US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road
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Updated 26 June 2022

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

US aims to raise $200bn as part of G7 rival to China’s Belt & Road

WASHINGTON: The US aims to raise $200 billion in private and public funds over five years to fund needed infrastructure in developing countries under a G7 initiative aimed at countering China’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road project, the White House said on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden will unveil the plans, flanked by other Group of Seven leaders, some of whom have already unveiled their own separate initiatives, at their annual gathering being held this year at Schloss Elmau in southern Germany.

Partnership
Increasingly worried about China, G7 leaders first floated plans for the project last year, and are formally launching it now under a fresh title, “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” while dropping the moniker “Build Back Better World” first coined by Biden during his presidential campaign.
Biden will unveil several specific projects at a G7 side event, joined by leaders from Britain, Germany, Japan, the European Union and Canada, vowing to focus on projects that help tackle climate change as well as improve global health, gender equity and digital infrastructure. Notably absent will be French President Emmanual Macron who had formally joined the Chinese infrastructure program.
“The president’s not thinking that we need to spend dollar for dollar versus China ... though if you add up what the US and the G7 partners are going to be announcing, it comes pretty close to the number,” one senior US official told reporters.
The funds would be raised through grants and federal funds, and by leveraging private-sector investments, the White House said, adding that hundreds of billions of additional dollars could come from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, sovereign wealth funds and others.

BRI scheme
China’s Belt and Road Initiative scheme, which Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013, involves development and investment initiatives in over 100 countries, with a range of projects including railways, ports and highways.
White House officials say Xi’s plan to create a modern version of the ancient Silk Road trade route has provided little tangible benefit for many developing countries, with top jobs going to Chinese workers, while increasing rates of forced and child labor.
Biden will highlight several flagship projects, including a $2 billion solar development project in Angola with support from the Commerce Department, the US Export-Import Bank, US firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer, and US project developer Sun Africa.
Together with G7 members and the EU, Washington will also provide $3.3 million in technical assistance to Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal as it develops an industrial-scale flexible multi-vaccine manufacturing facility in that country that can eventually produce COVID-19 and other vaccines.

Childcare Incentive Fund
The US Agency for International Development will also commit up to $50 million over five years to the World Bank’s new global Childcare Incentive Fund, a project aimed at address the gap in suitable childcare infrastructure.


SoftBank to book $34bn gain by cutting Alibaba stake to 14.6%

SoftBank to book $34bn gain by cutting Alibaba stake to 14.6%
Updated 12 sec ago

SoftBank to book $34bn gain by cutting Alibaba stake to 14.6%

SoftBank to book $34bn gain by cutting Alibaba stake to 14.6%

TOKYO: SoftBank Group Corp. on Wednesday said it will book an estimated gain of 4.6 trillion yen ($34.08 billion) on settling prepaid forward contracts using shares in Alibaba Group Holding, reducing its stake to 14.6 percent from 23.7 percent.

SoftBank on Monday booked a record quarterly net loss due to sliding valuations at its Vision Fund investment arm, with Chief Executive Masayoshi Son pledging to further reduce investment activity and cut costs.

The estimated gain announced on Wednesday includes 2.4 trillion yen from the revaluation of shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant and a derivative gain of 0.7 trillion yen, SoftBank said in a filing.

The transaction “will be able to eliminate concerns about future cash outflows, and furthermore, reduce costs associated with these prepaid forward contracts,” SoftBank said.

“These will further strengthen our defense against the severe market environment,” SoftBank added.

Son bought into Alibaba for $20 million in 2000 and the Chinese company’s growth that made it one of the world’s biggest e-commerce companies helped to burnish his tech investor credentials.

But Alibaba has lost more than two thirds of its value from highs in late 2020, hit by Beijing’s crackdown on the tech sector and its scrutiny of founder Jack Ma.

The SoftBank transaction is not expected to result in additional sales of Alibaba shares on the market as the shares were hedged at the time of the original monetization, SoftBank said.

Ties between the two companies have weakened, with Ma leaving SoftBank’s board in 2020 and Son stepping down from Alibaba’s board the same year.

The Japanese billionaire, who has also bet on ventures such as ridehailer Didi Global, has sought to emphasize the decreasing size of China tech in his portfolio as market turmoil has hit valuations and US-China tensions have increased.


Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister
Updated 10 min 41 sec ago

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

Saudi Arabia implemented over 600 reforms to improve business environment, says deputy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has implemented over 600 structural and legislative reforms that contributed to accelerating and improving the country’s business environment, deputy minister at the Ministry of Investment told CNBC Arabia. 

Saad Al-Shahrani said (the reforms) included facilitating the procedures for issuing investment licenses, whether from inside or outside the Kingdom.

He noted that a total of 150 deals, valued at SR19 billion ($5 billion), were signed during the first half of 2022, reflecting the attractiveness of Saudi Arabia for investors. 

This comes as part of the ministry’s efforts to enhance the Kingdom’s competitiveness as a regional business hub through a series of incentives and initiatives, Al-Shahrani added. 


Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley
Updated 13 min 41 sec ago

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

Saudi agricultural fund signs $40m deal to finance import of 130K tons of barley

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Agricultural Development Fund has signed a SR150 million ($39.8 million) contract to finance the import of around 130,000 tons of barley.

It is part of the fund’s initiative to finance the import of agricultural products, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

The fund aims to enhance the strategic stock of agricultural products and compensate for any agricultural commodities’ supply shortages, as well as ensuring the stability of food supply chains.


Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO
Updated 22 min 49 sec ago

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

Saudi healthcare provider Naba Alsaha reports 24% profit growth ahead of IPO

RIYADH: Naba Alsaha Medical Services Co. has posted 24 percent profit growth for the first half of 2022, ahead of an initial public offering on Saudi Arabia’s stock market.

This was coupled with a year-on-year revenue jump of 13 percent, CEO Nathir Al-Jishi told Argaam.

The executive noted that Naba Alsaha will open a new pharmacy in Riyadh, adding that it’s studying opening new branches in other neighborhoods.

The company is also looking to expand in non-medical operation segments by providing medical maintenance services as well as cleaning healthcare facilities and complexes, Al-Jishi said.

This comes amid plans to float 1.4 million shares on Saudi Exchange’s parallel market. With an IPO price of SR57 ($15), the subscription period is currently in progress and will end on Aug. 14.


Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 
Updated 38 min 40 sec ago

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

Green bond sales drop 19-month low to $24bn amidst tight issuance windows: Bloomberg 

RIYADH: Global sales of green bonds, the largest category of sustainable debt by amount issued, fell to a 19-month low in July. 

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, green bond sales fell to about $24 billion in July from more than $45 billion the previous month. 

This is the lowest since December 2020, when companies and governments issued about $7.7 billion in green debt.

This happened as opportunistic borrowers have also preferred traditional bond offerings that are faster to complete, Bloomberg reported. 

This is also because July, August and December are historically considered the slowest issuance months for green bonds.