Refinitiv Consolidates Data Insights on China's Belt and Road Initiative

The data provider recently launched a platform aggregating BRI data.

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Market data provider Refinitiv has laid out a roadmap for additional functionality and data linkage capabilities on the recently launched Belt and Road Initiative Connect (BRI Connect) platform.

Earlier this year, Refinitiv launched BRI Connect, available via its financial-markets desktop, Eikon, giving investors access to a suite of tools to help identify opportunities around China’s BRI. BRI Connect provides investors with BRI information including macroeconomic, project, market, financing, geopolitical, and operational risk data, collating data on over 2,000 infrastructure projects involved in the initiative. 

The BRI project was launched by China in 2013 with the aim of strengthening infrastructure and connectivity between itself and about 70 other countries. It is considered the largest investment program in history, accounting for more than $500 billion in infrastructure spending. It covers infrastructure projects connecting countries along six different economic corridors and one maritime route across Asia, Europe, and Africa. 

As the scope and scale of the initiative are still taking shape, investors and asset managers are looking to get a slice of the BRI pie. 

Phil Low, customer success director and BRI regional lead for North Asia, says investors are tackling BRI at different levels. Some are interested in looking at project risk, construction risk, and country risk, he says.

“What we’re trying to do is be that single source of BRI project data. We believe that because of our other assets on our platform, there isn’t anyone else who can provide details beyond just the projects,” he adds.

Details of the individual BRI projects are the first level of data, he says. “It’s really the in-depth analysis that we are providing, on top of our news. From my experience, talking to participants in Hong Kong and Singapore, everyone wants to come at it from a different angle. We are trying to make the entry points to the data as flexible as possible. It’s an entry point into Eikon and behind the scenes, there’s a whole lot of other data that we’re consolidating and structuring so that people can access a whole platter of data,” he says. 

He adds that BRI Connect is available to most Eikon variants at no added cost.

Future Additions

Refinitiv expects that there is potential for the BRI Connect platform to commingle data. One of the datasets it is looking to integrate on BRI Connect is the deals database, which it is working on.

“So from an investment banking perspective—take, for example, HSBC—they will have all the data of the deals they have been involved in, in the Asian region. They’ll be able to potentially put that layer of information in, match it with our data and/or see where the gaps are and what other people have done, and maybe find that there are other projects that are an extension of the infrastructure project. For example, if a port has been put in, there is usually a road or rail, hotels, shopping malls, that come after that. That’s what the banks are after too, and that’s a secondary and tertiary business they’re looking to provide,” Low says. 

Refinitiv is just starting this process, and it will be unique to the BRI Connect platform. “This is where it will get interesting, when layers of data are added. There are modules where customers can put their proprietary data on the platform,” he says. 

The actual project data is already available, but Refinitiv is taking it a step further, providing data, connection, and details that users may not necessarily have by just looking at the project.

“It’s a process of getting the connections to the back end connected. All our data is tagged and it’s just a matter of determining that what is tagged is correct and making it available. As a roadmap, that’s one part of the project that is happening. So by the end of the first quarter, we should have all deals databases connected,” he says.

Also included in the roadmap for BRI Connect is the addition of linkages to World-Check, Refinitiv’s know-your-customer and third-party screening service. “Interviews, insights, industry analysis—these are some of the other areas we have on the roadmap,” Low adds. 

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