RPT - World Bank pandemic bond under pressure as coronavirus spreads

Source(s)
Thomson Reuters

By Karin Strohecker

A World Bank bond designed to deliver funding to help the world’s poorest countries to tackle fast-spreading diseases has lost half its value as the coronavirus outbreak in China has fanned fears that investors could face hefty losses.

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After the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak that ravaged Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and killed at least 11,300 people, the World Bank launched bond and insurance instruments under its Pandemic Emergency Financing umbrella in 2017 to establish a mechanism that would speedily deploy funds where needed.

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The bonds, issued by the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), offer investors high coupons in return for the risk of having to forgo some or all their money in the event of pandemic outbreaks of a number of infectious diseases, with the funds channelled instead to countries in need of aid.

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With the coronavirus outbreak having infected more than 74,000 people and claimed more than 2,000 lives, prices for the IBRD pandemic bond with the highest investment risk - the Class B notes - have come under increasing pressure.

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