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Jin says AIIB may lend US$2b, announce projects in June

[DAVOS] Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun said the new China-led institution is planning to lend at least US$2 billion to different projects in 2016 and may announce the first batch of investments around June.

The AIIB will seek to raise US$300 million to US$500 million by selling bonds in April or May, Jin said in an interview Friday on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

There are 30 to 40 nations waiting to join the AIIB, which could push membership to about 100 countries from the founding 57, Jin said earlier in a Bloomberg Television interview. He added that it's not good to push countries to join the lender if they aren't ready.

Jin worked at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on China's behalf, and was a former monetary policy committee member and supervisory chairman of China's sovereign wealth fund. The AIIB formally opened its doors this month in Beijing, a key economic milestone for President Xi Jinping and his goal for China to achieve the same great-power status enjoyed by the US. The US and Japan haven't joined AIIB.

Jin said China's stock market, which is in a bear market for the second time in seven months, needs to be broader and deeper. He said the country is moving to a new stage of development and must deal with that challenge after 35 years of fast economic growth.

The US economy is "picking up," Jin said, and it wasn't a mistake for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates last month after keeping them near zero for seven years.