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Trade finance lures institutions

Hernando Pérez

The $700 billion trade-finance market is one of the few large pools of tradeable fixed-income assets that has not yet attracted the attention of institutional fixed-income investors. Changing that, and propelling the fragmented and illiquid trade-finance market through the same developments that transformed the emerging-market debt market in the 1980s is the ambition of a group of bankers and traders who last month launched Internet Trade Finance Exchange (ITF).

It's a closed online marketplace that aims first to take custody of trade-finance assets in what is called a digital warehouse - for which Deutsche Bank will act as custodian - and then, if its depositors wish, offer these for sale through auctions or via continuous offerings, finally providing settlement and clearing.

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