Journal Article

Improving the availability of trade finance in low-income countries: an assessment of remaining gaps

Marc Auboin

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 31, issue 3-4, pages 379-395
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online December 2015 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI:

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Conditions in trade finance markets have returned to normality along the main global routes after the global financial crisis of 2008–9. The structural difficulties of poor countries in accessing trade finance have, however, not disappeared—and might have been worsened. Trade finance markets are characterized by a greater selectivity in risk-taking, flight to ‘quality’ customers, and a re-focusing of global trade finance suppliers (banks) towards their largest customers in developed countries. In that environment, it seems that the lower end of the market has been struggling to obtain affordable finance, with the smaller companies in the smaller, poorer countries most affected. This is an area where statistics are difficult to find and causality hard to establish. The paper takes a critical look at some of the recent available—mostly survey-based—information suggesting that a significant trade finance market gap exists in Sub-Saharan Africa and poor countries in developing Asia. It looks at policy steps that are being taken to alleviate in part this situation.

Keywords: trade financing; cooperation with international financial institutions; coherence; G-20; developing countries; F13; F34; F36; O19; G21; G32

Journal Article.  7184 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Trade ; Corporate Governance ; Banking ; Economic Development ; International Finance