UPDATE 1-Vontobel launches Belt and Road Index with China Construction Bank

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May 16 (Reuters) - Swiss bank Vontobel is launching a new Belt and Road Index, it said on Thursday, letting investors participate in companies profiting from the mammoth Chinese infrastructure programme.

The international asset management arm of China Construction Bank is acting as an adviser.

“The in-depth knowledge of the Chinese government’s initiative and outstanding investment capabilities with local expertise enable CCBIAM to identify leading companies in various industries that could benefit from investment and stimulus in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Vontobel said.

The certificate also gives investors indirect access to A-shares, which are traded in renminbi and listed on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchange, it added in a statement.

China’s Belt and Road project envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending.

Switzerland in April signed an accord backing the initiative and other European leaders have endorsed the project despite skepticism from the United States. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Berlin speed desk; Editing by Michael Shields)