By Loretta Martikian
The EBRD and the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) are increasing the availability of Georgian lari (GEL) to private companies in a joint move to support businesses suffering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two institutions have set up a US$-GEL foreign exchange (FX) swap facility, enabling the EBRD to secure reliable access to GEL liquidity and continue lending in local currency to firms that are experiencing temporary difficulties. The parties executed the first transaction on 24 April 2020.
The foreign exchange swap line also supports the management of NBG FX reserves with additional US dollar liquidity, which the central bank can draw on when needed.
The EBRD last week expanded its response and recovery programme addressing the coronavirus crisis and it expects the entirety of its investments of up to €21 billion(US$22.75billion) in the two years ahead to be dedicated to this effort. The package includes a €4 billion Resilience Framework for existing clients, offering liquidity support, short-term working capital and trade finance. The EBRD emphasised that it was also ready to deploy its capacity to provide local currency lending.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Georgia. Since the start of its operations in the country, the Bank has invested over €3.7 billion in 249 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 87 per cent of these investments in the private sector.