Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 11:53 UK

China lends Shanghai group $10bn

Chinese President Hu Jintao
China is now the world's third biggest economy

China will extend a $10bn (£6bn) loan to Russia and four Central Asian states to help them in the financial crisis, Chinese President Hu Jintao has said.

Speaking at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, he said China would help member states.

The group includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Yekaterinburg is also hosting a meeting of the world's four emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The so-called Bric countries are meeting for the first time to discuss ways to improve the global economy.

SCO COUNTRIES
China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
Set up in 2001 to curb extremism in the region
India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia joined later as observer members
Trade between the six full members stood at $68bn in 2007

China is now the world's third-biggest economy. President Hu said it would also send delegations to SCO nations to assist with trade and investment.

Multilateral measures

The SCO was formed in 2001 in an effort to tackle extremism in the region and enhance border security.

However, there have been moves in the last year to develop co-ordinated trade measures in an effort to stabilise their economies and maintain growth in the current economic crisis, BBC China analyst Shirong Chen says.

These include the idea of building a single energy market.

Some analysts believe China is trying to increase its influence among the highly strategic ex-Soviet states of Central Asia.

Russian trade

In recent months, China has increased lending to Russian companies.

On Sunday, it was reported that China's Development Bank was to lend $1bn (£610m) to its Russian equivalent VEB to finance investment projects by Chinese companies in Russia.

The Development Bank has also loaned $25bn to Rosneft, Russia's state-run oil firm, and Transneft, the state oil pipeline company.

China is Russia's second-largest trade partner after the European Union.

Trade between the two nations totalled $55.9bn last year, and they have plans to increase bilateral trade to about $80bn by 2010.



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