BRICS Bank Considers Lending With Indian Rupee Bonds

  • Shanghai-based lender could also issue bonds in rubles or rand
  • NDB aiming to lend $1.5 billion this year, even more in 2017

The New Development Bank, which earlier this year sold 3 billion yuan ($443 million) of green bonds in China, is considering issuing notes in Indian rupees or other local currencies as it gears up to expand its support for sustainable projects.

Besides rupees, the Shanghai-based multilateral lender may issue bonds in at least one other currency, such as Russian rubles or South African rand, President K.V. Kamath said in an interview on Thursday.

“We want to open a strong window where we can meet local funding needs using local currencies,” he said.

The bank, which started last year, was founded to support infrastructure and sustainable development initiatives in emerging economies. It counts Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as founding members.

The NDB’s lending is expected to reach $1.5 billion this year and may exceed $2.5 billion next year, Kamath said. About 60 percents of its loans are for renewable energy developments, while the rest is for infrastructure projects “which are sustainable,” according to the president.

“I don’t think there’s a shortage of projects” for the bank to support, Kamath said.

Coal Funding Consideration

While the bank is keen to support efforts to expand the use of clean energy, it’s also aware of the risks with renewables, Kamath said.

“The biggest risk in alternative energy is a rapidly dropping price curve which by itself should be very good for the projects that come immediately next, but which could impose a risk on a project that’s funded and underway,” he said.

China is also home to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Kamath said his bank will collaborate with the AIIB.

As for funding coal power projects, the NDB will “examine closely” any projects before making a decision and won’t “do coal which is harmful, and which is done in a traditional manner,” Kamath said.

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