IFC increases trade finance limits to support Vietnamese businesses amid Covid-19

Friday, Feb 21, 2020 17:19

Tourists in Da Nang. Tourism and associated services are among the hardest hit sectors by the Covid-19 epidemic. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced it has increased trade finance limits for Vietnamese banks to improve their capacity to cover payment risks in granting trade financing to local companies affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

The spread of COVID-19 has caused business disruption in Viet Nam since the first case was announced in late January. The hardest hit areas include tourism and associated services, cross-border trade, manufacturing and agribusiness, among other sectors.

IFC is supporting Vietnamese businesses by increasing trade limits for four client commercial banks including An Binh Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBank), Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank), Viet Nam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB) and Viet Nam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPB).

The increased total limit of US$294 million will enable these banks’ capacity to cover payment risks in granting trade financing to local companies, mostly small and medium enterprises, IFC said in its press release on Friday.

“VIB welcomes this timely and meaningful initiative to cope with possible liquidity constraints and de-risking trends during this challenging period,” said VIB’s Chief Executive Officer Han Ngoc Vu.

“IFC’s guarantee will help local banks significantly extend trade finance to more importers and exporters, some of which are credit-constrained and rely on bank trade facilities to manage cash flows and purchase raw inputs.”

This initiative follows the State Bank of Viet Nam’s call to financial institutions to support local businesses, which may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak – particularly those in trade and supply chain linkages.

“Leveraging IFC’s global experience in responding to several economic crises in the past, the decision to increase trade limits is an effort to ensure continued trade flows during this challenging phase. The expanded trade finance line will help mitigate trade finance risks, thus softening the impact of COVID-19 on the Vietnamese economy and the private sector,” said Mehmet Mumcuoglu, IFC Financial Institutions Group Manager for East Asia and the Pacific.

Following this initiative, IFC is also exploring other expanded interventions to extend its support to Viet Nam to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and help the nation sustain robust economic growth, Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR, said. — VNS

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