The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has launched a $1 billion offshore bond program to strengthen India's capital markets and attract greater foreign investment in a time of renewed economic uncertainty across the world.
Under the program, the largest of its kind in the offshore rupee market, IFC will issue rupee-linked bonds and use the proceeds to finance private sector investment in the country.
"Vibrant domestic capital markets ensure access to long-term, local-currency finance for the private sector-the key engine of job creation in emerging markets," said Jin-Yong Cai, IFC's CEO. "IFC's offshore bond program will help bring depth and diversity to the offshore rupee market and pave the way for an alternative source of funding for Indian companies."
India accounted for $4.5 billion of IFC's committed investment portfolio as of 30 June 2013, which is more than any other country. In FY13, IFC invested $1.38 billion in India to achieve several strategic priorities such as promoting inclusive growth in India's low-income states, addressing climate change, and supporting global economic integration.
Arvind Mayaram, Secretary of Economic Affairs in India's Ministry of Finance, said: "We see IFC as an important development partner. It has been contributing significantly in financing private sector projects, including public-private partnerships, in several key developmental areas. With the launch of a rupee bond in the global markets, IFC is turning a new corner. This is a new initiative for the intermediation of international savings for development in India. It will also help deepen the capital markets in India and establish an Indian rupee benchmark in the global markets"
Over the years, IFC has issued bonds in 13 local currencies, including the Brazilian real, the Chinese renminbi, the Nigeria naira, and the Russia ruble. Often, IFC is the first international or corporate issuer of local-currency bonds in a market. When issuing local-currency bonds, IFC works closely with regulators and market participants to refine the regulatory framework, encouraging greater participation in the local markets and providing a model for other international issuers.
IFC has provided over $10 billion in local-currency financing across 58 currencies using a variety of financing tools.