Angola Asks China for at Least Two-Year Halt in Loan Repayments

Angola asked China for a moratorium of two years or more on repaying loans, as the southwest African nation struggles to cope with the slump in oil prices.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos made the request during his visit to Beijing, state-run news agency Angop reported on Thursday. He also asked to obtain new credit lines and extend existing ones, the agency said, without giving details.

China is Angola’s largest trade partner, buying about half of the OPEC member’s crude production, which was 1.78 million barrels a day in May. Chinese state banks are funding projects such as a new airport for the capital, Luanda, and railways and roads.

Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy, may seek to borrow $25 billion this year, government documents show. Credit from countries such as China and Brazil may comprise most of the $10 billion in external financing that it’s seeking.

To absorb the impact of the oil shock, Angola has cut its initial 2015 budget by a quarter and almost doubled retail petrol prices to eliminate fuel subsidies.

The government also wants to boost ties with China in technology transfer, industry, agriculture and training, dos Santos said, according to Angop.

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