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Blazing a trail into new markets

Issuer: World Bank

Amount: $30 billion

Launched: April 15 1994

The World Bank seems intent on living up to its title. Gone are the days when the name was synonymous with monolithic global bonds, conservatively structured in mainstream currencies. The bank's borrowing is now global in the true sense of the word. Sixteen different currencies have already been issued off its global multicurrency note programme this year.

As Andrew Dell, assistant director of emerging market syndicate and head of MTNs at ING Barings observes: "Over the last 18 months there has been a huge shift in the bank's funding policy. The emphasis is now on flexibility and diversity, in currencies, structures and size of issues."

The World Bank's reliance on global bond issues has declined significantly over recent years. In 1995, more than $6 billion of the $8 billion the bank borrowed in international bond markets came from globals. Last year it was $2 billion from a total of $14 billion. This year to date it is only $500 million out of $11.5 billion.

The new-look World Bank has moved much closer to the kind of arbitrage-driven, opportunistic use of its programme that, in the past, the market has associated with other supranational borrowers such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

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