Fx risks: IFC issues $500m local-currency bonds to Nigeria, Russia

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From EMEKA OKOROANYANWU, in Washington DC., USA

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, issued a record $500 million in local-currency bonds to Nigeria, Russia and Dominican Republic in fiscal 2013, expanding access to finance for private enterprises in developing countries and helping to insulate them from foreign-exchange risks. IFC in a report released on Thursday said, since November 2012, it has successfully issued local-currency bonds in the three emerging markets.

The report stated that in all three cases, IFC puts in place an issuance model that will pave the way for other high-credit issuers. IFC typically issues one local-currency bond per fiscal year. To date, it has issued local-currency bonds in 12 markets globally. IFC EVP and CEO Jin-Yong Cai explained: “Local-currency bonds are an essential part of our strategy to support the development of local capital markets. “Such markets are the foundation for a thriving private sector because they create access to finance for key sectors such as housing, infrastructure, and small and medium enterprises, and because they help mitigate foreign-exchange risks,” he added.

Recognizing those risks, finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 advanced and developing economies in 2011 called for a concerted effort to support local-currency bond markets in developing countries. They said such markets can provide a ‘spare tire’ in a financial crisis, tapping local investors as a powerful alternative source of finance. The report disclosed that this week IFC is bringing together seven international finance institutions to discuss ways to increase collaboration and improve coordination to accelerate the development of local capital markets and increase access to local-currency finance in emerging markets.

The IFC Russian “Volga” bond was the first local-currency bond in Russia linked to an inflation index, protecting returns for investors from inflation. The IFC Nigerian “Naija” bond was the first issue by a non-resident issuer in the domestic capital markets. The IFC Dominican Republic “Taino” bond is the first IFC bond in Latin America and the Caribbean whose proceeds are directly linked to investments in the local private sector—funds raised were immediately invested to support access to finance for housing and for small and medium enterprises.

In addition to issuing local-currency bonds, IFC provides local-currency financing to meet the needs of the private sector. IFC has provided over $10 billion in local-currency financing across 58 currencies—more than any other international finance institution.

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