Australia’s ECA eyes overseas investment with potential new mandate

(Global Trade Review, London, 20 February 2019) Australia’s export credit agency, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic), could receive an A$1bn cash injection of callable capital, a mandate to finance larger overseas projects and a new name as part of a bill expected to pass in the house of representatives this week. The bill’s initial text highlights opportunities to invest in overseas infrastructure, such as telecommunications, energy, transport and water, throughout the Pacific region and further afield. The bill also includes a new name for the agency — Export Finance Australia. More specifically, the bill notes that the additional capital would allow the agency to continue to finance infrastructure projects in Papua New Guinea, which it described as “one of our most important neighbours”. Efic is currently involved in the PNG LNG project, a US$19bn investment scheme for the commercial development of the gas resources of Papua New Guinea. However, on its current budget, Efic is re-approaching its country lending limit for the southwestern Pacific island nation and it is only able to finance one additional project.