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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Backs Local Loans By Citibank

WASHINGTON -- The United States' Overseas Private Investment Corporation on Friday agreed to back $150 million of Citigroup Inc. unit Citibank's lending projects in Russia and other former Soviet states.

It is the third time this year that Citibank and OPIC have signed such pacts, which have set up lending facilities in Latin America and Pakistan.

"In every corner of the globe, the growth of private enterprise depends on the availability of banking capital, which is typically difficult to obtain in emerging markets," OPIC chief executive Peter Watson said in a statement.

OPIC was established by the U.S. government in 1971 to help U.S. companies invest overseas.

The most recent agreement covers lending in Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The Russian subsidiary of Citibank on Friday agreed to provide metals giant Norilsk Nickel with a $30 million short-term loan for 12 months, Citibank chief treasurer Alexander Popov said.

The loan, at a rate of LIBOR plus 3.5 percent, is to be used for the replenishment of Norilsk Nickel's working capital and for financing nonferrous metals production and export, Popov said.

Norilsk Nickel accounts for about 20 percent of the world's nickel output, 40 percent of the world's palladium output, 24 percent of platinum output, 20 percent of rhodium output and 6 percent and 3 percent of global cobalt and copper production, respectively.

The company exported 177,400 metric tons of nickel and 422,000 tons of copper last year.

The company plans to keep its nickel exports unchanged and to reduce its copper exports in 2002.

(Reuters, Prime-Tass)