Saudi Arabia plans to build Pakistan's largest oil refinery near Gwadar port, the flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The oil refinery, part of Saudi Arabia's new commitment to invest $15 billion in Pakistan over the next three years, could fuel competition with Beijing for economic leverage given China's significant investment there under CPEC, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
India's largest engineering and construction company reported a better-than-expected 37% jump in third-quarter net profit, helped by a pickup in revenue growth after India's federal budget increased the spending allocation toward infrastructure.
With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history of how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. It shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
Chinese investment in railways is expected to rise by about 6 percent year-over-year to $125 billion in 2019, part of a stimulus plan to shore up China’s lagging economy. China Railway, which manages the country’s rail-sector, expects to build 6,800km in new rail tracks this year, a 45 percent increase in construction over 2018.
In his first international trip of the year, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison visited Vanuatu to pledge high-quality infrastructure investments and economic development just weeks after China signed a deal to forgive $2.87 million of the country's debt and provide fresh financing for road upgrades.
Pakistan is asking China to shift its investment focus from power and infrastructure projects to industrialization, agriculture, and education as regards the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China's state planner has approved inter-city railway projects in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui, with a combined total investment value of $33.82 billion and a total length of 1,063 km.
Data shows that between 2014 and 2017, the cumulative value of construction contracts has been 50 percent higher for Belt and Road projects, at $230 billion, than for unrelated deals, which amounted to $148 billion, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
The power generating arm of Thailand's oldest industrial group, B. Grimm, has issued 5 billion baht ($152 million) in "green bonds" to raise funds for further investment in its renewable energy business, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
A Japan-led consortium is set to abandon a Turkish nuclear power project that had been touted as a model for Tokyo's export of infrastructure. The delayed project's construction costs have doubled to around $44 billion, making it difficult for lead builder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and its partners to continue with the plans.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit that he will soon be finalizing an initial investment in India's National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to help accelerate the building of ports, highways and other projects, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
On his trip to Asia, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will play up Washington's efforts to boost infrastructure investment in the region at a time when China is doing the same with its Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Australia will set up a $1.46 billion infrastructure fund for projects in the Pacific as the country looks to curb China's rising influence across the strategically important islands, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
A recently opened express railway between Hong Kong and mainland China has drastically cut travel times, but has experienced less demand in commuters and tourists as initially anticipated, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the state-owned marine transporter known as Vinalines, won approval recently to build two large container terminals at Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in a $302 million project.
Chinese capital flowing into the Belt and Road Initiative projects surged to a record $20.1 billion in 2017, even as the country's overall outbound foreign direct investment fell. That record will likely be beaten again this year, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation overhauling the way the federal government lends money for foreign development, creating a $60 billion agency intended largely to respond to China's growing influence, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
India's largest infrastructure financing company, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, was recently taken over by a government-backed board to address a series of loan defaults that raises questions over the country's infrastructure development.
Saudi Arabia has shelved a $200 billion plan to build a 200GW solar farm with Japan's SoftBank Group.
Five years since it was announced, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has yet to materialize on the ground as promised. According to Chinese officials, the BRI includes six economic corridors that will carry goods, people, and data across the Eurasian supercontinent. But a statistical analysis of 173 infrastructure projects finds that Chinese investment is just as likely to go outside those corridors as within them.
Thailand is welcoming 500 Chinese companies over the weekend and is expecting to sign more than a dozen bilateral contracts that will link its Eastern Economic Corridor to China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has leveraged infrastructure to promote pro-growth economic policies. However, Widodo may need to make trade-offs between growth and economic stability amid an uncertain economic outlook as the April 2019 elections approach, writes the Nikkei Asian Review.
The Chinese Communist Party's Politburo decided to implement a "proactive fiscal policy" and expand infrastructure investment with the goal of supporting economic growth as the effect of U.S. tariffs begin to kick in.
The United States announced a $113 million package aimed at developing the Indo-Pacific region's digital economy, energy sector, and infrastructure.
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.