China policy banks slash overseas energy finance to zero in 2021 - research
SHANGHAI, March 15 (Reuters) - China's two main trade policy banks made no new overseas energy finance commitments in 2021, a first for this century and a sign that Beijing's pledge to stop investing in foreign coal plants is already in effect, new research showed on Tuesday.
The shift was highlighted in a new study of China Development Bank (CDB) and the Export-Import Bank of China (CHEXIM) project commitments last year by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to end his country's support for new overseas coal power plants during a video address to the United Nations General Assembly last September.
"It is a dramatic drop, but ultimately not surprising, given the persisting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, narrowing borrowing capacities in developing countries and the global trend towards phasing out coal," said Cecilia Han Springer, Assistant Director of the centre's Global China Initiative.
The two banks had issued a total of $234.6 billion in loans to foreign governments and associated energy sector entities since the year 2000, including $75.1 billion since 2016 alone, far exceeding total energy sector lending by the World Bank over the period.
They did not respond to faxed and emailed requests for comment.
Han Springer said the figure could rebound after 2021, saying there was a major opportunity to invest in global clean energy infrastructure.
President Xi's pledge meant that 99% of global development financing was now committed to the transition to clean energy, Boston University said in a previous study. read more
However, it was unclear whether his vow would also lead to the cancellation of projects already in the pipeline.
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