by Gayane Isahakyan
In 2013 HSBC Bank Armenia increased its trade financing portfolio by 14% to 18bln AMD or $44.4mln, Head of the Bank's Trade Finance Department Kamo Margaryan said at a trade financing workshop on Monday.
He said that 90% of the portfolio were import deals, which reflects the structure of Armenia's foreign trade, where imports are almost four times bigger than exports.
Margaryan said that in Q1 2014 the volume of the bank's import letters of credit almost tripled. He specified that since Apr 2013 HSBC Bank Armenia has provided customers with documentary letters of credit for import of equipment. The maturity of the letters was 30 months, the interest rate 7%. As of today, the bank has provided 60 such letters worth a total of $18mln.
Margaryan said that the current Trade Financing Academy workshop is focused on cooperation with Germany. "Last year we registered a 25% growth in our trade financing deals with Germany. HSBC Group is currently enlarging its branch network in Germany, which is a good basis for more active use of trade financing instruments in Armenian- German trade relations. Germany is Armenia's leading EU partner and has the third biggest trade turnover with us," Margaryan said.
According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in 2013 Armenia's trade turnover with Germany totaled $370mln, wherein Armenian exports made up $85.6mln and German imports $280.6mln. The trade deficit made up $195mln (21.3% more than in 2012).
The shareholders of HSBC Bank Armenia are HSBC Europe B.V. (70%) and Wings Establishment (30%).