What was touted as the world’s biggest development project is unravelling into what could become China’s first overseas debt crisis – by James Kynge and Jonathan Wheatley (Financial Post/Financial Times – December 2020)


How the wheels came off Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road ‘project of the century’

It has not taken long for the wheels to come off the Belt and Road Initiative. As recently as May 2017, China’s leader Xi Jinping stood in Beijing before a hall of nearly 30 heads of state and delegates from over 130 countries and proclaimed “a project of the century”.

This was not hyperbole. China has promised to spend about US$1 trillion on building infrastructure in mainly developing countries around the world — and finance almost all of this through its own financial institutions.

Adjusted for inflation, this total was roughly seven times what the U.S. spent through the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the second world war, according to Jonathan Hillman, author of The Emperor’s New Road.

But according to data published this week, reality is deviating sharply from Xi’s script. What was conceived as the world’s biggest development program is unravelling into what could become China’s first overseas debt crisis.

Lending by the Chinese financial institutions that drive the Belt and Road, along with bilateral support to governments, has fallen off a cliff, and Beijing finds itself mired in debt renegotiations with a host of countries.

For the rest of this article: https://financialpost.com/financial-times/what-was-touted-as-the-worlds-biggest-development-project-is-unravelling-into-what-could-become-chinas-first-overseas-debt-crisis?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=FP%20Posthase%20Newsletter%202020-12-15&utm_term=FP%20Posthaste