BEIJING, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- China pledged financial support to Ecuador and Venezuela Thursday, two leftist Latin American countries hard-hit by falling oil prices.
After meeting this week with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country's investment in Latin America would reach $250 billion in the next decade. It is an indication of China's eagerness to find Latin American resources and allies, and Latin American nations, who sent representatives to a meeting in Beijing, to balance U.S. influence in the region.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said China "is very interested in continuing to finance because of the seriousness of the government and our ability to execute and plan. The price of oil has kept changing, which makes it necessary to respond with adjustments," Bloomberg News reported. Ecuador secured $7.5 billion in financing, including a $5.3 billion line of credit, at the meeting; Maduro announced $20 billion in new investment for Venezuela.
China has increased its presence in Latin America with over $100 billion in credit since 2005.
Figures released last week by Venezuela's central bank indicated the country entered a recession in 2014. A Deutsche Bank report said the country requires oil prices, now around $50 per barrel, to average about $117.50 per barrel to balance its 2015 budget. Ecuadorean officials said the economy slowed to a third-quarter growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2014, down from 5.6 percent in the same period of 2013.