Standard Chartered has pledged US$1bn in financing to companies who can provide goods and services that will help in the “fight” against coronavirus.

As part of the package, the bank will provide funding to manufacturers and distributors in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers, with goods in line for support including ventilators, face masks, protective equipment, sanitisers and other consumables.

In a statement, Standard Chartered notes: “The bank intends to provide, at preferential rates, at least US$1bn of financing to those companies in the form of loans, import/export finance or the working capital facilities that they use for day-to-day business operations to help them tool up, and help existing manufacturers get their products to market.”

Non-medical firms that are actively working to change their manufacturing output to produce essential goods can also apply.

Simon Cooper, CEO of corporate, commercial and institutional banking at Standard Chartered says: “Clearly there’s a cost for companies to switch into these hugely in-demand items, so it’s an area where we can help them get up and running more quickly. At the same time, we want to make sure that existing manufacturers and service providers get the support they need.”

Cooper adds that by assessing the bank’s client base, Standard Chartered is trying to identify companies that haven’t yet said they will add anti-virus products to their output, but who might have the capability to.

However, any companies looking to receive financing will need to have received regulatory approvals to manufacture the goods first, the bank says.

The move is part of a global effort on the part of banks and financial institutions (FIs) to provide financing for medical supplies and health systems, with a host of government-backed FIs making similar commitments in the past month.

Last week the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) approved a US$3bn facility to help its member countries weather the economic and health impacts of Covid-19. One of the key aims of that agreement was to provide emergency trade finance facilities for the import of medical supplies and medical equipment into Africa.

Meanwhile in March, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) announced US$300mn in trade financing support to enable its members to purchase emergency Covid-19 preparedness-related medical equipment and supplies.

That followed an announcement by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which made US$200mn available through its existing supply chain finance programme to companies involved in manufacturing and distributing goods needed to combat the virus.