Peru’s Central Bank has cut its US dollar deposit requirement for trade finance to 20% from 65%, in an attempt to boost the country’s exports.

The Central Bank’s announcement comes as Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) reported a 16% drop in May’s export figures compared to the same month last year. May’s export figures totalled US$3.369mn.

May’s traditional exports contracted by 23%, as a result of the falling international prices of Peru’s major export commodities, MINCETUR says, which except in the case of gold and fishmeal, have recorded contractions between 11% and 29% compared to May 2011.

The Central Bank’s new rule, which was announced at the beginning of July, hopes to help increase the volume of Peru’s trade and will give exporters and importers better access to US dollar trade finance funding at a more competitive rate.

Antonio Alves, IFC’s principal and head of finance for the Americas, tells GTR that having more flexible and less stringent restrictions on borrowing funds from corresponding banks will enable local banks to offer trade finance loans to Peruvian export and import companies at more appealing terms.

“Two of the issuing banks in the IFC global trade finance programme have already contacted us stating that the demand for our support in Peru will increase considerably in the short term.”

In order to grow its exports, it is expected that local Peruvian banks will look for other competitive sources of US dollar funding.

Alves adds: “The local banks in Peru that are part of our global trade finance programme are trying to diversify their network of correspondent banks with new lenders, more specifically the Asian banks.”

Trade between Peru and China is expected to reach US$15.9bn by the end of this year, Juan Carlos Rios, head of the representative office of Interbank in Shanghai says.