China's Belt and Road investments since 2013 total $60 billion: state planner

China's President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat (not pictured) ahead of the upcoming Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee -

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese investments related to its Belt and Road initiative have totaled $60 billion since 2013 and a large portion of outbound investment in the future will go to countries involved in the project, a state planning agency official said on Friday.

Ning Jizhe, a vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference in Beijing ahead of a forum on the program that China’s total outbound investment will reach $120 billion to $130 billion a year over the next five years.

That would amount to $600 billion to $800 billion in total, Ning said, adding “this will be a big driving force for a steady recovery in the global economy and free trade and investment”.

Ning’s estimate for China’s annual outbound investment would be a decline from last year’s $170 billion.

Beijing is promoting outbound investment in Belt and Road projects - an ambitious initiative to boost links between Asia, Africa and Europe - but has also cracked down on what it calls “irrational” investments. A curtailing of such outflows has led overall outbound direct investment from China to fall by 49 percent in the first quarter.

Scrutiny of outbound investments by Chinese regulators will not affect Belt and Road projects, Ning said.

On financing, Ning said China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China have extended $110 billion in loans for Belt and Road projects by the end of 2016, and China has signed currency swap deals with countries involved in the plan totaling 900 billion yuan.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Writing by Elias Glenn; Editing by Jacqueline Wong