Issue 246 - 24.01.2022
24.01.2022

Kazakhstan remains well-placed on BRI map

Kazakhstan is a linchpin for trade and transport links on the Eurasian continent – for China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and beyond – due to its location, vast landmass and energy reserves. It is both the object and the subject of Chinese, Russian and Western geopolitical interests. The Kazakhstani case shows that the shape and success of the BRI largely depend on internal, not external, factors.

In September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced an umbrella, a brand, for ambitious ongoing and future projects: “One Belt One Road”, now renamed the “Belt and Road Initiative”. This vague geo-economic and geo-strategic concept aims at fostering connectedness, economic development and diversifying trade and transport routes. The BRI entails Chinese-led investments in infrastructure and development projects in dozens of countries, worth an estimated 1 trillion dollars – a magnitude unprecedented in the 21st Century. Xi announced this project in Kazakhstan, which was no coincidence. While all Central Asian states hope to become BRI transit corridors and to benefit from investments, Kazakhstan, alongside Pakistan, was preconditioned to be a keystone of the land-based dimension of China’s plan, the Silk Road Economic Belt. Occupying a vast landmass in Eurasia and boasting large oil and mineral reserves, Kazakhstan holds an important geo-strategic position. China considers Kazakhstan crucial for transit, a source of energy and as a stable neighbour of its unstable Xinjiang province. It has invested billions in Kazakhstan’s energy and transport infrastructure, already prior to the BRI. At the same time, Kazakhstan is Russia’s closest ally in Asia. Moscow’s clout and societal, economic, political and military ties are strong. The West has little leverage to match China and Russia’s and is mostly interested in stability in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood and in Kazakhstan’s oil and uranium.

Kazakhstan officially pursues a ‘multi-vector’ foreign policy of good relations with all of these actors and tries to balance and compensate relations with one or the other. Geopolitical accounts often overlook this dimension of local agency and perceptions. This also includes the influence of cooperation and competition among the Central Asian states. The Kazakhstani government has eagerly embraced Chinese efforts to establish Kazakhstan as a regional transit hub because they were in line with its own national development strategies and assumed a high degree of ownership of the BRI on its territory. However, perceptions of China and its activities in Kazakhstan differ.

While the elite has been able to benefit materially, the population is very sceptical of China. The expert community points to China’s increasing influence and economic dependency. For countries beyond Central Asia, examining Kazakhstan’s experience may allow insights on the BRI, the challenges and opportunities a rising China offers, and their interaction with local politics and other powers’ geopolitical interests. The Kazakhstani case shows that the BRI’s manifestation and potential of success is as much a reflection of the political structure of the host country as of China.

Kazakhstan became independent after the demise of the Soviet Union. It is the ninth largest country in the world, with a population of only 18 million. First President Nursultan Nazarbayev established a system of ‘soft authoritarianism’. Elections have been a farce; political opposition and free media are severely restricted. Corruption is rampant and the elite has amassed large fortunes. Kazakhstan is currently in the course of a political leadership transition. Nazarbayev remains in powerful positions and his hand-picked successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, is set to maintain the current system, apart from a reshuffling of posts through which some win and some lose access to rents. Dissatisfaction among the population about the illegitimate accumulation of wealth and about inequality is widespread. Thousands of protestors voiced anger about their lack of political participation in spring 2019, but the political elite is unwilling to embrace fundamental reforms.

Brain drain to Russia as well as to the West has been an issue for years. Whereas Kazakhstan’s political system is authoritarian, the regime has pursued a fairly liberal economic policy and maintained elements of the welfare state, such that some of the wealth has trickled down to the population. Average income levels are on par with Russia’s and thus higher than in the region or in China. As Kazakhstan accounts for 60 percent of Central Asia’s GDP, it attracts up to a million migrant workers from its poorer neighbours.

Its impressive levels of economic growth have been fuelled by Kazakhstan’s vast wealth of hydrocarbon resources and minerals. It boasts the 11th largest oil reserves in the world. Additionally, Kazakhstan is the number one producer of uranium and has some of the world’s largest deposits of copper, phosphorite, zinc and gold. As resource wealth has filled the state’s coffers, dependency on the extractive sector has increased, despite the ensuing vulnerability from global markets and prices. The government acknowledges this overdependence and is eager to diversify its economy. It emphasised the need to boost agriculture and pursue infrastructure projects to foster trade and establish Kazakhstan as a trade and transit hub, already before the BRI was announced.

The need for enhanced connectedness for the world’s largest landlocked country is undebated and was also addressed by multilateral institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development or the Asian Development Bank. The latter has to date invested 5 billion dollars in Kazakhstan in road, railway and power generation projects, for example.

Kazakhstan under Nazarbayev has cultivated a good image abroad and pursued a balanced foreign policy of good relations with all major powers. It is a member of regional multilateral institutions like the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), as well as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Kazakhstan’s relations with its northern neighbour are close, though not entirely by choice. It shares the longest border in the world with Russia, similar political systems, and economic and transportation links such as pipelines and railways. To this day, ethnic Russians are a sizable minority of around one quarter. The Russian language and media are widespread and a tool of considerable Russian soft power and influence. The legacy of the Soviet Union and the perception of cultural proximity, particularly among the urban population, are strong. While Kazakhstan’s defence forces have started purchasing equipment in China, Russia is the undisputed leading partner in the security and military sphere.

However, the Kazakhstani government has been wary of being subdued to Russian interests. It abstained from supporting Russian countersanctions against the West after 2014 and opposes the transformation of the EAEU into a political alliance. Relations with the West are largely limited to energy and security. European and US companies hold large shares in Kazakhstan’s hydrocarbon sector, for which their technology has proven crucial. Currently, one third of Kazakhstan’s exports go to the EU – virtually all of it raw materials like crude oil and minerals. Politically, there is no grand narrative or unified European approach to Central Asia or Kazakhstan more specifically. The US has mostly looked at Kazakhstan through a security lens as a neighbour of its two biggest rivals and of Afghanistan. It is guided by a vague New Silk Road strategy, announced in 2011, that largely lacks tangible results. The West has regularly criticised Kazakhstan for its restricted civic liberties, media freedom and unfair elections. Given its limited clout in the region, it has been unable to induce significant change.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Kazakhstan’s ties to China have intensified. The BRI has given them the latest boost. For China, implementing the BRI’s goals may have been imaginable without Kazakhstan’s participation, but only at substantially higher costs, risks and detours. China’s activities in Kazakhstan are mainly guided by three domestic motivations: energy security, diversifying trade routes, and domestic development and stability. They are underpinned by the fundamental geo-economic logic of the BRI: stability and security, which China tries to establish in its neighbourhood, can be achieved through economic development.

As the world’s largest energy importer, China is attempting to diversify its energy sources. The larger part of its oil supply is provided by potentially unstable countries in Africa and the Middle East and reaches China though the bottleneck of the Malacca Straits and waters largely dominated by the United States and its allies. Consequently, securing supply over land, from stable Central Asia, already became a strategic priority in the 2000s, prior to the BRI. Kazakhstan is crucial to this endeavour both as a supplier, particularly of oil and uranium, and as a transit country, for example for gas from Turkmenistan, China’s largest gas supplier. Connectivity and infrastructure links are a central element of the BRI. Enhanced road and railway infrastructure in Kazakhstan helps Chinese goods reach markets. Rail transport as opposed to shipping, albeit more expensive, cuts transport times from China to Western Europe in half. An outlet westward not only fosters exports overall, but also allows China to develop its largely neglected hinterland, including the province of Xinjiang bordering the Central Asian republics. The Uyghurs, a local Muslim minority, have been portrayed as destabilising and harbouring extremist and separatist sentiments. China is attempting to ‘pacify’ Xinjiang by pouring in investments, installing a comprehensive surveillance system and sending up to a million Muslims, among them many ethnic Kazakh, into ‘re-education camps.’ Good relations with China’s largest western neighbour, Kazakhstan, are thus critical to China’s domestic interests. Accordingly, and at an accelerated pace since the announcement of the BRI, China has invested vast funds in Kazakhstan. It had already purchased stakes in oil fields and built major pipelines in the 2000s. China granted a loan of 10 billion dollars in 2009 in exchange for more shares in the oil and gas sector.

 A major element of Kazakhstan becoming a BRI transit hub between East and West has been the Khorgos container hub at the border, a Kazakhstani-Chinese joint venture, the world’s largest dry port and a BRI flagship project. Currently and mostly through Khorgos, Kazakhstan handles 70 percent of goods transited over land between China and the EU. A further element of the BRI is the outsourcing of China’s excess production capacity. In 2016, China and Kazakhstan agreed to move 51 facilities in sectors like smelting, engineering or chemicals worth more than 25 billion dollars to Kazakhstan. To date, only a handful have materialised. There is widespread concern that many of these projects may fail to fulfil environmental standards and to meet the demand of Kazakhstan’s market. Lastly, the BRI in Kazakhstan also has a societal element. China generously hands out scholarships. Currently, close to 18 000 Kazakhstanis are studying in China, and China runs five Confucius Institutes – educational institutions promoting Chinese culture and language – across Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan as an early and stable partner of the BRI has chosen a distinct approach to it. In the road and rail sector in Kazakhstan, for example, China supports ongoing BRI infrastructure projects worth more than 5 billion dollars until 2022. This amount is matched by BRI projects run and financed entirely by Kazakhstan. In fact, the majority of BRI projects implemented in Kazakhstan were planned and financed by Kazakhstan itself, mostly through its sovereign wealth fund or in cooperation with multilateral development banks. Early on, Kazakhstan integrated its national development strategies such as ‘Kazakhstan 2050’ with the BRI and thus assumed ownership of BRI on its territory. Kazakhstan has been keen to diversify its economic partners and is attractive and wealthy enough to do so. Officially, foreign direct investments from and debts held by China have never amounted to more than 10 percent of total stock. Accounting for Chinese investments rerouted through other countries, this number is likely to be higher though. Still, this stands in distinction from other countries in the region like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Turkmenistan, who owe around half of their rising debt to China. In Kazakhstan, Chinese funds were welcome as a substantial addition to its own investments and it offered members of the elite further ways to benefit. Corruption, side payments and favouring companies with good political ties – in China or Kazakhstan – are part of the process. Kazakhstan’s political elite has thus remained mute about China’s policy in Xinjiang, for example, and embraced the BRI.

But among the population, the perceptions of China and of Chinese involvement are different. While Russia is perceived as culturally close, there is widespread scepticism towards China based on historical animosities, stereotypes, increasing dependence on a more populous neighbour, and repression in China’s Xinjiang province. There is an evident lack of mutual understanding and of knowledge about the other’s cultural space and the details of the BRI. Controversially, Chinese companies in Kazakhstan often bring their own employees and pay them higher salaries than locals receive, generating grievances. Occasionally, protests have flared up involving anti-Chinese sentiment, for example in 2016 against a change in the land code that would have allowed foreigners to lease land for up to 25 years. Local and international experts acknowledge the need for a modernisation of Kazakhstan’s infrastructure and some benefit of close relations with China to balance Western and Russian influence. At the same time, they point to a lack of transparency in BRI projects and investments, unresolved issues of cross-border water management, China’s increasing political clout and the potential for territorial disputes to re-emerge.

However, observers still emphasise the stable and largely positive relationship between Kazakhstan and China. In BRI countries such as Malaysia or Sri Lanka, major projects were halted due to backlash, debt repayment to China has become problematic or populations have voiced fundamental resentment about the BRI and Chinese interference. Kazakhstan thus seems to largely represents a success story of the BRI. Assessing the BRI It appears that most large-scale projects like the construction of railways, roads and pipelines in Kazakhstan are already implemented. While the BRI remains an ongoing project, BRI spending in Kazakhstan has decreased in recent years, in line with a general decline in spending levels under the BRI. However, as both Kazakhstan and China provide little insight into the terms of BRI projects, evaluating the economic benefits thus far is difficult. Large-scale projects in Kazakhstan are widely understood to involve malpractice due to a lack of rule of law and accountability. BRI projects can be assumed to be no exception.

An infrastructure project in Kazakhstan’s capital is daily commuters’ visible reminder of such malpractice: pillars for a light railway, for which Kazakhstan borrowed 1.5 billion dollars from the Chinese Bank of International Development, currently stand across the capital like a skeleton (see photo). The project was halted after funds started disappearing and the Chinese donor pulled out. The BRI flagship project at the Kazakhstani-Chinese border, the Khorgos terminal, saw the head of the free-trade zone arrested for accepting bribes.

Furthermore, the Khorgos terminal is still running way below capacity, which raises questions about its profitability. Generally, the mere transit of goods produced elsewhere will not provide enough revenue and jobs. Physical infrastructure alone, without the accompanying regulatory procedures and standards, can also foster trade only to a certain extent. The structures BRI projects are embedded in, the local regulatory environment and development efforts, will determine whether Kazakhstan can increase its share in value chains and attract further investments to strengthen sectors like agriculture or manufacturing. Moreover, regional and geopolitical dynamics have an influence on whether BRI projects reach their objectives. All Central Asian states compete in the hope of becoming transit corridors and of benefiting from the BRI. If they manage to cooperate to some extent – for which the current environment is more favourable after decades of mistrust – their prospects of regional benefits could improve.

Regarding geopolitics, the Kazakhstani case further shows the limits of Chinese soft power. Despite the vast sums provided to the ostensible benefit of both countries as well as investments in student exchange and in fostering a favourable image of China, Sinophobia among the population persists. Russia, despite losing some leverage in Kazakhstan, is still viewed favourably. The Kazakhstani government is likely to continue to balance external powers’ influence to ensure the stability of the country and the elite. Since they are united in their opposition to the US and its allies, whose interests in Kazakhstan loom in the second row, Russia and China will not allow for competition between them to openly manifest. As such, there is no geopolitical game currently at play around Kazakhstan, given that none of the actors is fully willing to play.

The success and cost-effectiveness of BRI projects, and whether they will be of benefit to the Kazakhstani people or only create a debt burden for future generations, will thus only play out in the long run. As a BRI front-runner, Kazakhstan provides some early insights into the ways in which the BRI interacts with geopolitics and local politics though. The Kazakhstani case illustrates that the success of the BRI has more to do with the country and its domestic political structures than China per se. Kazakhstan, a wealthy state with some institutional capacity to negotiate, design and assess projects, has been able to assume ownership of the BRI to some extent. In smaller states in Central Asia, China’s leverage is overwhelming. Whenever possible, Kazakhstan diversified donors, including multilateral development banks. However, the lack of transparency surrounding BRI projects in Kazakhstan increased distrust both of Chinese intentions and of local elites’ interests. Calling all projects ‘perfect’, as the Kazakhstani government tends to do, without providing respective data or without even assessing them, will hamper the effective adaptation of projects according to needs. Other countries with institutional and financial capacities like Kazakhstan may follow its diversification of funds, though they would be advised to avoid the BRI being designed as opaque and serving elite interests.

By Benno Zogg for CSS (Switzerland), original published in September 2019,

China, Pacific

24.01.2022

Digital Silk Road enables full use of physical BRI

Recently I spoke at the Belt and Road Trade and Investment forum in Beijing organised by China Chamber of International Commerce. My focus was on the way the digital silk road and the Belt and Road Initiative enables communities to expand and join the 21st century economy. These communities include...

Recently I spoke at the Belt and Road Trade and Investment forum in Beijing organised by China Chamber of International Commerce. My focus was on the way the digital silk road and the Belt and Road Initiative enables communities to expand and join the 21st century economy. These communities include...

24.01.2022

China looks back and forth on its economic development

China's gross domestic product reached 114.37 trillion yuan ($18 trillion) in 2021, an increase of 8.1 percent on a yearly basis, according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. Economists, experts, and analysts all said this performance beats expectations, especially amid the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic around...

China's gross domestic product reached 114.37 trillion yuan ($18 trillion) in 2021, an increase of 8.1 percent on a yearly basis, according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. Economists, experts, and analysts all said this performance beats expectations, especially amid the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic around...

24.01.2022

East China province sees robust trade with B&R countries

East China's Shandong province saw robust growth in its foreign trade with countries and regions along the Belt and Road in 2021, local authorities said.

The trade rose by 40.8 percent year-on-year to about 937.6 billion yuan ($147.6 billion) last year, accounting for 32 percent of the province's total foreign trade,...

East China's Shandong province saw robust growth in its foreign trade with countries and regions along the Belt and Road in 2021, local authorities said.

The trade rose by 40.8 percent year-on-year to about 937.6 billion yuan ($147.6 billion) last year, accounting for 32 percent of the province's total foreign trade,...

24.01.2022

China's central SOEs report record revenues, profits in 2021

China's centrally-administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs) registered their best performance ever in 2021, with record-setting revenues and profits, despite lingering impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official data released Wednesday.

Net profits of central SOEs went up 29.8 percent from a year ago to hit 1.8 trillion yuan ($282.81 billion) last...

China's centrally-administered State-owned enterprises (SOEs) registered their best performance ever in 2021, with record-setting revenues and profits, despite lingering impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official data released Wednesday.

Net profits of central SOEs went up 29.8 percent from a year ago to hit 1.8 trillion yuan ($282.81 billion) last...

24.01.2022

China presents plan to improve transportation networks by 2025

China has unveiled a plan outlining major targets for transportation network development in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

High-speed railways will stretch to a total length of 50,000 kilometers in 2025, up from 38,000 kilometers in 2020, and 250-km ones are expected to cover 95 percent of cities with populations...

China has unveiled a plan outlining major targets for transportation network development in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

High-speed railways will stretch to a total length of 50,000 kilometers in 2025, up from 38,000 kilometers in 2020, and 250-km ones are expected to cover 95 percent of cities with populations...

24.01.2022

China's power use surges 10.3% in 2021

China's electricity consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, went up 10.3 percent year-on-year in 2021, as the country's economy ended the year with a strong rebound despite sporadic epidemic resurgences.

Total power use in China reached 8.31 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2021, data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) showed....

China's electricity consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, went up 10.3 percent year-on-year in 2021, as the country's economy ended the year with a strong rebound despite sporadic epidemic resurgences.

Total power use in China reached 8.31 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2021, data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) showed....

24.01.2022

China to facilitate joint development of domestic and foreign trade

China's State Council has recently issued a document on the promotion of the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade to facilitate a dual circulation and a better connectivity of domestic and foreign trade.

The document came in response to a growing need for promoting a unified national market and a...

China's State Council has recently issued a document on the promotion of the integrated development of domestic and foreign trade to facilitate a dual circulation and a better connectivity of domestic and foreign trade.

The document came in response to a growing need for promoting a unified national market and a...

24.01.2022

China's outstanding yuan funds for forex rise in December

China's outstanding yuan funds for foreign exchange expanded month on month at the end of December 2021, the central bank data showed on Monday.

The funds stood at nearly 21.29 trillion yuan ($3.35 trillion) at the end of December, up 25.78 billion yuan from the previous month, according to the People's...

China's outstanding yuan funds for foreign exchange expanded month on month at the end of December 2021, the central bank data showed on Monday.

The funds stood at nearly 21.29 trillion yuan ($3.35 trillion) at the end of December, up 25.78 billion yuan from the previous month, according to the People's...

24.01.2022

China’s central bank to open monetary policy toolbox wider

China will open its monetary policy toolbox wider to maintain the stability of total credit, Liu Guoqiang, a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, said on Tuesday, vowing to roll out more pro-stability policies until the downward pressure on the economy is fundamentally...

China will open its monetary policy toolbox wider to maintain the stability of total credit, Liu Guoqiang, a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, said on Tuesday, vowing to roll out more pro-stability policies until the downward pressure on the economy is fundamentally...

24.01.2022

China moves swiftly to expedite infrastructure projects

China's central and local governments are expediting the rollout of major infrastructure projects as the country faces growing downward economic pressure, with the country's top economic planning agency announcing on Tuesday that it will moderately front-load infrastructure investment and steadily push forward the 102 mega projects earmarked for the 14th...

China's central and local governments are expediting the rollout of major infrastructure projects as the country faces growing downward economic pressure, with the country's top economic planning agency announcing on Tuesday that it will moderately front-load infrastructure investment and steadily push forward the 102 mega projects earmarked for the 14th...

24.01.2022

China stock markets keep retreating with yuan on the rise

China stocks fell on Wednesday, dragged down by electric vehicle makers and healthcare firms as investors booked profits, while worries over a slowing economy also weighed on market sentiment. At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.29% at 3,559.69 and China's blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.58%....

China stocks fell on Wednesday, dragged down by electric vehicle makers and healthcare firms as investors booked profits, while worries over a slowing economy also weighed on market sentiment. At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.29% at 3,559.69 and China's blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.58%....

24.01.2022

Signs point to strong resilience of China's economy

China's economy enjoys strong resilience with positive fundamentals remaining unchanged despite downside pressure, and more efforts will be made to keep economic operations within a reasonable range, experts said on Tuesday.

Wang Yiming, a senior economist and a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,...

China's economy enjoys strong resilience with positive fundamentals remaining unchanged despite downside pressure, and more efforts will be made to keep economic operations within a reasonable range, experts said on Tuesday.

Wang Yiming, a senior economist and a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,...

Eurasia

24.01.2022

Kazakhstan key to Eurasia’s China connection

Over the past three decades, Eurasia has begun to reconnect for new economic ties, the restoration of transit infrastructure, as well as the integration of regional states into the global economy. Several models of economic integration in the Eurasian region have been established: the Eurasian Economic Union under the leadership...

Over the past three decades, Eurasia has begun to reconnect for new economic ties, the restoration of transit infrastructure, as well as the integration of regional states into the global economy. Several models of economic integration in the Eurasian region have been established: the Eurasian Economic Union under the leadership...

24.01.2022

China, Russia to develop joint alternative to SWIFT

Russia and China have agreed to develop shared financial structures to deepen economic ties in a way that will not be affected by pressure of third countries. The move will help both countries reduce the threat of the US government’s long-arm jurisdiction based on the US dollar denominated. SWIFT international payment...

Russia and China have agreed to develop shared financial structures to deepen economic ties in a way that will not be affected by pressure of third countries. The move will help both countries reduce the threat of the US government’s long-arm jurisdiction based on the US dollar denominated. SWIFT international payment...

24.01.2022

Trade between China and Central Asian ex-Soviet states increases by over 100 times in 30 years

The trade volume between China and the five Central Asian countries increased by more than 100 times in the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, with the stock of China's direct investment in the five countries exceeding $14 billion, an official from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)...

The trade volume between China and the five Central Asian countries increased by more than 100 times in the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, with the stock of China's direct investment in the five countries exceeding $14 billion, an official from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)...

Europe

24.01.2022

China-EU relations within Belt and Road initiative reviewed

In December, the EU unveiled a new ‘Global Gateway’ project that has been widely viewed as an attempt to challenge the influence of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Catherine Jones assesses what the future might hold for China-EU relations.

Changes are coming thick and fast in relations between China, the EU, and EU...

In December, the EU unveiled a new ‘Global Gateway’ project that has been widely viewed as an attempt to challenge the influence of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Catherine Jones assesses what the future might hold for China-EU relations.

Changes are coming thick and fast in relations between China, the EU, and EU...

24.01.2022

China-EU trade, investment growing rapidly

The scale of bilateral trade and investment between China and the European Union has grown rapidly despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU should continue to stand firm on trade liberalization and multilateralism, thus boosting the confidence of foreign enterprises to continue to invest in the bloc, experts said on Monday.

Although...

The scale of bilateral trade and investment between China and the European Union has grown rapidly despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU should continue to stand firm on trade liberalization and multilateralism, thus boosting the confidence of foreign enterprises to continue to invest in the bloc, experts said on Monday.

Although...

24.01.2022

Greater Bay Area launches China-Europe freight train

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) launched its first cross-border e-commerce China-Europe freight train with special purchases for the 2022 Spring Festival on Tuesday, departing from Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province to Odessa in Ukraine, sharing the Chinese New Year with countries and regions along the route.

The train will reach Odessa...

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) launched its first cross-border e-commerce China-Europe freight train with special purchases for the 2022 Spring Festival on Tuesday, departing from Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province to Odessa in Ukraine, sharing the Chinese New Year with countries and regions along the route.

The train will reach Odessa...

24.01.2022

Airbus signs MoU for first sustainable aircraft lifecycle service center in China

Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the city of Chengdu and Tarmac Aerosave for the development of the first sustainable aircraft "life-cycle" service center in China. 

Market watchers said the project will help strengthen weak links within China's aviation maintenance industry, and establish a more mature aviation maintenance...

Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the city of Chengdu and Tarmac Aerosave for the development of the first sustainable aircraft "life-cycle" service center in China. 

Market watchers said the project will help strengthen weak links within China's aviation maintenance industry, and establish a more mature aviation maintenance...

South Asia, Middle East

24.01.2022

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal need China for their development

It is true that South Asia needs China in its development process because ‘China’ is synonymous with the term “Development”. China’s ambitious project ‘Belt and Road Initiative” provides benefits for almost all South Asian Countries. Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are benefitting from the project directly. 

On the other hand,...

It is true that South Asia needs China in its development process because ‘China’ is synonymous with the term “Development”. China’s ambitious project ‘Belt and Road Initiative” provides benefits for almost all South Asian Countries. Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are benefitting from the project directly. 

On the other hand,...

24.01.2022

China’s Foreign Minister visits Maldives

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the Maldives earlier this month as a follow on from his traditional New Year trip to Africa (report here)

The Maldives are a small, yet strategically important group of islands stretching from the southern tip of India to beyond the equator. Composed of...

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the Maldives earlier this month as a follow on from his traditional New Year trip to Africa (report here)

The Maldives are a small, yet strategically important group of islands stretching from the southern tip of India to beyond the equator. Composed of coral reefs, the...

24.01.2022

China, Kuwait to intensify efforts for five-year cooperation plan

China and Kuwait on Wednesday agreed to strengthen the docking of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Kuwait's Vision 2035 and intensify efforts to make a five-year plan on bilateral cooperation. 

The consensus was reached during talks between Wang Yi, Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, and Sheikh Dr. Ahmed...

China and Kuwait on Wednesday agreed to strengthen the docking of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Kuwait's Vision 2035 and intensify efforts to make a five-year plan on bilateral cooperation. 

The consensus was reached during talks between Wang Yi, Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, and Sheikh Dr. Ahmed...

Africa, Americas

24.01.2022

Chinese insurers look beyond infrastructure risk in Latin America

For over a decade, Chinese insurers have supported Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project development in Latin America, with state-run insurer Sinosure among the first to insure major Chinese infrastructure projects in and exports to Latin America. While Chinese companies remain focused on backing the BRI in the LATAM region,...

For over a decade, Chinese insurers have supported Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project development in Latin America, with state-run insurer Sinosure among the first to insure major Chinese infrastructure projects in and exports to Latin America. While Chinese companies remain focused on backing the BRI in the LATAM region,...

24.01.2022

Flights between China and the US at risk of suspension in February

Flights between China and the US are at risk of being suspended next month, as China's aviation regulator continued to cancel inbound flights to the country due to imported cases of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), China's aviation regulator, announced the suspension of a further eight...

Flights between China and the US are at risk of being suspended next month, as China's aviation regulator continued to cancel inbound flights to the country due to imported cases of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), China's aviation regulator, announced the suspension of a further eight...

Markets

24.01.2022

Greenback holds firm at Sterling’s expense

The US dollar held near a weekly high on Wednesday after a surge in U.S. yields resulted in sharp gains this week against the euro amid growing bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rate.

Sterling was flat against the dollar after data showed British inflation rose 5.4% in...

The US dollar held near a weekly high on Wednesday after a surge in U.S. yields resulted in sharp gains this week against the euro amid growing bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rate.

Sterling was flat against the dollar after data showed British inflation rose 5.4% in December, to...

24.01.2022

Stock markets regain strength after momentary impasse

European shares swung into positive territory at midday on Wednesday as upbeat corporate updates outweighed worries over interest rate rises.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.30% after sharp falls in the previous session Tuesday. US 10-year and five-year Treasury yields held near two-year highs overnight,...

European shares swung into positive territory at midday on Wednesday as upbeat corporate updates outweighed worries over interest rate rises.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.30% after sharp falls in the previous session Tuesday. US 10-year and five-year Treasury yields held near two-year highs overnight, while global tech stocks were sold...

24.01.2022

Brent retreats, loss capped by persistent supply concerns

Oil prices slipped back on Thursday after hitting their highest levels since 2014 in the previous session on the back of strong demand and short-term supply disruptions, underlying factors that limited losses as investors took profits.

Brent crude futures dropped 72 cents, or 0.81%, to $87.72 a barrel, as...

Oil prices slipped back on Thursday after hitting their highest levels since 2014 in the previous session on the back of strong demand and short-term supply disruptions, underlying factors that limited losses as investors took profits.

Brent crude futures dropped 72 cents, or 0.81%, to $87.72 a barrel, as of 0152...

24.01.2022

Eurasia’s natural .gas benchmarks down as Norway re-enters market

British and Dutch gas prices fell on Wednesday morning, weighed down by improving flows of Norwegian gas, strong supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mild weather forecasts.

The British contract for day-ahead delivery was down by 13.50 pence to 176.50 pence per therm, while the March contract was...

British and Dutch gas prices fell on Wednesday morning, weighed down by improving flows of Norwegian gas, strong supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mild weather forecasts.

The British contract for day-ahead delivery was down by 13.50 pence to 176.50 pence per therm, while the March contract was down 20...

24.01.2022

Bullion bounces as paper markets grow wary

Gold edged up on Wednesday, but moves were fairly contained as the market looked to U.S. Federal Reserve's next policy meeting where it is widely expected to raise rates in an attempt to quell surging inflation.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,816.80 per ounce as of 1022 GMT. U.S....

Gold edged up on Wednesday, but moves were fairly contained as the market looked to U.S. Federal Reserve's next policy meeting where it is widely expected to raise rates in an attempt to quell surging inflation.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,816.80 per ounce as of 1022 GMT. U.S. gold futures...

24.01.2022

Non-ferrous base metals ride high on tight supplies

Nickel prices rose on Wednesday and hovered around 11-year highs as a supply shortage forced traders to pay huge premiums to get their hands on metal.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1% at $22,290 a tonne at 1158 GMT after reaching $22,935 on Jan 14.

Used...

Nickel prices rose on Wednesday and hovered around 11-year highs as a supply shortage forced traders to pay huge premiums to get their hands on metal.

Benchmark nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1% at $22,290 a tonne at 1158 GMT after reaching $22,935 on Jan 14.

Used in stainless...

24.01.2022

Bulls dominate US wheat benchmark contract trade

Chicago soybean futures rose for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday, with prices supported by strong demand, although improved weather in South America limited gains.

Wheat rose for a second straight session as cold weather threatened crops in dry parts of the United States. “Global demand for...

Chicago soybean futures rose for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday, with prices supported by strong demand, although improved weather in South America limited gains.

Wheat rose for a second straight session as cold weather threatened crops in dry parts of the United States. “Global demand for agriculture products...