Supporting Green Private Equity Investments in China
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$200 million loan today to support the establishment of a Green and Low-Carbon Investment Fund, which will help demonstrate best-practice environmental standards and help catalyze private capital and expand the supply of equity financing to green businesses and projects in selected regions of China.
China’s rapid economic growth over the past four decades has been accompanied by extensive environmental degradation and an increase in pollution levels. The transition towards greener growth will require mobilizing large amounts of financing. While China’s financial sector has deepened rapidly in recent years, privately-owned firms and small and medium enterprises often lack access to equity to finance their expansion. These constraints are even greater for green, innovative businesses.
Once established, the national-level Green and Low-Carbon Investment Fund will develop and demonstrate best-practice environmental standards in a China context, and will help catalyze additional private capital from domestic and foreign institutional investors, providing much-needed long-term equity financing to smaller private green innovators and qualified green projects.
“Public capital is at times needed to catalyze private investments, for example where public seed capital can help demonstrate new environmental standards or demonstrate high-risk high-reward investments that help create global public goods. The Fund will not only provide such public seed capital to finance green equity capital, but will also implement best-practice green investment standards, thereby helping set a benchmark for the emerging green private equity market in China” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China, Mongolia and Korea.
The Fund will be independently managed by a competitively selected fund manager, responsible for all investment decisions. The fund manager will follow best practice standards in screening, appraising, monitoring and evaluating green investments and will apply the World Bank’s environmental and social safeguards policies to its entire portfolio.
The project is aligned with the Chinese government’s increased environmental commitments under the 14th Five Year Plan, and China’s commitment to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
The World Bank Group, the largest multilateral funder of climate investments in developing countries, has not financed a new coal-fired power plant since 2010 and has no active coal-fired power generation in its pipeline. The Bank is also supporting countries transitioning from coal for affected communities.
NYP: The US dollar has become an at-risk currency
While a chorus of experts still insists that there’s no alternative to the dollar, this is untrue. The dollar will dominate as long as it serves the interest of those who use it. Once the dollar begins placing assets at risk, alternative tools of commerce are certain to emerge. And they already are, ‘New York Post’ writes with surprise and anxiety.
Make no mistake: a shift away from the dollar would be a huge blow to America’s international standing. The days of being able to print limitless amounts of currency could end, along with our ability to buy foreign goods cheaply.
Stark proof that a new game is afoot filtered out of Davos last month. Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, made the stunning announcement that—for the first time in 48 years — the world’s biggest oil producer was open to trading in currencies other than the US dollar.
That’s a far cry from the deal Richard Nixon cut with King Faisal decades ago to solely accept dollars as payment for oil. (In exchange, Nixon agreed to protect the Kingdom from Soviet, Iranian and Iraqi aggression.) That pact laid the groundwork for a strong dollar as oil money began to flow through the Federal Reserve.
Today, China imports 1.4 million barrels of oil a day from Saudi Arabia (up 39% over the past year), making it the Kingdom’s largest customer. Which is why both sides are seeking cheaper alternatives to using dollars for every transaction. With Aramco investing in a massive new refinery in China, the relationship will only deepen.
The Saudi shift is only the latest data point. At the 2022 BRICS summit in Beijing, Vladimir Putin announced plans to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and develop an alternative for international payments using a currency basket of Chinese RMB yuan, Russian rubles, Indian rupees, Brazilian reals, and South African rand. For reference, the SCO is the world’s largest regional organization, representing 40% of the world’s population and 30% of global GDP.
A new currency is only part of the picture. China is pioneering new exchanges to shift commodity trading from Western institutions like the troubled London Metal Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Even the Europeans have gotten into the act, by creating a special-purpose vehicle — INSTEX — to facilitate non-dollar, non-SWIFT humanitarian transactions with Iran to sidestep U.S. sanctions. Russia, predictably, expressed interest in participating and the first transaction was completed in March 2020 to facilitate a medical equipment sale to Iran to combat COVID.
Russia and Iran are also developing a gold-backed stablecoin, oil traders are already using the UAE’s dirham to settle oil trades and the Indian rupee is finally being positioned as an international currency.
The beat goes on: China’s Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) processes only 15,000 transactions a day — Western-favored CHIPS moves 250,000 daily — but it’s growing. Russia offers its own System for Transfer of Financial Messages to allow users to bypass SWIFT.
Even the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements is getting into the act, creating a renminbi liquidity line to support contributing central banks in times of crisis. So far, the central banks of Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have subscribed.
In the 21st century, a currency’s value — including the dollar — will become increasingly competitive. If there is less demand for dollars, the value of the dollar will decline. Everything will become more expensive. Not all at once, but over time — making deficit spending more costly or, unthinkably, impossible.
It’s not farfetched to imagine the US experiencing a debt crisis because no one shows up to buy its bonds. The US dollar will become just one more currency, among many. And ultimately, if the dollar loses it shine, so will the ability of the US to project power, writes NYP.
SVB fall: This is the financial catastrophe, but it’s just getting started
SVB passed its stress tests with flying colors. It also passed its FDIC examinations, its financial audits, and its state regulatory audits. SVB published its 2022 annual financial report after the market closed on January 19, 2023. This is the same financial report where they posted $15 billion in unrealized losses which effectively wiped out the bank’s capital. The FDIC saw Silicon Valley Bank’s dismal condition and did nothing. The Federal Reserve did nothing. Investors cheered and bid the stock up, writes Sovereign Research and Advisory Group.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, legislators and bank regulators have rolled out an endless parade of new rules to prevent another banking crisis. One of the most hilarious was the new rule that banks had to pass “stress tests”, i.e. war game scenarios to see whether or not banks would be able to survive certain fluctuations in macroeconomic conditions.
…A week ago, everything was still fine. Then, within a matter of days, SVB’s stock price plunged, depositors pulled their money, and the bank failed. Poof.
The same thing happened with Lehman Brothers in 2008. In fact over the past few years we’ve been subjected to example after example of our entire world changing in an instant.
We all remember that March 2020 was still fairly normal, at least in North America. Within a matter of days people were locked in their homes and life as we knew it had fundamentally changed.
This is the financial catastrophe, but it’s just getting started. Like Lehman Brothers in 2008, SVB is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be other casualties– not just in banks, but money market funds, insurance companies, and even businesses.
Foreign banks and institutions are also suffering losses on their US government bonds… and that has negative implications on the US dollar’s reserve status.
Think about it: it’s bad enough that the US national debt is outrageously high, that the federal government appears to be a bunch of fools incapable of solving any problem, and that inflation is terrible.
Why would anyone want to continue with this insanity? Foreigners have already lost so much confidence in the US and the dollar… and financial losses from their bond holdings could accelerate that trend.
This issue is particularly of mind now that China is flexing its international muscle, most recently in the Middle East making peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And the Chinese are starting to actively market their currency as an alternative to the dollar.
But no one in charge seems to understand any of this.
The guy who shakes hands with thin air insisted this morning that the banking system is safe. Nothing to see here, people.
The Federal Reserve – which is the ringleader of this sad circus – doesn’t seem to understand anything either.
Even after last week’s banking crisis, the Fed probably still hasn’t figured it out. They appear totally out of touch with what’s really happening in the economy. And when they meet again next week, it’s possible they’ll raise rates even higher (and trigger even more unrealized losses).
India’s oil deals with Russia dent decades-old dollar dominance
US-led international sanctions on Russia have begun to erode the dollar’s decades-old dominance of international oil trade as most deals with India – Russia’s top outlet for seaborne crude – have been settled in other currencies, informs Reuters.
The dollar’s pre-eminence has periodically been called into question and yet it has continued because of the overwhelming advantages of using the most widely-accepted currency for business.
India’s oil trade, in response to the turmoil of sanctions and the Ukraine war, provides the strongest evidence so far of a shift into other currencies that could prove lasting.
After a coalition opposed to the war imposed an oil price cap on Russia on Dec. 5, Indian customers have paid for most Russian oil in non-dollar currencies, including the United Arab Emirates dirham and more recently the Russian rouble, multiple oil trading and banking sources said.
An Indian refining source said most Russian banks have faced sanctions since the war but Indian customers and Russian suppliers are determined to keep trading Russian oil. “Russian suppliers will find some other banks for receiving payments,” the source told Reuters.
India’s largest lender State Bank of India has a nostro, or foreign currency, account in Russia. Similarly, many banks from Russia have opened accounts with Indian banks to facilitate trade.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath said that sanctions on Russia could erode the dollar’s dominance by encouraging smaller trading blocs using other currencies. Paying for oil in dollars has been the nearly universal practice for decades. “The dollar would remain the major global currency even in that landscape but fragmentation at a smaller level is certainly quite possible,” she told the Financial Times.
Beyond Russia, tensions between China and the West are also eroding the long-established norms of dollar-dominated global trade.
India in the last year displaced Europe as Russia’s top customer for seaborne oil, snapping up cheap barrels and increasing imports of Russian crude 16-fold compared to before the war, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Russian crude accounted for about a third of its total imports.
For Indian refiners that in recent weeks started settling some Russian oil purchases in roubles, according to the trade sources, payments have been processed in part by the State Bank of India via its nostro roubles account in Russia.
India has prepared a framework for settling trade with Russia in Indian rupees should rouble transactions be cut off by further sanctions, the sources said.
The Group of Seven economies, the European Union and Australia, agreed the price cap late last year to bar Western services and shipping from trading Russian oil unless sold at an enforced low price to deprive Moscow of funds for its war. It does not work as they wanted.
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