HSBC, Asian Development Bank jointly vow $300mn to boost vaccine supply

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The British multinational investment bank HSBC and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will jointly provide $300 million in financing to help Asia’s supply chains to enhance manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines.

The new funding is in line with a risk-sharing scheme that both the banks launched last year to give financial help to suppliers of personal protective equipment as both the distributors and vaccine makers race to meet global demand that outstrips supply.

By relying on the ADB’s sovereign-level credit rating, private sector lenders like HSBC can give financial support more easily to companies in the complex chain of vaccine supply production.

“Right now demand for vaccines far outstrips supply and one of the challenges is that supply and distribution networks have to be formed, which requires a lot of liquidity,” Surath Sengupta, global head of financial institutions at HSBC, said.

According to Mr. Sengupta, the lenders will offer funds through trade loans and invoice financing among other tools, as countries across Asia try to reduce the usual multi-year time scale needed to deploy large-scale vaccination programs.

Vaccination is widely varied in Asian countries as governments deal with limited supplies, rapidly rising demand and political tussle to secure doses.

Leaders of the US, India, Australia and Japan has agreed to pool financing, manufacturing and distribution capacity to send 1 billion coronavirus vaccines across Asia by the end of 2022, according to the statement of India’s foreign secretary.

HSBC is also adopting various new measures internally to adapt to the new normal. Earlier this year, it announced cutting down its London office space by 40 percent in the coming years as it plans to adopt a hybrid working model for staff in the latest signal of how the pandemic is changing workplace trends.

Related: COVAX vaccine reached over 100 countries in 6 weeks after first supply