Asia and the Pacific have made great strides in deveopment over the past 50 years, however much remains to be done. Issues such as poverty and vulnerability, rising inequality, climate change, growing environmental pressures, and large infrastructure deficits remain to be addressed while merging trends, such as technological advancements, urbanization, and changing demographics, present opportunities and challenges
Concerns are being raised that China's port infrastructure push may be setting up debt traps, by lending money with a hidden goal of controlling the ports and turning them into military bases, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
This Friday China will gather 16 Central and Eastern European countries in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the annual China-Central and Eastern European "16+1" summit. As the gathering may help China build a bigger economic and political presence in Europe and exercise its power bilaterally under the cover of a multilateral veneer, it warrants more attention from Brussels and Washington.
Although operating on a smaller scale than the Asian Development Bank, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is steadily increasing its presence as a multilateral institution focused on infrastructure development financing. The AIIB set a lending and investment target of $3.5 billion for 2018, 40 percent more than last year.
"China has lavished investment pledges on Balkan states as it prepares for a summit with 16 EU countries and aspiring members, stoking fears in Brussels and influential national capitals of an effort to divide the bloc" reports the Financial Times, citing data collected in collaboration with the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project.
Growth in China's investment faltered last month as the government strengthened its crackdown on shady off-books financing, drying up funding for infrastructure. A clear drop in infrastructure spending led the decline with year-on-year improvement in this category falling three points in the past year.
To control soaring local debt, China is slowing down its domestic infrastructure spending which grew at a more moderate pace of 12.4 during the January – April period compared to 20 percent in previous years.
Japan's businesses were approved to devote a record $1.47 billion to Myanmar in this fiscal year, including investments in infrastructure.
Sovereign wealth funds have increased their asset holdings to an all-time global high.
India's International North-South Transport Corridor involves India's investments in Iran, such as the Chabahar Port and the planned rail project from Chabahar to the Iranian city of Zahedan. The 7,000 kilometer corridor, which has been called an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, will bypass Pakistan and connect India with Russia, potentially transforming Eurasian trade.
Since 2012, China has held an annual "16 plus one" forum on economic cooperation with 16 Eastern European states and has pledged to invest a total of $15 billion in infrastructure improvements so far.
Quotes and Quotas is a digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
As part of the push to improve infrastructure connectivity throughout Asia, China will develop a 750-acre logistics park in Bangladesh, adding to the nearly $10 billion Chinese investment in the country.
Japan is the leading infrastructure investor in the Philippines despite significant commitments from China. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Japan outspent China on infrastructure by a factor of nearly 20:1 during Duterte’s first year in office while Chinese investment has largely gone to industries such as tourism, real estate, casinos, and mineral resources.
Private investment is not enough to close Asia's infrastructure gap and public funding is crucial to tackle the continent’s infrastructure shortages, according to Tokyo-based journalist Anthony Rowley.
Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist. Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese cities with 34 European cities. But despite their rapid advances, these lines must compete with maritime routes that have dominated commerce between Asia and Europe since the late fifteenth century. It remains to be seen how much trade they can capture.
Robust international demand, especially from China, is expected to fuel Japanese manufacturing of construction machinery, robots, and machine tools in 2018.
Thai deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak seeks investment to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor, including channeling more than $45 billion into infrastructure projects ranging from airports and ports to highways and roads.
Thailand's parliament has approved a much-awaited law regarding the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor, series of economic zones the government hopes will attract $9.4 billion of new investment in 2018.
San Miguel, the Philippines' largest listed company by revenue, has earmarked $13.6 billion to expand its investments in multiple sectors including power and transport infrastructure.
An uptick in lending for Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Indonesia led China to overtake Japan as the country’s second largest foreign investor in 2017.
Since 2009 ASEAN entities have issued $1.85 billion worth of green bonds, many of which fund infrastructure developments such as Warisan Merdeka Tower in Kuala Lumpur.
Mitsubishi Corporation has launched one of the largest infrastructure funds in Japan to bolster its investments in domestic infrastructure.
India and Japan's joint vision for an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) could provide a strategic platform to compete with China, however, the plan currently lacks detail and will need to demonstrate commitment and the ability to deliver on both quality and speed.
Data released by the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics reveals that China's heavy infrastructure investment leading up to the Communist Party National Congress last October had its intended effect of boosting annual economic growth.
China is increasingly turning to the corporate bond market to fund its Belt and Road Initiative.
Cambodia and China signed 19 aid and investment pacts on Thursday including deals for several infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure investment remains a primary driver of Indonesia's economic growth, leaving the economy more interconnected than ever before.
There has to be a balance between funding any project that a government politician thinks is a good project versus a very long drawn out review process that could take up to a decade. Somewhere in between, there is something that’s long-term economically valuable.
New projections show India's economy becoming third largest in the world, with other major ASEAN nations surging forward to propel Asian economic growth.
The Japanese government intends to help finance projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The political damage Chinese investment in the CEE has created for the EU is already visible in its inability to act cohesively vis-à-vis China on trademark foreign policy issues, namely upholding the international rule of law and protecting human rights.
Chinese investments in Central and Eastern Europe are raising concerns about transparency and accountability, but for now, the risks are relatively manageable given the modest scope of investment.
Beijing’s star is rising in central and eastern European nations,” reports the Financial Times
State-owned enterprises are shouldering much of the risk for the $355 billion infrastructure drive in Indonesia.
The magnitude of the Balkan Silk Road project poses a mixture of opportunities and policy challenges for countries engaging in or seeking to benefit from its implementation.
Tokyo eyes increased infrastructure exports by catering to borrowers' needs.
Japan agrees to lend Indonesia $1bn to develop the Patimban Port.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo is seeking to fund 247 infrastructure projects worth $355 billion b
As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to begin a second five-year term, the 6.8 percent expansion of China's economy, largely driven by public investment in infrastructure projects, has put economic growth ahead of official targets.
Foreign investors are increasingly watchful over the investment climate in the Philippines
Australia's NAB Asset Management is preparing to bring a property- and infrastructure-focused investment product to the Japanese market, with shares in electric utilities, railroad operators and other infrastructure-related companies accounting for a substantial proportion. The new fund could top out at $35 billion.
A fifty-nation infrastructure report reveals that Myanmar has the biggest gap between projected infrastructure investment and expected needs (an estimated $112 billion).
Annual mergers and acquisitions conference, held this past weekend in Hong Kong, reveals Chinese firms’ plans to beef up investments in markets targeted by the Belt and Road Initiative.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.