China has lent Pakistan $21.9bn since 2018: report

BEIJING: China has made nearly $26 billion in short and medium-term loans to Pakistan and Sri Lanka over the past five years as its overseas lending shifts from funding infrastructure toward providing emergency relief, Bloomberg reported.

Data showing the shift in China’s $900 billion Belt and Road Initiative to loans aimed at easing foreign currency shortages since 2018 was compiled by AidData, a research lab at William and Mary, a university in the US.

China has “pivoted in a significant way away from project lending and toward balance of payment lending, doing emergency rescue lending,” said Brad Parks, AidData’s executive director.

State-owned Chinese banks have lent $21.9 billion in short-term loans to Pakistan’s central bank since July 2018, while Sri Lanka received $3.8 billion of mostly medium-term lending since October 2018, according to figures compiled by AidData, based on official documents and media reports.