Stabilised trade and new investment in energy transition have helped generate real growth for export credit, but multiplying risks now threaten the fragile pandemic recovery. Current geopolitical developments and climate change were the main topics of Berne Union's spring meeting last week.

BU Spring Meeting in Istanbul

74 Export Credit Agencies, multilateral institutions, private banks and credit insurers gathered last week in Istanbul for the Berne Union Spring Meeting. The attendees discussed trends and strategic priorities for the industry, primarily related to climate, energy and pandemic recovery.

BU President Michal Ron recaps the current challenges, "As an industry, our most urgent priority is to support businesses through the acute geopolitical and economic stress of the war, widespread inflation and lingering trade disruption. But equally important in the long term is ensuring that we are equipped to tackle the unprecedented structural adjustments driven by climate change and global energy transition."

Business figures at a glance

During the meeting the Berne Union released initial figures for industry performance up to year end 2021:

  • During 2021 the industry provided new cover for USD 2.63 trillion of cross-border trade and investment, plus an additional USD 64 billion domestic cover in support of exports.
  • This aggregate increase of 11% over 2020, and 12% more than in 2019 comes primarily from continued high demand in short-term credit insurance. Due to rising inflation throughout last year, as well as fluctuating exchange rates versus the dollar, the net outcome is a somewhat lower percentage increase.
  • Renewed investment in the areas of transportation, manufacturing and renewable energy are contributing in particular to the recovery of business in the case of medium- and long-term export credits. 
  • Claims remain concentrated in transportation, but broader increases are expected.

About Berne Union (BU)

The Berne Union is the international association of export credit and investment insurers. The 83 members collectively provide payment risk protection equivolent to approximately 13% of annual world trade. OeKB has been a member of the BU since 1954. In the BU, OeKB represents the interests of the Austrian export industry by, among other things, observing the development of the competition, discussing ideas for innovations in products and processes, coordinating the approach to joint projects with other export credit agencies and concluding cooperation agreements.