China on top of development loans

2011-01-18 08:39

Beijing – China has lent more money to other developing countries in the past two years than the World Bank has – a sign of Beijing’s growing economic might and thirst for natural resources, a report said today.

The state-owned China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank agreed to lend at least $110 billion (R754 billion) to governments and companies in developing countries in 2009 and last year, the Financial Times said, citing its own research.

That exceeds the record $100.3 billion handed out by the various arms of the World Bank from mid-2008 to mid-last year in response to the global financial crisis, the report said.

The newspaper said the statistics were collected by examining public announcements by the banks, the borrowers or the Chinese government.

The World Bank figures were for loans granted by the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, its main lending arm, and the International Finance Corporation, which lends to the private sector, it said.

The volume of loans reflects Beijing’s efforts to forge stronger ties with developing countries as it winds back its economic dependence on Western export markets, it said.

During the global credit crunch, China was able to push the commercial interests of its energy companies by offering loans to producer countries at a time when financing was hard to come by.

The agreements included large loan-for-oil deals with Russia, Venezuela and Brazil, as well as loans for an Indian company to buy power equipment and for infrastructure projects in Ghana and railways in Argentina.

Some of the loans were denominated in yuan as China tries to spread the use of its currency worldwide.

China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank offer more favourable terms than the World Bank and other lenders for certain deals that are strongly backed by Beijing, the report said.

For less politically sensitive deals, the loan conditions are closer to international standards. 

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