September 1, 2017 / 10:42 AM / 22 days ago

BRICS development bank aims to make $4 bln in loans in 2018

SHANGHAI, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The New Development Bank (NDB), set up by the “BRICS” group of emerging economies, aims to make about $4 billion in loans next year and plans to soon start lending to private sector projects, its president said on Friday.

Launched in 20l5 as an alternative to the World Bank, the NDB lent $1.5 billion in 2016 and will make $2.5 billion in loans this year, K.V. Kamath said. To date, it has invested in 11 projects.

“We will be only lending on a sovereign basis, maybe for little bit more time, till possibly late this year,” he said adding that later when NDB has “more skills” , it can start lending to private firms.

He was speaking at a meeting in Shanghai with business leaders from the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - ahead of a Sept. 3-5 meeting of the countries’ heads of state in Xiamen, China.

He also said that while there was a “pipeline” for sovereign-generated projects in China and India, the NDB was finding it more difficult to develop a “deliverable” one to South Africa.

Its only South African project, a $180 million loan to power utility Eskom for renewable energy projects, has been put on ice by the South African government for reasons he did not disclose.

Kamath said the NDB had received $2.6 billion in capital from members, and it expects the total to reach $3.5 billion by January.

He told the business leaders he hoped they would be able to take loans in local currencies as part of the bank’s initial wish to “break away from the tyranny of hard currencies”.

He said talks were ongoing about Brazil taking such a loan.

The NDB has made 4.5 billion yuan ($684.28 million) in loans to three renewable energy and water projects in China, according to a statement from the bank. ($1 = 6.5763 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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