The export credit agency (ECA) of Ukraine insured loans for exports worth more than Hrn1bn (US$27.1mn) for the first time last month, as the agency continues to increase the scale of its support for trade from the war-torn country.

In July, the ECA insured a total of Hrn1.035bn in “obligations of exporters on loans issued for the implementation of foreign economic agreements”, it says.

The milestone represents a significant uptick compared to last year’s figures, when the ECA said it was targeting coverage of Hrn2bn-worth of exports by the end of the year.

The Ukrainian ECA was founded in 2018, began operations in 2022 and in 2021 covered Hrn12.5mn in financing for exporters.

A total of 10 exporters were supported across the country. The largest individual loan, for Hrn20mn, was issued in Kyiv.

The three banks that have provided the most in loans in 2022/23 are two major Ukrainian banks, Oschadbank and Ukrgasbank, and Vienna-headquartered Raiffeisen Bank. They issued loans of Hrn256.3mn, Hrn229mn and Hrn210mn, respectively, financing exports worth a total of Hrn5.33bn.

This brings the total value of ECA-supported exports to Hrn6.23bn, covering loans worth Hrn815.4mn, the agency says.

The ECA also released figures on loans specific to the food industry, revealing that as of August 1, 2023, it has insured 33 loans worth Hrn398.3mn issued to exporters from the sector.

Supported exports from the food industry for 2022/23 total Hrn1.55bn, almost a quarter of the total exports supported by the ECA.

Raiffeisen, Ukrgasbank and Oschadbank issued the largest loans to food producers, while Creditwest backed Hrn121.2mn in food exports, despite only beginning its partnership with the ECA in July.

In July, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement that saw the safe shipment of grain from Ukraine, and so far no new deal has been successfully negotiated.

The news also comes weeks after the Ukrainian central bank said it was removing a ban on ECA-backed loan repayments, put in place amid Russia’s invasion of the country.

The National Bank of Ukraine had barred the repayment of principal and interest on loans from foreign lenders. Following the invasion, several ECAs suspended coverage for Ukrainian trade, and some claimed the ban on overseas payments was the reason.

While several countries, including Canada, the UK and the US, kept their coverage and credit limits for exports to Ukraine, in September 2022 the agency asked ECAs to restore their pre-war coverage limits.