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Chinese banks in Singapore keep supporting BRI, despite COVID-19

October 22, 2020


Abstract : Chinese banks in Singapore have continuously supported the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), despite of the impact of Singaporean government's containment measures, such as closure of workplace premises.

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A rainbow appears in the sky above Singapore's Marina Bay on Aug. 24, 2020. (Photo by Then Chih Wey/Xinhua)

SINGAPORE, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese banks in Singapore have continuously supported the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), despite of the impact of Singaporean government's containment measures, such as closure of workplace premises.

Singapore is now preparing for the Phase Three of its reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of new cases in community stood at only four in the past week. 

Under such circumstances, the Bank of China Singapore Branch (BOC Singapore Branch) told Xinhua it added nearly 2.2 billion U.S .dollars in BRI project-related financing in the first nine months of 2020. By the end of September, the branch had accumulated 24 billion U.S. dollars in financing for BRI projects, led and initiated 73.5 billion U.S. dollars in syndicated projects, and raised about 14.4 billion dollars by issuing bonds for BRI projects and relevant enterprises and institutions.

The branch said it is closely monitoring the construction progress of BRI projects, to support reasonable changes in contract conditions for the customers who temporarily shut down the projects, and to make adequate preparations for the after-resumption capital needs of the projects.

As some projects under construction in Southeast Asia are gradually resuming work, the branch has disbursed loans for a telecom project in the Philippines and a power station project in Vietnam, with the amount of more than 200 million U.S. dollars in total. 

Apart from the BOC Singapore Branch, other Chinese banks in Singapore are also making efforts to promote the implementation of the BRI projects. 

For example, Agricultural Bank of China Limited, Singapore Branch (ABC Singapore Branch), established in 1995, also has been actively supporting the BRI, while strictly complying with the Singapore government's containment measures amid the pandemic, despite the significant challenges presented by these measures and the pandemic.

In the first nine months of this year, ABC Singapore Branch recorded new loans and trade finance transactions amounting to about 3 billion U.S. dollars, and the volume of settlements reached about 6 billion U.S. dollars. These transactions are closely related to industries such as food and energy, which are the backbone of the national economy and people's livelihoods. 

In addition, ABC Singapore Branch also supported other major industries such as aviation and environmental protection. Therefore, the efforts of ABC Singapore Branch are effective support towards the post-pandemic recovery and rebuilding of industrial and supply chain.

With 25 years of presence in the local banking industry, ABC Singapore Branch has been striving to practice green finance. Amongst the Chinese banks in Singapore, ABC Singapore Branch took the lead in green finance by launching a 200 million U.S. dollars green loan through the "Sustainable Financing Framework", with all the funds raised utilized towards environmental-protection and green enterprises projects in Southeast Asia that meet sustainable development standards.

ABC Singapore Branch told Xinhua it has been preparing for the difficulties caused by regular epidemic control, and will make unremitting efforts to actively explore ways to effectively serve the Belt and Road development in the new era.

The Singapore Branch of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank Singapore Branch) has carried out business discussions with 15 enterprises from Belt and Road countries since the beginning of 2020. 

By the end of this September, 16 projects had been launched within this year, with a total contract value of 735 million U.S. dollars. They are related to seven syndicated loans, four bilateral loans, three trade financing, one bond underwriting and one bond investment. SPD Bank Singapore Branch said it will continue to push forward the implementation of BRI projects, as the pandemic continues to be contained. (Contributed by Li Xiaoyu, edited by Hu Pingchao with Xinhua Silk Road, hupingchao@xinhua.org)

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Keyword: banking China-Singapore BRI Belt and Road

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