Belt And Road Weekly Investor Intelligence #122
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Compiled by Chris Devonshire-Ellis
Eurasia has been the focus for both China and Russia this past week with significant developments throughout the Eurasian landmass. The Belarus President is in Beijing at this moment discussing Eurasian logistics capabilities from Eastern Europe to Asia, while comments from Roscongress outline the developing Russia-China axis. We also discuss the longer-term implications of China’s “12 Point Peace Plan” for Ukraine as it may impact Chinese foreign policy moving ahead. Elsewhere, India-Russia connectivity continues to develop, this time around the Black Sea, while we discuss the significant impact on Central Asia and Kazakhstan of Russian corporate relocations and the mutual FDI development within the CIS. The Middle East too is moving east with Bahrain investing in the INSTC and Iraq agreeing to trade in RMB Yuan. We finish with an overview of the Armenian-Russia trade within the EAEU.
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Relations between China and Russia are currently determining the economic, political and trade and investment sectors of the two countries, as well as impacting the entire Eurasian continent. Of concern to the West is that this current cooperation model has no peers in world practice. We discuss how the China-Russia relationship is developing.
The Lukashenko-Xi meeting starting Tuesday this week should not just be taken in the context of the Ukraine issue. What is emerging between the two countries is the beginnings of a blueprint that will impact much of Eurasia’s trade from China to the borders of the European Union and introduce a new Chinese initiative across the Eurasian landmass.
Beijing has released a document titled “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis” which contains 12 points for achieving a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia. These are discussed and analytical commentary provided, including implications for China’s future trade and diplomatic policy.
Russia’s Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) has begun a new direct shipping route between Novorossiysk on Russia’s Black Sea Coast and Mumbai on the West coast of India. Mumbai is India’s commercial hub possessing an affluent consumer population in its own right as well as rail and road transport networks to the rest of the country.
A report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has stated that Central Asia will experience the most rapid growth over the coming two years than any other regions. We highlight Kazakhstan as an example of where Russian capital, HR and investments are flowing.
Turkmenistan and Bahrain have signed an MoU and several other agreements related to rail connectivity and other economic and trade development initiatives. The move is significant as Turkmenistan is part of the INSTC Caspian Sea – Central Asian route, while Bahrain is sited west of Qatar and offers access to the Middle East. Routes between the two countries would transit Iran.
Iraq’s Central bank has said that it is planning to allow trade from China to be settled directly in RMB Yuan for the first time, in an attempt to improve access to foreign currency. The Central bank has been taking urgent steps to compensate for a dollar shortage in local markets, which prompted the cabinet to approve a currency revaluation earlier this month.
COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES
In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), mutual Foreign Direct Investment reached US$44.6 billion by mid-2022, according to research from the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB). Russian investors accounted for about 80% of this volume, while Kazakhstan attracted the largest capital amount of investments at US$10.8 billion, or 24.3% of the total.
Russia and Armenia are both members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In this article, we explore the current status of the relationship between the two countries and examine trade and investment trends between them.
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