Banks urge OECD to resurrect 5% down-payment rule

(Global Trade Review, London, 22 November 2023) Export finance banks are urging members of the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits to reinstate the rule reducing the down-payment threshold for emerging market borrowers to 5% amid escalating debt risks. On November 4, a temporary common line which had allowed export credit agencies (ECAs) to cover up to 95% of the total export contract value on sovereign transactions – involving category II (non high income) nations – came to an end. The common line was first introduced in late 2021 to counter reported constraints in the private insurance market, and was renewed last November for a further 12 months. The temporary rule has now been formally wound down and any new ECA deals involving sovereign borrowers must revert to financing 15% of the contract on commercial terms. In another development, negotiators secured a modernisation of the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits in March which saw maximum repayment terms for export credit agency (ECA)-supported, climate-friendly projects extended to 22 years, while the maximum tenor for all projects was upped from 10 to 15 years. Revised repayment terms under the OECD framework on export credits could be challenging for banks, prompting increased demand for alternative means of funding, according to industry experts. It will be challenging for certain banks, especially in the current macroeconomic climate. All the banks are struggling with much higher funding costs compared to two or three years ago,” said Nazli Konac Edgu, director of export and agency finance at Citi.