEL SELBY-GREEN,MICHAEL SELBY-GREEN AUG 13, 2018, 03.54 PM Jianan Yu/Reuters China's money printing industry is running at "full steam" for foreign clients including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Brazil and Poland, according to reports. The printing is linked to China's Belt and Road Initiative which has seen China build infrastructure and invest in around 60 countries from Europe, Asia, and Africa. "A nation must have considerable trust in the Chinese government to allow it to print its banknotes," Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology told the South China Morning Post. Beijing has been concerned that its enemies could use fake notes to disrupt its economy and has viewed the money printing capability as important as its atomic bomb programme. China is printing more foreign money as it seeks to expand its influence on the global economy. Money printing plants across the country are running at

Growing doubts over China's Belt and Road projects in Southeast Asia

China’s sprawling Belt and Road Initiative has largely been welcomed by Southeast Asian countries as an opportunity to fill critical gaps in their infrastructure. But several projects have come under greater scrutiny in recent months, as host countries reassess their benefits. By Linette Lim 13 Aug 2018 05:12PM (Updated: 13 Aug 2018 05:20PM) Share this content Bookmark SINGAPORE: Southeast Asia is seen as the pivot of China’s multi-billion dollar  Belt and Road Initiative  (BRI). Besides the region’s growing markets, Southeast Asia offers China secure sea routes from its coast to elsewhere, and supply routes overland. Yet, five years since President Xi Jinping launched the world’s most ambitious infrastructure plan in 2013, the development project seems to have hit a few road bumps. Advertisement Several joint projects in Southeast Asia have been delayed or put under greater scrutiny, reflecting increasing uncertainty among host countries over the benefits of the BRI, notes po

Why Central Asia Is Betting on China’s Belt and Road

Central Asian countries are betting on the BRI for long-term benefits, despite the apparent risks. By  Umida Hashimova August 13, 2018 The transfer of Hambantota deep-water port in Sri Lanka to China through 2116 set off alarm bells across Asia. Those already warning that China’s ambitious infrastructure development project, the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), was nothing more than political encroachment disguised as economic projects had found their clearest evidence yet. Some, even among the 65 countries covered by the BRI, cautioned about threats to sovereignty. Nevertheless, other BRI participant countries — like those in Central Asia — remained unperturbed by the fallout of the developments in Sri Lanka. The support of these countries toward the BRI remains not only unwavering, but their leaderships advocate for wider and multi-layered involvement within the initiative. The Central Asian countries — in particular Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan — are still

Spending speed bumps hit China’s massive Belt and Road project

Investment drops by around 15% in the first half of the year as Beijing grapples with US trade war, a cooling economy and domestic problems By  GORDON WATTS AUGUST 13, 2018 7:13 PM (UTC+8) 24 0 China has launched a massive program of 'New Silk Roads' on land, sea and in the air. Photo: iStock   It was always going to be about the numbers. In the first half of 2018, China’s foreign direct investment in the Belt and Road Initiative dropped 15% compared to the same period last year. Spending edged down to US$7.68 billion, which was 12.3% of total FDI from January to June,  the Ministry of Commerce  stated. “Newly signed contracts amounted to $47.79 billion,” the ministry confirmed without revealing further details. The slowdown comes at a time when Beijing is being dragged deeper  into a trade war  with the United States while realigning  a cooling economy  and pushing ahead with the  “Made in China 2025”  policy, which revolves around advanced technology. Launched in a f

Belt, Road, Indonesia

RANAJIT DAM As China rolls out its massively ambitious Belt and Road Initiative across the region, Indonesia is set to be a key beneficiary. Lawyers discuss the work they are seeing as a result, and what the future holds.   There is no doubting the vastness of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or its staggering ambition. A development campaign through which China wants to boost trade and stimulate economic growth across Asia and beyond, the BRI will build massive amounts of infrastructure connecting the Middle Kingdom to countries around the globe. By some estimates, China plans to pump $150 billion into such projects each year, and according to a report released by ratings agency Fitch last year, an incredible $900 billion in projects were planned or underway. Indonesia stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the BRI, with some $87 billion of investment set to make its way into the country, according to a 2016 report from Baker McKenzie. In April this year, Indone

The Belt and Road’s difficult embrace

BY   Graeme Smith This article is based on  episode 26  of the  Little Red Podcast , featuring  Peter Cai  of the Lowy Institute, Dirk van der Kley of the Australian National University, and Louisa Lim from the Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University. Last year my most decorated PhD student  Colonel Peter Connolly , now Director of the  Australian Army Research Centre  (the DAARC), made a Belt and Road pilgrimage with me to the think tanks, universities, and bookshops of Guangzhou and Beijing to find out what the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was, and how it had been cooked up. We heard various descriptions of the BRI, or, to give it its even less-catchy full title, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road: it was a bumper sticker for things that were already happening; a “grand strategy” (always in scare quotes); and a new approach to geo-economics. It was definitely nothing to do with neocolonialism. We heard various conception tales.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative

  The BRI is a hugely ambitious plan that will take decades to realise. If successful, it will fundamentally alter the geopolitical map of Eurasia, writes Paul Gruenwald, Managing Director, Chief Economist, S&P Global Ratings. Share Conceived in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims at nothing less than connecting—or under some interpretations, reconnecting—the Eurasian supercontinent. This is to be done by land and sea “Silk Roads”, using infrastructure and industry, led at least initially by Chinese official financing. Many of the specifics of the BRI remain fluid, but it will be a decades-long effort involving dozens of countries, with a cost running into trillions of dollars. An undertaking of this magnitude has potentially large payoffs, as well as potentially large risks. Success will ultimately rest on whether BRI projects can win local hearts and minds in the recipient countries, and whether China’s initial “seed money” in the BRI will create credit-worthy