In the last twelve months, Citi has seen its revenues from clients across the Belt and Road (BR) corridors, specifically the Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East regions, increase by 30%, the bank announced on April 18. The growth has come from increased corporate and investment banking, cash management, trade, foreign exchange and other flow business as the bank increased its market share with an increase in client activity. Strong growth has come from clients in the tech, financial and energy industries.
A combination of supporting global multinationals and banking Chinese corporates across the BR has underpinned this growth. Major projects include Indonesia PT Lestari Banten Energi’s US$775 million project bond, Naspers US$2.5 billion syndicated loan and Bank of China’s US$3.8 billion Belt and Road bond which were issued last week.
Chinese enterprises invested over US$15 billion in 56 countries along the BRI, according to figures from China’s commerce ministry. Trade between China and these countries reached US$1.3 trillion in 2018, up 16.3% from the year before. In March this year, Italy endorsed the BRI, become the first major Western power to back the initiative.
“Citi has been facilitating trade, investment and promoting economic progress across the Belt and Road for over 100 years – Citi’s network strategy predates the Belt and Road. We are seeing an increased demand for banking services as more of our global clients increasingly identify and invest in opportunities across the Belt and Road,” said Beibei Li, Citi’s global head of Belt and Road.
Citi says it has a physical presence in over half of the recognized Belt and Road markets where it supports over 3,500 corporate clients. Citi also says it provides services to 90% of Fortune 500 companies operating in BR markets.