EBRD boosts foreign currency risk awareness

By Ina Coretchi

The EBRD is supporting its partner banks and corporate clients in addressing the challenges of foreign currency financing in the current environment with a series of risk management workshops.

The impact of extending foreign currency loans to clients with local currency revenue and the potential for currency mismatch have been major topics of discussion in the countries where the EBRD invests during the recent difficult period on financial markets.

Aiming to address these issues, to raise the awareness about the risks and to provide specific solutions, the EBRD is launching today in Tbilisi a practical workshop for its partner lending institutions and corporate clients operating in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Lead by recognised risk management experts, the two-day workshop will feature roundtable discussions and practical case studies. The workshop participants will examine the impact of the financial crisis on the local currency lending in the region and will learn how to manage foreign currency exposure through various hedging and funding techniques.

The workshop will also serve a platform for discussions with banks about efficient ways to support local currencies and promote lending in local currencies.

A special focus of the workshop will be the opportunities offered by the Currency Exchange Fund, of which the EBRD is a shareholder, along with a number of international development institutions.

The Currency Exchange Fund, a Netherlands-based global investment fund sponsored by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), allows the EBRD to offer local currency loans to clients in a number of its countries of operations.

A similar workshop is being planned in Bishkek for later this year for EBRD clients operating in central Asia.