Chinese Commodity-backed Loans Crippling Africa and Latin America

Latin American and sub-Saharan African countries have taken out at least $152 billion in oil-, mineral- and metal-backed loans from China since 2004, easy money that has contributed to crippling debt levels, an NGO report said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) calculated that, including loans from other countries such as Russia and global commodity traders, the total amounted to $164 billion. Two Chinese state banks, China Development Bank and Eximbank, alone accounted for 77% of the loans, NRGI said in its report. Some analysts have raised alarm bells in recent years over debt levels in emerging markets, which have more than doubled to $72 trillion over the past decade, while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the number of countries in or at risk of debt distress has risen steadily. Read more