Western banks rush to gain deals on China's Belt and Road Initiative

(Xinhua, Beijing, 28 February 2018) With China's Belt and Road Initiative gaining more recognition globally, Western banks are rushing in for a piece of the pie in this once in a generation opportunity. British and U.S. banks, including Citigroup, HSBC and Standard Chartered have been seizing opportunities brought about by the initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiative aims to create greater trade, infrastructure and people-to-people links between Asia, Europe, Africa and beyond by reviving and expanding the ancient Silk Road routes. The modern version comprises an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. As one example, Standard Chartered Bank has taken the initiative as a key part of its plan to generate the revenue growth necessary to achieve its target of making a return on equity above 10 percent. The bank has won 20 financing deals linked to the initiative over the past four years, such as a 515 million U.S. dollars project financing for a power plant in Zambia, a 200 million dollars loan for a Bangladesh electricity plant, and a 42 million dollars export credit facility for a gas terminal in Sri Lanka. [We will be following how ECAs swing in behind the banks on this initiative.]