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Published: 09.03.2021

The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) is joining the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the central banks of Estonia (Eesti Pank), Latvia (Latvijas Banka) and Lithuania (Lietuvos Bankas) in the joint effort to develop a regional market for commercial papers.  

Commercial papers (CPs) are short-term unsecured promissory notes issued by companies with a fixed-term maturity and used to address short-term liquidity or working capital needs. Demands for such alternative sources of finance are rapidly increasing in the current coronavirus pandemic. Alternative sources of finance in line with ECB recommendation.

Alexander Pivovarsky, EBRD Director, Capital Market Development, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the NIB as partner in our initiative to help launch the Commercial Paper market in the Baltic countries. With such a strong and respected international financial institution on our side, the capital market development in the region would get an additional boost with tangible benefits for the real economy.”

Gunnar Okk, NIB Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer, said: “NIB is delighted to collaborate with the EBRD and the Baltic central banks to foster market efficiency and business environment in the Baltics. This pan-Baltic initiative to develop the regional CP markets is crucial especially now, when the Bank’s member countries are facing short-term liquidity problems due to the coronavirus crisis.”

A Memorandum of Understanding [LINK] sets out the principles of cooperation to develop a deeper and more efficient regional CP market in line with the best practices outlined in the “Short-Term European Paper” by the European Central Bank (ECB). It states that the papers must be freely transferable and capable of being traded over-the-counter.

The requirement for free transferability aims to align with the collateral eligibility requirement by the ECB for financial instruments by being admitted to trading on acceptable trading venues, which are regulated markets in the European Union (EU); or a non-regulated market accepted by the Eurosystem, the monetary authority of the eurozone.

Promoting the regional CP market will contribute to diversifying sources of finance for local corporates, supporting the development of tradeable securities and improving the regional debt capital market and mobilising funds from institutional investors.

The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) has been active in the Baltic countries ever since they regained their independence. Since 2005, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are members of NIB on the same terms as the five founding countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

NIB provides long-term financing to projects promoting sustainable growth. In a time of economic crisis, the Bank can also have a stabilising role. In 2020, NIB made Response Loans available to all Baltic countries member countries to alleviate the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EBRD has been actively involved in the development of capital markets in the three Baltic states and, in 2018 together with the European Commission, sponsored the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to create a pan-Baltic capital market to strengthen their economies and stimulate investment to create jobs.

The EBRD has been investing in the Baltic states since 1991. To date, the Bank’s total investment there stands at more than EUR 2.5 billion through more than 280 projects.