A Chinese national flag flies in front of the China Construction Bank (CCB) Tower in Hong Kong's Central business district. Photo: Reuters / Tyrone Siu

As part of Beijing’s efforts to support Xi Jinping’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative and the internationalization of the yuan, China’s largest state-owned commercial banks are raising billions for overseas investments, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources close to the matter.

China Construction Bank is aiming to raise at least US$15 billion, while Bank of China has set a goal of around US$3 billion. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China are both considering raising funds, the sources said.

Private spending on overseas M&A deals has dropped significantly amid an ongoing crackdown on outbound capital flows, but investment in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has already reached US$33 billion this year. The number compares with just US$31 billion for all of 2016.

China’s State Council issued new guidelines for overseas investment last Friday, limiting M&A deals in certain industries while encouraging investment related to Belt and Road.

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