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IFC Trade-Finance Guarantees in Latin America and the Caribbean Increase to $1.3 Billion


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez
Phone: (202) 458-5204
E-mail: agomez@ifc.org

Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290
E-mail: lpang@ifc.org

Washington D.C., April 6, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has sharply increased the amount of trade-finance guarantees it has provided in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last nine months to promote trade and mitigate the regional impact of the global financial crisis, boosting the amount to $1.3 billion.

That marks a $500 million increase in guarantees provided in the region under IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program, which provides risk mitigation in support of trade in emerging markets. The program, which complements banks’ ability to provide trade finance, now has a network of more than 300 participating banks from around the world.

 “Our trade finance program has been a catalyst for banks in the region to increase access to trade funding and availability of liquidity to small and medium enterprises,” said Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We look forward to continue expanding this program, particularly in countries where trade lines with international banks were affected by the global financial crisis.”

Over 85 percent of the IFC trade finance program in the region supported small and medium enterprises operations, and close to 45 percent encouraged trade between developing countries, especially intra-regional trade flows. In the last nine months, IFC trade guarantees issued in Latin America and the Caribbean represented a third of the global total.

The IFC program in the region includes 34 issuing banks in 13 countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St. Lucia and Uruguay. By the end of June 2009, the total number of issuing banks is expected to be 50, covering 18 countries.

The most active countries are Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and Honduras and the most used trade structures have been pre-export financing and import financing, essentially to support agribusiness and infrastructure industries. The average tenor of the trade transactions is currently three months, with an average size of $1.5 million.

Over the next months, IFC will expand its program in Latin America, focusing on countries and banks that most need trade finance, with special emphasis on Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia, Peru and Chile. For more information about the program, contact Antonio Alves, Head of Trade Finance for Latin America and the Caribbean Region, at aalves1@ifc.org, or visit www.ifc.org/gtfp.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.