OECD - Trade finance in the COVID era: Current and future challenges

23 March 2021 |

In response to the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are looking to their Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) to fill any financing gaps left by the private market and to mitigate the impact of the crisis by engaging in both short-term (ST) and medium- and long-term (MLT) trade finance. In the absence of comprehensive data on trade finance, this brief uses OECD surveys and other related indicators to attempt to identify emerging trends. These indicators suggest that ST trade finance is facing access problems (increased costs of ST financing for SMEs and higher rates of rejected applications) while MLT trade finance appears to be relatively resilient (decrease of 34% in volume and 15% in number of MLT export credit transaction). ECAs may therefore have a role to play in ST trade finance by acting on liquidity and increasing capacity. However for MLT trade finance, ECAs might have fewer levers for action, especially if the pandemic is affecting the demand side and reducing the pipeline of projects.

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