As the pandemic took hold in South and South East Asia, 392 million people risked exposure to Covid-19 Vaccines – the simple, lifesaving solution – were not so simple to access. Underpinning the tremendous healthcare initiative, global finance stepped up: crossing borders, supporting local banks and mitigating risk.
This is the story of how trade finance played to its strengths, and became a vital tool in combatting the pandemic.
Access to vaccines is a crucial issue in the countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic: by March 2022, only 56% of the South East Asian population had been fully vaccinated1. Similarly, South Asia has also been gravely impacted - most countries have vaccinated less than 50% of their population2.
In particular, reduced access to cash flows and balance sheet limitations have affected banks’ abilities to provide loans for the procurement of vaccines, a crucial instrument in recovering from the pandemic. J.P Morgan has worked together with various financial institutions in South and South-East Asia to aid the procurement of millions of vaccines and related equipment in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
In Indonesia, J.P. Morgan served as an advising bank for the procurement of shipments of Sinovac vaccines to help inoculate its population of 273 million people. By leveraging trade network capabilities in China, helping to mitigate counterparty risk and providing trade financing, the Firm’s expertise in advising letter of credit assured Sinovac on the transaction allowed the procurement of 19.5 million doses.
President Director of Maybank Indonesia, Taswin Zakaria said "Maybank Indonesia is honored to be able to play an active role in supporting the government of Indonesia in managing COVID-19 pandemic. We hope the collaboration with J.P. Morgan served as a catalyst to accelerate economic recovery and, at the same time, boost investment climate in Indonesia.”
We hope the collaboration with J.P. Morgan served as a catalyst to accelerate economic recovery and, at the same time, boost investment climate in Indonesia.
In Sri Lanka, South Asia, J.P. Morgan was also able to provide $7 million in dollar financing in the form of a trade loan in favor of the Sri Lankan People’s Bank. This was amidst the country’s weakening credit rating and currency, thus facilitating the procurement of one million vaccine doses for the region. The underlying transaction was supported by Asian Development Bank, which provided a 100% guarantee cover to J.P. Morgan as part of their $9 billion vaccine support program for developing nations.
Clive Fonskeka, Deputy General Manager, Treasury and Financial Institutions, People’s Bank said "This loan was structured in one week, which helped significantly to battle the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections amid a state-wide lockdown. We needed to lean on vaccination to provide further protection in a tight timeline due to surging infections - and J.P. Morgan delivered.”
In Vietnam, J.P. Morgan supported Techcombank in facilitating the imports of vaccine manufacturing machineries and ICU equipment into the country. This was achieved through a bank-to-bank reimbursement financing structure to the value of $12 million and by engaging support from development banks and investors.
Mr. Deep Sen, Head of Financial Services, Techcombank said: “As the Covid-19 situation evolved, and the Vietnamese healthcare system came under pressure, we looked towards importing essential equipment and machineries required for longer-term solutions. J.P. Morgan’s financing helped our hospitals and importers cope with changing situations and address rising demands for producing vaccines in the country.”
J.P. Morgan’s high coverage and risk appetite has allowed trade solutions to be provided to South and South-Eastern Asian markets, allowing a swifter delivery of vaccines to a population of over 392 million across these regions. From 2020 to 2021, J.P Morgan’s Financial Institutions portfolio alone grew by 200% and 35% in Sri Lanka and Vietnam respectively.
As part of our ongoing commitment to support the global recovery from the pandemic, J.P. Morgan is continuously exploring further opportunities to increase accessibility to financing in other emerging countries that have similar needs.
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, of J.P. Morgan has called for unity to support countries in need: "Everyone is affected by the COVID-19 crisis — from our colleagues, families and communities to our customers, clients and partners. That is why our firm is stepping up to help address immediate humanitarian needs and long-term economic challenges posed by this global pandemic. During crises such as these, it’s important for us all to come together — and for our firm to harness its resources to assist those who need help the most."
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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.P. Morgan, its affiliates, or its employees. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the author nor J.P. Morgan makes any representations or warranties as to the information’s accuracy or completeness. The information contained herein has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute an offer, solicitation, advice or recommendation, to make any investment decisions or purchase any financial instruments, and may not be construed as such.
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WHO-South East Asia: https://www.who.int/southeastasia/health-topics/immunization/covid-19-vaccination