China’s Global Energy Financing Decreases 43%

China energy usage data

Continuing the previously reported decline in Chinese policy bank lending, new data shows China’s overseas energy financing decreased by 43% from $8.1 billion in 2019 to $4.6 billion in 2020.

This data is collected as part of the China’s Global Energy Finance Database, an interactive project of Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center.

Big picture:

  • In 2020, China’s Global Energy Finance Database recorded $4.6 billion of overseas energy sector finance provided by China’s two development banks with global operations — the China Development Bank (CDB) and the Export-Import Bank of China (CHEXIM). This is the lowest level since 2008 and represents a decrease of 43% from the $8.1 billion in lending to foreign countries recorded in 2019:

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  • Despite the contraction in energy financing, CDB and CHEXIM still provided approximately the same level of energy finance as the World Bank in 2020.  
  • Energy sector finance provided by these two banks since 2000 now totals $245.8 billion

Zoom in:

  • In 2020, there were 8 loans made to 8 countries, half of them in Africa: Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Lesotho, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Serbia. 
  • More than half of all 2020 lending was for a natural gas pipeline project in Nigeria
  • In terms of regional distribution, lending to African countries remained high; the percentage of loans in South Asia and Southeast Asia remained stable; while lending in Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America decreased in recent years.
  • Finance in the power generation sector is still dominated by hydropower and coal, with the exception of a solar project in Lesotho.
  • $192.5 billion, or 78%, of CDB and CHEXIM’s total overseas energy finance has been directed to BRI countries.
  • The 2020 data includes updates to 31 past entries, see Appendix in the Policy Brief for details.

Dig deeper:

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