Sri Lanka secures $1 billion Chinese loan
Central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that first half of the loan will be released later this month and the balance will be received in October.
Sri Lanka's central bank today announced it had secured a $1 billion Chinese loan as the island, a key link in Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road initiative, develops closer relations with Asia's largest economy.
"During consultations (with the Chinese over the loan) it was clear that they see us as a key strategic partner as far as the (Belt and Road) initiative is concerned, given our location," Coomaraswamy told reporters in Colombo.
Coomaraswamy said that the terms of Chinese loan were better than other international lenders and the country hopes to secure additional $200 to $250 million from China's domestic financial market by issuing "Panda bonds".
Sri Lanka last year granted a 99-year lease on a strategic port to Beijing over its inability to repay Chinese loans for the $1.4 billion project.
The port in Colombo straddles the world's busiest east-west shipping route and also gives a strategic foothold to China in a region long dominated by India.
"China will continue to provide selfless support, including much-needed funds for the development of Sri Lanka," the Chinese embassy in Colombo said last month.
China's Belt and Road infrastructure project seeks to revive ancient trade routes through a massive rail and maritime network via $1 trillion in investments across Asia and Europe.
Sri Lanka's economy has been on the mend since the IMF bailout, but growth in 2017 at 3.1 percent was the slowest in 16 years.
The central bank had forecast 2018 growth at between 4.0 to 4.5 percent, but Coomaraswamy on Friday revised his estimate for the calendar year to below 4.0 percent.
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