Index for June 2021

Volume 20, Issue 6

  • (Hindu Business Line, Chennai, 17 June 2021) India must accelerate its shift to renewable energy to attract more ESG funding and, thereby, meet its net zero emissions target. The International Energy Agency’s net zero emissions (NZE) roadmap by 2050 sets out the massive investment required to cut emissions and achieve the Paris goal of restricting global surface temperature increase to below 1.5 degree Celsius. Under the NZE roadmap, the use of unabated fossil fuels declines sharply to just over a fifth of the total energy supply. More than two-thirds of the energy supply in 2050 will come from renewables and around a tenth from nuclear. To meet these targets, total annual energy investment will have to surge to $5 trillion by 2030, more than tripling from just over $500 billion annually over the last five years to more than $1,600 billion in 2030. Further, the NZE roadmap requires annual investment in transmission and distribution grids to expand from $260 billion in 2021 to $820 billion in 2030. Global capital is already fleeing fossil fuels and moving towards more profitable clean energy — a shift that is now accelerating in response to net zero pledges last year by China, Japan and South Korea, a ratcheting up of climate ambition by President Biden’s administration and the recent announcement by G7 countries that they will exit all international coal financing by their export credit agencies.

  • (Energy Fuse, Washington, 7 June 2021) Rich countries are using public financing to expand the construction of natural gas infrastructure in poorer countries around the world. Public-financing of gas in the Global South exceeds that of renewable energy by a factor of four, according to a new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The continued government-backed financing of fossil fuels in low- and middle-income countries puts climate goals at risk and threatens to lock in infrastructure for decades to come. The investment “risks driving a new dash for gas locks countries into a high-carbon pathway, imperiling their economies future and the global climate,” the authors warned in the report. Funding for gas comes from an array of multilateral development banks and a constellation of bilateral financing at the government level from G20 nations, such as export credit agencies and development banks. According to the study and to data from Oil Change International, natural gas projects in the Global South received an average of $16 billion in international public financing between 2017 and 2019, four times higher than solar and wind. Of that total, 48% came from just three countries: Japan, China and the United States. Most of that financing (46%) is funneled into power generation, a sector where there are cheap alternatives in solar, wind and energy storage.

  • (Global Trade Review, London, 16 June 2021) Environmental campaign groups are switching their aim to public and private financing for natural gas projects as they get closer to winning the battle over thermal coal. But the only firm commitments on financing have been on thermal coal, where the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US – committed to “take concrete steps towards an absolute end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021” including export finance and trade support. But data from Oil Change International, a non-profit that campaigns against the use of fossil fuels, suggests the move will make little impact on overall public financing for fossil fuels. In recent months, UK Export Finance (UKEF) has been working to roll out a new transition development guarantee scheme to help oil and gas companies switch towards less polluting operations. But while industry bodies have backed the export credit agency’s plans, analysts (and campaign groups) have warned new initiatives must avoid funding any and all fossil fuels... There has not yet been much market uptake of instruments issued using for example the LMA’s Social Loan Principles.

  • (Human Rights Watch, New York, 7 June 2021) Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and use, driving continued fossil fuel dependence at a time when governments should be rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energies like wind and solar. Human Rights Watch has documented how climate change in Canada is depleting Indigenous peoples’ access to traditional food sources and in Colombia, showed how more frequent droughts are worsening malnutrition among Indigenous children. In the US, extreme heat is linked to adverse birth outcomes. These are only a few of the growing impacts experienced around the world that are expected to intensify as temperatures continue to rise in coming years. As of 2019, G20 governments, representing the world’s major economies, supported coal, oil, and gas production and consumption by, on average, $548 billion per year. A significant disparity in support also exists in international public finance, such as from export credit agencies. G20 countries provided at least $77 billion a year through their international public finance institutions.

  • (Zawya, Dubai, 1 June 2021) The Attarat project will generate 3.7bln kWh of electricity, which can meet nearly one-fifth of Jordan's power demand. The first unit of the world's largest oil shale power plant, located at Attarat um Ghudran, Jordan, is now online, the project's Chinese contractor tweeted last week. The post also said the project is the largest 100% Chinese financed private infrastructure project outside China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In March 2017, Reuters had reported that the project had secured debt financing from a consortium of Chinese banks. In the same month, JV partner Enefit said in a statement that the project is the first oil shale-fired power plant and mine in the world financed using limited recourse debt financing, securing $1.6 billion for 15 years, backed by export credit insurance from Sinosure.

  • BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua, Beijing, 5 June 2021) China's only policy-oriented insurer specializing in export credit insurance reported steady business growth in the first five months of 2021. The China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, or SINOSURE, served about 139,000 clients in the January-May period, increasing 16.3 percent year on year. During the period, the company underwrote about 314.63 billion U.S. dollars worth of insured businesses, up 28 percent year on year. SINOSURE is a state-funded and policy-oriented insurance company that promotes China's foreign economic and trade development and cooperation. It was officially launched and put into operation in 2001, and its service network now covers the whole country.

  • (Financial Times, London, 31 May 2021) Two ECA lines of credit offer a comparison of Chinese and non-Chinese ECA infrastructure loans in the same African country. A decade ago, when Ethiopia’s late leader Meles Zenawi was planning 5,000km of standard gauge railway, the landlocked country was granted a $2.5bn loan by China Eximbank. That loan was tied to the construction of an 800km railway east-west between Addis Ababa, the capital, and the port city of neighbouring Djibouti. It would be built by Chinese engineers and use Chinese locomotives. A second rail 2013 project intended to run about the same distance south to north, between the central town of Awash and Mekelle, capital of the now war-torn Tigray region was undertaken by a Turkish construction group which helped broker $1.1bn of funding from Turkey’s Eximbank, Credit Suisse and European export credit agencies. Financing proved a big difference. When Ethiopia ran into problems servicing its debt due to a perennial shortage of foreign currency, the Chinese proved flexible, where in contrast, there were penalties built into the European loans for delayed repayment.

  • (EXIM, Washington, 29 June 2021) The Environmental and Social Project Information and Concerns unit of EXIM provides a process for customers, organizations, and individuals to request or submit information, or express concerns, regarding specific EXIM supported projects, and provides feedback on environmental and social issues. It establishes a formal timeline for response, allowing EXIM staff to promptly receive inquiries and engage in appropriate follow-up action. Contact them at +1 800 565.3946 or +1 202.565.3570 or by email at <EnviroResponseCoord@exim.gov> or via an online form at the above link. An interesting and potentially useful ECA accountability mechanism, depending on how it is being implemented.

  • (Business Alive, Johanessburg, 14 June 2021) Export credit agency (ECA) finance is an important lever for infrastructural development in West Africa. According to deal intelligence platform TXF Data, Africa was the second-most active region globally in 2020 for ECA-supported financing, with more than $35.5bn worth of ECA-supported debt. This included some of the largest single financed projects in Africa, such as the Mozambique LNG transaction ($14.9bn); the Nigeria LNG train 7 ($3bn); and the Credendo/The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) covered $359m real estate project in Abidjan, to name a few. The Covid-19 pandemic aggravated the infrastructure deficit faced by the continent. West African governments responded quickly, finding new strategies to raise the deficit themselves — particularly with social infrastructure. Unlike East and Southern Africa, West Africa raised finance on the sovereign’s balance sheet, via the ministry of finance (MoF). ECA direct financing is an integral part of financing in West Africa. This model of financing provided by most European ECAs is generally a “countercyclical” financing mechanism that seeks to address market failure. In the first quarter of 2020, there was a global shortage of liquidity, and this significantly raised the cost of financing. This caused ECAs to step up and provide direct loans to MoFs at low Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) commercial interest rates of reference (CIRR). Governments are aware of these financing arrangements and made use of the product offered by ECAs in 2020 (for example the latest March 2021 OECD CIRR for 8.5+ year loan in US dollars is 1.91%).

  • (This Day, Lagos, 30 May 2021) As the African Continental Free Trade Area enters its first six months of inauguration on Tuesday, 1st June, the need for Nigeria to enter the fray of her infrastructure development was the topic that dominated discourse at various fora last week. While the webinar sponsored by Nigeria Export Import Bank revolved around preparing Nigeria in the area of infrastructure development for international trade, the webinar organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, similarly dwelt on infrastructure issues and how government will engage it using the public private partnership model. To complement the PPP platform, the apex bank tasked the state governments to tap into the opportunities available to develop the economies of their respective states.

  • (City AM, London, 23 June 2021) In its annual results published today UK Export Finance (UKEF) announced that it provided £12.3bn (US$17bn) of support to UK exporters in the last financial year, amid coronavirus disruption and ongoing Brexit trade negotiations, almost 3X the amount given in 2019-20. UKEF estimates that its financial support to UK exporters during the pandemic has safeguarded up to 107,000 jobs, and helped key industries in the UK to survive. £7.3bn (59%) was dedicated to exporters including Ford, Nissan, Subsea 7, Rolls Royce, easyJet, and British Airways, whose businesses were severely disrupted by the pandemic, the agency said. A large chunk of this support went to major exporters British Airways and easyJet, who received £2.5bn (20%) to help safeguard jobs at Luton and Heathrow airports. Small businesses in London benefitted from £215m (1.7%) as part of the agency’s Temporary Covid Risk Framework. 79% of the 549 companies UKEF supported were SMEs, [although the % of total funds for SMEs is not known]. The announcement comes a year after campaigners launched a probe into UKEF that found it was supporting sectors prone to corruption as part of its post-Brexit export drive. Campaign group Spotlight on Corruption expressed particular concern at the time that UKEF was increasingly supporting newly established UK-registered subsidiaries of foreign construction firms that have been embroiled in corruption allegations.

  • (UrduPoint News, Moscow, 31st May, 2021) Atomenergoprom JSC, a subsidiary of Russian state corporation Rosatom, consolidating all civil assets of the Russian nuclear industry, is working with the French Economy Ministry on a new mechanism for financial support of its nuclear power plant construction projects abroad with the participation of French export credit agency Bpifrance Assurance Export, according to Atomenergoprom's 2020 annual report. Work continued with the French Ministry of Economy and Finance on the development of a fundamentally 'new mechanism' for financing the company's projects for the construction of nuclear power plants abroad, and will continue in 2021" the report says. No further details are provided. In another nuclear power story involving ECAs, Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom told ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) and the head of the EU mission in Ukraine that it has "made significant progress" with its strategy to diversify its sources of nuclear fuel. Since 2010, they have signed three contracts for the supply of nuclear materials for the production of nuclear fuel by Urenco, which is one of Westinghouse's nuclear fuel suppliers. Their current contract was signed in July 2019. They are now considering increasing the volume of supplies of nuclear materials under that contract and attracting funding under the UK government's export support programme, which is being implemented through UK Export Finance, the UK's export credit agency.

  • NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5- The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) is set to acquire 118 Armoured Personnel Vehicles (APCs) from Turkey, in a move meant to bolster its resilience power in the war against terrorism. Kenya is expected to spend Kenyan Sh7.7 billion to purchase the 118 APCs through the Turkish Export Credit Agency. The APCs will be acquired from the Turkish defense and automotive firm Katmerciler. Two other firms, one from South Africa and North America, were locked out of the multi-billion shillings deal.

  • (S&P Globlal, New Yrk, 3 June 2021) The difficult-to-decarbonize maritime shipping sector was not part of the Paris agreement, and is projected to account for an increasing portion of global CO2 emissions. The international cargo and container shipping industry plays a central role in global supply chains, but until recently has made few inroads toward decarbonization. That needs to change if the world is going to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. An inaugural report released late last year showed that ECA shipping portfolios aligned with the climate goals set by the IMO at only three of 15 disclosing institutions: Dutch bank ING Groep NV, French export credit agency Bpifrance Assurance Export, and Eksportkreditt Norge AS, also known as Export Credit Norway. But even as it pursues deep decarbonization pathways, the maritime shipping industry is taking up interim solutions. For starters, some shippers have begun using liquified natural gas as a shipping fuel, which produces significantly less carbon than the oil the industry uses. But since natural gas is not viewed as a permanent solution because it still emits carbon, the industry is pursuing zero-carbon options as well. The Getting to Zero Coalition coordinated by the Global Maritime Forum. The coalition recently released a report that found getting past the tipping point for zero-emissions fuel costs will require the industry to have 5% adoption of those fuels by 2030, with adoption ramping up to more than 90% by the mid-2040s.