China taps the brakes on its global push for influence
SHANGHAI: China has spent nearly five years steering an ever-growing stream of hundreds of billions of dollars to a bold plan to gain greater global influence by funding big projects across Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Now, Beijing is starting to tap the brakes.
The value of the deals that Chinese companies are striking under the country's big global plan — called the Belt and Road Initiative + — is smaller than a year ago, according to new data. Chinese officials themselves are sounding a cautious note, voicing worries that Chinese institutions need to be careful how much they lend under the program — and make sure their international borrowers can pay it back.
"Current international conditions are very uncertain, with lots of economic risks and large fluctuations for interest rates in newly emerged markets," said Hu Xiaolian, the chairwoman of the Export-Import Bank of China, a state-controlled lender that plays a big role in financing the projects, at a forum this month in Shanghai. "Our enterprises and Belt and Road Initiative countries will face financing difficulties."
China has begun a broad, interagency review of how many deals have already been done, on what financial terms and with which countries, say people close to Chinese economic policymaking, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity because the effort has not been made public.
American and European officials have long worried that Belt and Road represents a diplomatic and economic power grab by Beijing, fueled by its vast government wealth and helped by the Communist Party's laser like focus on achieving long-term goals.
Under the initiative, Chinese government-controlled lenders offer big chunks of money — usually through loans or financial guarantees — to other countries to build big infrastructure projects like highways, rail lines and power plants. That money often comes with the requirement that Chinese companies be heavily involved in the planning and construction, throwing them a lot of business.
But even with its financial firepower, China has its limits. Its economy is showing signs of slowing, and it is in the middle of a trade war with the United States + . Beijing is struggling to tame domestic debt problems — problems an international lending spree certainly hasn't helped.
Too much overseas activity risks creating wasteful white elephants that can drag down Chinese companies and local partners alike. All types of deals are now angling to be associated with the Belt and Road Initiative like a theme park in Indonesia and brewery in the Czech Republic.
Further, profligate lending can worsen relations with other countries rather than help them. New governments in places like Malaysia and Sri Lanka have questioned why their predecessors borrowed so much from Beijing. 此外，无度的放贷会造成与其它国家的关系恶化，而非帮助。马来西亚和斯里兰卡等地的新政服对他们的前任为何从中国借来那么多钱提出质疑。
This year, some Chinese officials have expressed some concerns about lending under the program.
"Ensuring debt sustainability — that is very important," Yi Gang, the new governor of China's central bank, said at a conference in Beijing in late April.
While Belt and Road activity remains huge, it has certainly become more restrained, according to official data. In the first five months of 2018, Chinese companies signed contracts worth $36.2 billion in business, down nearly 6 percent from the same period a year ago.
Deal signings were down at this time last year from 2016, too, though by a lesser magnitude. Much of that downturn stemmed from big companies and governments' saving their powder for a major Belt and Road forum held in May 2017 in Beijing that was attended by Xi Jinping, China's top leader, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and other major political figures. After the forum, activity surged.
"I sensed that the level of enthusiasm about BRI had certainly shifted down a few notches relative to last year," said Eswar Prasad, a Cornell economist and former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division who recently visited Beijing and had extensive conversations with Chinese financial policymakers.
康奈尔经济学家和国际货币基金组织中国分部前负责人埃斯华·普拉萨德表示: "我感觉到, 对比去年，热情水平肯定有所下降," 他近期到访北京并与中国金融政策制定者进行大量对话。
Project activity could pick up later this year, of course. But an uncertain global economic outlook has given Beijing even more reasons to be cautious.
A protracted trade war between the United States and other countries, particularly China, could shake confidence and stunt growth. The United States has pushed up short-term interest rates, making it more costly to borrow money. In the past, interest rate increases in the United States have sometimes caused financial turbulence elsewhere, especially in emerging markets.
Belt and Road lending seemed a sure thing when the effort began under Xi in 2013. Loans would be long-term, giving borrowers time to pay them back. China also tends to extend loans mainly to countries with significant natural resources. If a resource-rich developing country had trouble repaying its loans, it could offer goods like oil, iron ore or even food instead.
But part of the problem now is that no one — not even the Chinese government — has a comprehensive picture of the lending so far. The Finance Ministry and the state-controlled banking system have poured money into projects from the Czech Republic to Laos, and from South Africa to Kazakhstan. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission estimated this spring that Chinese banks had lent $200 billion for 2,600 projects.
但现在的部分问题是，目前没有人- 甚至是中国政服-都没有全面了解贷款情况。财政部和国家控股的银行系统已经将资金投入到从捷克，老挝以及南非，哈萨克斯坦的项目。中国银行业和保险业监督管理委员会今年春季估计, 中国各银行为2600个项目提供了2000亿美元的贷款。
Various government agencies have also issued extensive export guarantees, loan guarantees and other financial arrangements as part of the initiative, although some of these overlap with the bank loans.
各政服机构还发布了大量的出口担保、贷款担保和其他财务安排, 作为这项倡议的一部分, 尽管其中有些与银行贷款重叠。
A Belt and Road slowdown may also be natural. Official data show Chinese companies are completing projects at nearly the same pace as they are signing deals for new ones, suggesting the initiative may simply be settling into a sustainable rhythm.
一带一路的活跃性下降也可能是自然的。官方数据显示, 中国企业因为它们也在签署新的协议，正在以几乎相同的速度完成项目, 这表明一带一路可能只是纯粹的简单的可持续的进程。
"They are still very actively promoting Belt and Road," said Andrew Mackenzie, the chief executive of BHP Billiton, an Australian mining giant that is among the biggest exporters of iron ore to Chinese steel mills, which are among the intended beneficiaries of Belt and Road.
『他们仍然非常积极地推动一带一路』, 必和必拓首席执行官安德鲁麦肯锡说，该公司是澳大利亚矿业巨头, 是中国钢厂最大的铁矿石出口国之一, 该公司是一带一路预期受益者之一.
Still, some Chinese officials are looking more closely at where the money is ending up.
For example, they have been reassessing the country's financial exposure in Africa, a continent with immense natural resources that has lured a wide range of Chinese energy and construction companies, people close to Chinese policymaking said.
Belt and Road has been viewed with increasing skepticism by multilateral institutions as well. They have warned that developing countries should not incur excessive debts.
"The first priority," Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said at the Beijing conference in April, "is that Belt and Road only travels to where it is really needed."
国际货币基金组织 (IMF) 总裁克里斯汀拉加德在4月北京会议上表示: 『一带一路的首要任务是去到真正需要它的地方。』
原创翻译：三泰虎 http://jblasi.com/45434.html 译者：天一生水
US, China, Japan, Europe are worried about jobs for its people while India is fighting its own ##vital segment ,Dalits, Moslems, Sikhs and other minorities. Nowhere there is such problem.
美国, 中国, 日本, 欧洲担心其人民的就业机会, 而在印度：达利特人, 穆斯林, 锡克教徒和其他少数民族等之间相互斗争。其它地方没有这样的问题。
Every country was,is and will be allowed to gain supremacy only to the extent USA wants. This world is simulation - created by USA and allies.
only a person like Trump can make China comes to its knees
Chinese economy is heavily dependent on trade! If major importers put brake on their import from China it will be in serious trouble! That is the reason it wants peace with its neighbours!
Meanwhile in india people are fighting over animals and religion . Truly a 3rd world mentality
They will do it atlast.we need to start our own mega projects rather than downsizing their development trajectory
India is safe, it has no #belt problems, not now, not tomorrow, never ever..It has lost all races
印度是安全的, 它没有『带』的问题, 现在没有，明天没有，永远不会有，它已经失去所有种族
Hope chinese will give up their dream to rule world and respect sovereignty of every country.
US is also hit by this trade war, but it is a bigger punch for China.
Good to see the downfall of OBOR as is an acid test for China Pak relations. No one wants to be friends here when their financial need is not served.
IT WAS WISE ON OUR PART NOT TO JOIN OBOR
Chinese have invented and entered their own maze and now are finding it difficult to find way out . With trade war bugle sounded by US , Chinese need India more than ever to get out of this storm brewing in China tea pot . With uncertainty over economy in almost most countries , this ambitious project may not see light at end of the tunnel soon .
中国进入自己制造的迷宫，现在出不来了。随着贸易战号角响起, 中国比以往任何时候都需要印度摆脱这场在中国酿造的风暴。由于几乎大多数国家经济的不确定性, 这个雄心勃勃的计划可能不会很快看到光明。
Good new for India. Less worry now - the Road and Pakistan base will be their pipe dream now.
china is a thug, chor, deceptive, cunning, conning group of people,fit to be annihilated . . .
中国是个暴徒, 欺骗、狡猾、狡诈, 应该被消灭.....
Wait and watch this entire China will get splited into small countries under the leadership of Modiji. Iss baar bhi Modi sarkar.... Jai Hind
Welldone Trump. These monsters are dangerous to entire humanity.
China is the biggest bubble which will burst one day
This china became rich thanks to Bill Clinton and other liberal american politician who shipped all manufacturing jobs to China in early 1990,s
China follows a pragmatic approach in accordance with the situation and India has to take the full advantage of the situation. Time and tide waits for none.