U.S. Export-Import Bank's Asian Financial Exposure

NSIAD-98-150R: Published: Apr 17, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1998.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the United States Export-Import Bank's (Eximbank) financial exposure in Asian nations that have experienced financial difficulties linked to the region's recent economic crisis, focusing on the: (1) extent of the Eximbank's financial exposure in Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia and what the Eximbank is doing to manage the exposure; and (2) status of Eximbank's 1998 fiscal year subsidy budget in view of the Asian crisis.

GAO noted that: (1) the Eximbank's financial exposure in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia totalled just over $9 billion as of December 31, 1997--about 17 percent of its total exposure of $52.2 billion; (2) the Eximbank also has $7.6 billion in pending or potential additional exposure in these nations; (3) Eximbank officials report that to manage the Eximbank's Asian exposure they are closely monitoring projects that are experiencing potential problems in several of these nations; (4) specific efforts include organizing visits to the region by senior Eximbank officials preparing internal studies on banks in two nations and applying revised risk ratings to its existing portfolio and new business done in the region; (5) the Eximbank currently projects that its 1998 fiscal year subsidy budget will be expended by late June or early July; (6) Eximbank officials attribute this situation to a smaller appropriation in 1998 and deals carried over from the previous fiscal year rather than to increased costs associated with Asian transactions; (7) the Eximbank's board considered, but declined to act on, several options for dealing with its budgetary shortfall earlier this year; and (8) the Eximbank's board is receiving monthly updates on the agency's budgetary status and will reconsider options to address any shortfall in July.

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