Senate reauthorisation means ECA can approve small deals
US President Barack Obama signed the reauthorisation of the Export-Import Bank of the United States on 4 December, after it was passed by the Senate.
US Exim Bank plans to restart work by 8 December, and the reauthorisation is valid until 2019.
However, until the Senate approves three out of five board members, to reach a quorum, the export credit agency (ECA) can only approve deals below $10m. US Exim Bank can process and negotiate larger deals in the interim.
The new authorisation requires that US Exim Bank dedicates 25 per cent of its authorizations for small business. The previous level was 20 per cent.
US aircraft manufacturer Boeing and GE are two of the ECAs largest customers, on deals with regional airlines, power companies and oil and gas companies.
Exim Bank funded $900m-worth of Boeing aircraft purchases from UAE aviation companies in 2013 alone, according to the US Mercatus Center.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline alone has 196 aircraft units on order with Boeing, which estimates that the Middle East will need around 3,180 new aircraft units, with an estimated value of $730bn between 2014 and 2034.
Egyptian petrochemicals company Carbon Holdings Tahrir Petrochmicals Complex is the largest project in the region affected by the shutdown. GE will be providing the refining technology.
The $7bn project had agreed a financing deal with US Exim Bank, the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) Korea Trade Insurance Company (Ksure) and Italian Export Credit Agency (Sace). It was unable to finalise the deal before the US Congress let Exim Banks authorisation lapse.
In fiscal year 2015, Exim Bank approved $12.5 billion in total authorizations. 13.4 per cent of the banks total exposure is to the Middle East and North Africa, as of September 2015.
ECAs are expected to continue playing an important regional role in project finance as liquidity tightens for both regional and international banks.
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