No More Easy Money

May 1, 2002

The upheaval in Argentina has terrified providers of trade finance who are charging more for loans or want borrowers to set up complex structures to lay off risk. Cheap money across the region is a thing of the past.

Trade finance used to be one of the easiest and cheapest ways for Latin American companies to raise money until the events in Argentina turned the market upside down. Lenders have become a lot more attuned to risk now as they watch one blue-chip company after another tumble in Argentina. Alberto Conde, head of corporate banking and trade finance for Latin America at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in New York, says, "It's back to basics. Most of the banks not actively present in the region on a lending basis tend to go back to the core clients they know well and cross sell to these clients and basically support them. It's all relationship-driven and not driven by looking for a new customer base. [Banks] are more risk-conscious and they are driving pricing upward." Richard Tull, one of the founders of the online trade finance marketplace LTP, says, "Argentina...

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