The New Development Bank should diversify its financing channels and methods to facilitate the development of emerging economies, which will help drive global economic growth amid rising market challenges and uncertainties, said experts and officials attending the bank's two-day annual meeting, which started in Shanghai on Tuesday.
Raising funds in diverse markets and in different currencies, including the renminbi, the dollar and the euro, will be among the NDB's priorities, Dilma Rousseff, the bank's new president who was elected in March, said at the meeting.
Meanwhile, the NDB will seek to fund a greater share of projects in local currencies. As many infrastructure projects crucial for sustainable development generate revenues in local currencies, the NDB will offer more compatible alternatives for their financing, Rousseff said.
The move will better protect the bank's borrowers from the risks of currency fluctuations. This is especially important when the global market is complicated by multiple uncertainties such as geopolitical conflicts, fragmentation of supply chains, high inflation and monetary policies leading to rising interest rates, she said.
By the end of the first quarter, local-currency financing represented approximately 21.5 percent of the NDB's portfolio. According to the bank's 2022-26 strategy released this month, 30 percent of its project financing will be denominated in the national currencies of its members.
The NDB will also increase its participation in co-financing operations with other multilateral financial institutions, national development banks and the private sector, Rousseff said.
This is the NDB's eighth annual meeting, and the theme is "Shaping a New Era for Global Development".
China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said at the meeting that the NDB should innovate financing models and loan tools while leveraging resources more extensively. By making reasonable mapping in both sovereign and nonsovereign businesses, the NDB can better meet the diversified demand of member countries and facilitate their sustainable development.
Founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in 2014 with the purpose of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging markets and developing countries, the NDB opened in July 2015, with its headquarters in Shanghai.
Aside from the five BRICS nations, the bank has included Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Uruguay on its list of members over the past few years.
Rousseff said on Tuesday that expanding the NDB's network of partnerships is also among its priorities, which will help diversify the bank's portfolio and increase its ability to mobilize funds.
According to a Financial Times report on Sunday, the NDB is holding talks to admit Saudi Arabia as its new member.
Since its establishment, the NDB has approved over $33.2 billion in loans for 98 projects in developing economies.
The bank announced on Monday its successful issuance of an 8.5 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) panda bond in the China interbank bond market to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects that benefit NDB members and facilitate the bank's sustainable development goals.
This is also in line with the bank's goal to raise the ratio of local-currency financing, said Leslie Maasdorp, the NDB's vice-president and chief financial officer.
Panda bonds are yuan-denominated bonds issued by overseas institutions in the Chinese onshore market.
With a three-year tenure, the newly issued bond has surpassed the previous issuance size of 7 billion yuan, establishing a new benchmark panda bond transaction in the China interbank bond market, the NDB said in its announcement.