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January 17, 2011

China Tops World Bank in Development Lending

A new study says China has loaned more money to developing countries than the World Bank over the past two years, and often under more favorable conditions.

The findings were reported Tuesday by the British newspaper the Financial Times and based on research by its own staff.  The paper says the China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank signed off on loans totaling at least $110 billion in 2009 and 2010, compared to just over $100 billion in World Bank lending from mid-2008 to mid-2010.

The Financial Times says that some "politically sensitive" loans were offered on more preferential terms and with less stringent transparency conditions than those offered by the World Bank.

With China's fast-growing need for external fuel sources, the banks made a number of large loan-for-oil deals with Russia, Venezuela and Brazil at a time when the global financial crisis was making loans difficult to acquire.

The newspaper said the Chinese lending figures were compiled from public announcements by the lenders, recipients or the Chinese government.  The actual figures could be higher.

The paper quotes the World Bank saying it is working closely with China and that it welcomes "an important and growing partnership."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.