Behind China’s trillion-dollar effort to build a modern Silk Road is a lending program of unprecedented breadth, one that will help build ports, roads and rail links, but could also leave some banks and many countries with quite a hangover, according to Reuters. At the heart of the financing program are China Development Bank (CDB) and Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), which have between them already provided $200 billion in loans throughout Asia, the Middle East and even Africa. They are due to extend at least $55 billion more. Thanks to cheaper funding, CDB and EXIM have helped to unblock what Chinese president Xi Jinping on Sunday called a ‘prominent challenge’ to the Silk Road: the funding bottleneck. But as the Belt and Road project grows, so do the risks to policy banks, commercial lenders and borrowers, all of whom are tangled in projects with questionable business logic, bankers and analysts say.
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