Belt and Road Weekly Investor Intelligence #92
A lot of Eurasian activity this past week as Russia, looking for new clients, also steps up its regional trade, investment and security activities throughout the BRI countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. We look at where bolting onto new infrastructure in Laos and Malaysia may yield dividends for interested foreign investors, and how China is expanding its share of Russia’s consumer banking.
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Pakistan’s energy consumer market is a population of 221 million with massive CPEC industrialization programmes underway creating huge future demands.
Support will be provided by Beijing to two intersecting Trans Afghanistan railway lines from Uzbekistan and Iran to Pakistan.
Bishkek is developing as a Central Asian ecommerce hub, as China is making plans to increase imports of products from Kyrgyzstan, following trade discussions during the 15th meeting of the intergovernmental Kyrgyz-Chinese commission on trade and economic cooperation last week.
Uzbekistan’s foreign trade turnover with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries amounted to US$7 billion from January through June 2022, according to the Uzbek State Statistics Committee. The EAEU countries include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. During H1 2022, Uzbek exports of goods and services to the EAEU amounted to US$2.4 billion, while imports reached US$4.6 billion.
As Moscow and Washington prepare to face off over ASEAN, the stakes are high for both. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister will take part in several meetings with ASEAN which will be held in Cambodia from Thursday (August 4). The annual ASEAN summit is being held a week later.
Laos has been a consistent recipient of Chinese investment for some time. But its position as a landlocked country creates its own set of trade development difficulties. The policy has been to turn the country into a ‘land-linked’ nation, which is being achieved with some spectacular results by the introduction of significant rail infrastructure and routes connecting Laos both to southwest China but also through Vietnam and Thailand. Consequently, light manufacturing zones are springing up while the tourism industry is booming.
Following where China has been spending and investing its Belt & Road Initiative capital can provide FDI clues and reveal new opportunities in recipient countries. As infrastructure builds start to yield productive user cashflows and the need for subsequent support services arises, case studies for investment potential become apparent. In this article we examine where China has spent its money and where returns on investment exist for foreign investors in Malaysia.
The renewable energy sector in Vietnam is one of the most vibrant in Southeast Asia with high demand and significant potential thanks to the country’s abundant offshore wind sources as well as abundant solar sources. Vietnam Briefing sheds light on the recent cooperation between Russia and Vietnam’s energy corporations on the development of a new wind energy project.
Two more of Russia’s largest banks, MKB and DOM.FR, have stated they are preparing to issue Union Pay cards – MKB and DOM.RF, with the facilities expected to be open from early 2023, while eleven Russian banks officially issue such cards, comprising of Russian Standard, MTS Bank, Gazprombank, RSHB, Solidarity, Bank Saint Petersburg, Primsotsbank, RRDB, Primorye, Zenit, Post Bank, while numerous other banks are undergoing approval procedures with Union Pay. Others are also considering the move.
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