The US Export-Import Bank (US Exim) has reopened financing lines for exports to Argentina after 15 years of interruption.

From September 21, the bank is be able to offer financing of up to seven years to both public and private sector companies in the country, and will also consider supporting longer-termed, structured financing. This follows a US government interagency evaluation of country prospects, which found that Argentina’s improved economic and financial environment had led to better repayment prospects.

“As a credit insurer, we’re seeing a lot more transactions in Argentina, both from exporters and from banks who are financing various trade transactions, largely from the US but also some from London. So there is demand in the market,” Jim Thomas, head of credit and political risk at Everest Specialty Underwriters, tells GTR.

“The appetite for Argentina risk is developing, but maybe not to the point where the desire to underwrite Argentina risk is commensurate with the actual demand, which is where I think US Exim will come in and bring a great deal of benefit and utility to the market,” he adds.

While US Exim is still blocked from approving transactions of over US$10mn due to the lack of a complete quorum, this reopening will send a positive message to the market about Argentinean prospects.

There’s a lot of pent-up demand from US exporters and banks to do business in Argentina. Jim Thomas, Everest Specialty Underwriters

The bank identifies aircraft, helicopters, satellites and farm, power, and medical equipment as the most promising sectors for US involvement in the country. It also hopes to capitalise on Argentina’s recent focus on promoting renewable energy.

“Other ECAs have been active there, but just from what we’re seeing as a credit underwriter located in the US, there’s a lot of pent-up demand from US exporters and banks to do business in Argentina. Any increase is noteworthy because it comes from such a low starting point, but many of us are just happy to be able to do deals in Argentina again, and to be active in that market after so many years where it was very difficult to underwrite,” says Thomas.

Before closing its lines for the country, US Exim supported the construction of the Pan-American Highway in the 1940s and 1950s and backed the Entidad Binacional Yacyretá hydroelectric project in Corrientes in 1982.