Australia’s export credit agency ordered to ­extend loans to coal ventures

(The Australian, Sydney, 11 September 2017) A ban on government-backed loans for onshore coal and ­resource export operations will be overturned in the “national interest” to help fund billions of dollars in projects that are threatened by the growing reluctance of the major banks to back them. Trade Minister Steve Ciobo will issue a direction this week to Australia’s export credit agency to broaden its mandate and ­extend loans to viable small-to-medium sized onshore resource ventures including coal projects and related infrastructure struggling to secure private-market ­finance... The ANZ bank last week ­declared it was unlikely to finance a proposal to extend the life of AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW on environmental grounds despite the warnings from the energy regulator that an energy price and supply crisis was looming due to the lack of reliable baseload power... Efic has reported an increasing number of resource projects ­facing difficulties in obtaining ­private-market finance either ­because of a higher commercial risk profile in the post-mining boom environment but also due to the recent rise in aggressive campaigning by activist groups putting pressure on the banks.