China overtook the US as Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner in 2013 and accounted for about 15% of all Saudi imports and exports in 2018. (AP)
China overtook the US as Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner in 2013 and accounted for about 15% of all Saudi imports and exports in 2018. (AP)

Everbright Bank in talks to back $20 billion Saudi-China investment fund

  • China’s Silk Road Fund is separately discussing participating in the China-Saudi investment fund
  • Saudi Industrial Development Fund is also backing the fund that will be use for investments in Saudi Arabia and China

Hong Kong/Shanghai: Everbright Bank Co., the Beijing-based lender, is among the parties in talks to contribute capital to a joint investment fund being set up by China and Saudi Arabia that’s targeting as much as $20 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

China’s state-owned Silk Road Fund is separately discussing participating in the investment vehicle, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The Gulf kingdom’s Saudi Industrial Development Fund is also backing the pool of capital, according to the people.

The joint fund will be used to invest in strategic projects in the two countries, one of the people said. It may first raise a smaller amount in the range of around $14 billion to $16 billion, though the exact size and investors are still being determined, the people said.

China overtook the US as Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner in 2013 and accounted for about 15% of all Saudi imports and exports in 2018. China has previously set up joint investment funds with other nations, including Russia, as it seeks to boost its political clout and revive ancient trading routes under the “One Belt, One Road" project.

The Export-Import Bank of China and Hungarian Export-Import Bank set up a fund in 2013 for investments in central and eastern Europe. In October, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced a $500 million investment in the Russia-China Investment Fund, which targets consumer and infrastructure deals in the two countries.

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