Index for October 2018

Volume 17, Issue 10

  • (Global Witness, London, 10 October 208) On the week that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its report on the scale of the challenge to limit the dangers of climate change, the near-simulanteous announcement of new UK Government support for oil and gas abroad has been labelled “staggering.” UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency which underwrites loans and insurance for risky export deals as part of efforts to boost international trade, announced on Tuesday that it is considering finance for an expansion of an oil refinery in Bahrain which would allow its total output to increase up to a maximum of 380,000 barrels per day. Adam McGibbon, Climate Change Campaigner at Global Witness, said: “As the world reels from the news that we have twelve years to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown, today’s announcement by the government is staggering. The UK claims to be a climate leader, but it continues to spend billions pumping fossil fuels out of the ground abroad." Articles in The Times, The Indpendent, BBC and Ekklesia highlight this contradictory approach.

  • (Urgewald, Berlin, 4 October 2018) Four days before the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts forward its special report on 1.5°C, NGOs have released a new list of the world’s top 120 coal plant developers.  “Building new coal plants is an assault on the Paris climate goals,” said Heffa Schuecking, director of the German environment NGO Urgewald. “Our list names the top companies investors and banks need to shun if they are committed to limiting our planet’s temperature rise.” While 2017 was another record-busting year for renewables, coal power is still growing in many parts of the world. Currently, 1,380 new coal plants or units are planned or under development in 59 countries. The world’s largest coal plant developer is China’s National Energy Investment Group (NEI), which aims to build 37,837 MW of new coal plants.

  • (The National, Abu Dhabi, 3 October 2018) Planemaker Boeing said the US Export-Import Bank (Exim), the country's export credit agency, [sic - return?] to its full lending powers is vital to the country's economy and the company's ability to compete with global rivals. The US is locked in an escalating trade war with economic rival China in a tit-for-tat round of tariffs. The long-hobbled US export credit agency, which facilitates export deals between American manufacturers and overseas buyers, has been in limbo for three years due to congressional inaction. In 2018, export credit is expected to remain a "marginal" share of aircraft financing but export credit agency volumes will increase to stable levels from historical lows this year, Boeing said. [Export credit agencies are major funders of aircraft - in 2010 about 50% of all Airbus deliveries were covered by export credit agencies. ECAs allocate about a third of their long-term financing to aircraft sales, the largest representation of any sector.]

  • (Global Trade Review, London, 28 September 2018) Denmark’s EKF has signed an £800mn guarantee for Hornsea 1 in what it says is the largest wind financing that any public export credit agency has ever provided. Located off the coast of Yorkshire, UK, Hornsea 1 is currently being constructed by Danish wind farm developer Orsted, formerly Dong Energy. According to EKF, it will finance suppliers such as Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, but also a “vast number of sub-suppliers” from Denmark. EKF has also guaranteed about EUR 100 million of the EUR 210 million European Investment Bank (EIB) facility for the Euro 700 million Northwester 2 offshore wind farm in Belgian waters.

  • (Pipeline Technology Journal, Hannover, 27 September 2018) The 614-km, 40 inch Ajaokuta - Kano Gas Pipeline (AKK), the single biggest gas pipeline in the history of oil and gas operations in Nigeria, will now go forward with $ 2.38 bn financing secured by the China National Petroleum Corporation. While 85 per cent of the money is expected to be provided by the financiers, which include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, and Infrastructure Bank of China with Sinosure, China’s Export Credit Agency providing insurance cover, the remaining 15 per cent will be provided by the contractors, which include Oilserve/Oando consortium, as well as Brentex/China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau consortium.

  • (Reuters, Hanoi, 10 October 2018) VinFast, which aims to become Vietnam's first domestic car manufacturer, said it has secured a 12-year credit facility for as much as $950 million to help buy machinery and equipment from German suppliers. Vingroup has earmarked about $3.5 billion for the project. Credit Suisse and HSBC were the lead arrangers and the financing agreement was guaranteed by German export credit agency Euler Hermes.

  • (Financial Tribune, Tehran, 20 October 2018) Global Export Credit Unions participating in a meeting of the Berne Union Credit and Investment Insurers this week backed sustained cooperation with Iran despite the US move earlier this year to pull out of the historic nuclear agreement. According to a press release by the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran, whose representative attended the event, the countries present declared that insuring trade with Iran is possible under the existing circumstances. Arash Shahraini, a member of board of directors and technical deputy of EGFI told the Financial Tribune on Sunday that while there was a positive mood of support for Iran coverage at the meeting, members were cognizant of the fact that lack of a proper banking channels for payments to Iran continues to be a main hurdle to promoting Iranian trade with the outside world.

  • (Matangi, Tonga, 22 October 2018) The Tonga Government will start paying US$4.7m a year during the next ten years, (principal only) of its US$52m loan from the Exim Bank of China that was used to fund reconstruction projects after the 2006 riots in Nuku'alofa. The start of the principal repayments has already contributed to a $22.8m decline in Tonga’s foreign reserves in September. Now Tonga is confronting the real cost of the riots and still recovering from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita which struck the main island of Tongatapu in February 2018 and caused about US$148m worth of damage, equivalent to nearly a third of the country's gross domestic product.

  • (South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, 29 October 2018) The planning behind many of China’s major infrastructure projects abroad has been “downright inadequate”, leading to huge financial losses, according to the head of the country’s state export credit insurer. Wang Wen, of China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation, known as Sinosure, said Chinese developers and financiers of projects in developing nations supported by Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” need to step up their risk management to avoid disaster. He cited the mistakes of a major railway project in Africa that has cost Sinosure close to US$1 billion in losses. “Ethiopia’s planning capabilities are lacking, but even with the help of Sinosure and the lending Chinese bank it was still insufficient.” He said other China-backed projects plagued by poor preparation have included sugar refineries that have lacked a supply of sugar beet, and underused railways in Latin America.

  • (Southern Times, Windhoek, 29 October 2018) Trade between Africa and India has risen over the past 10 years and is highly likely to double its total of US$60 billion in 2017 to US$120 billion in 2021, according to a report released by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim India). The impressive growth in trade between Africa and India stems from a mix of factors... Against the backdrop of increasing uncertainty in the global economy, reliance on innovative and non-traditional financing solutions developed by export credit agencies, including the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim India) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), not only helps in mitigating risks in international trade but also contributes to promoting regional trade and investment.