Pakistan’s repayments on CPEC to peak at $5b in 2022: chief economist

Pakistan’s debt and other repayments on China’s “Belt and Road” initiative will peak at around $5 billion in 2022, but will be more than offset by transit fees charged on the new transport corridor, says the Pakistan government’s chief economist.

China has pledged to invest up to $57 billion in Pakistan’s rail, road and energy infrastructure through its vast modern-day “Silk Road” network of trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.

Officials expect a huge uptick in trade between the two nations once Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar is functional and work on motorways is finished allowing goods to cross the Himalayas to and from China’s western Xinjiang province.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship “Belt and Road” project, has been credited with helping revive Pakistan’s sluggish economy, but investors have raised concerns that Pakistan’s currency could come under severe pressure once debt repayments begin and Chinese firms start taking profits home.

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