Supplier’s Credit is a structure of financing Import into India. In this structure, overseas suppliers or financial institutions outside India provide financing to importer on Libor linked rates against Usance letter of credit (LC). Supplier’s credit internationally is also known as Usance Payable at Sight (UPAS) structure.
Earlier article “Types of Swift Message used in Letter of Credit and Suppliers Credit” discussed details related to Category 7 message. This article further explore MT700 used for Letter of Credit Issuance. This will help importers understand various fields in MT700, related UCP 600 reference etc.
SWIFT system is used for Bank to Bank communication and Bank to Corporate communication. There are different type of Swift messages format related to specific purpose. This article focuses on Category 7 message.
Supplier’s Credit is a structure of financing Import into India. In this structure, overseas suppliers or financial institutions outside India provide financing to importer on Libor linked rates against Usance letter of credit (LC). Importer and Overseas Bank will have to follow below process
As per revised guidelines, RBI has allowed resident importer to raise trade credit in Rupees (INR) within below framework after entering into a loan agreement with the overseas lender:
The trigger for this topic is a question that a reader asked:
We have a processing facility of granite. Can we use buyers credit for consumables (our banker refusing for consumables). As per them only raw material is allowed for buyer credit
Incase of raw material imports, RBI had delegated approving powers to Authorised Dealers (Banks) for Trade Credit (Buyers Credit / Suppliers Credit) for a tenure upto 1 year from the date of shipment. Bank’s based on internal policies decided customerwise tenure. Because of variation in policies between banks, few importers used buyers credit for arbitrage.
Further to article published below, RBI received suggestion from merchanting traders and trade bodies, based on which guidelines on merchanting trade transactions have been further reviewed on 28th March 2014 and with effect from 17th January 2014. Summary of the changes are given below.
In earlier article “Trade Credit Extended Upto 5 Years for Infrastructure Firms” we had seen that RBI had allowed buyers credit to infrastructure firms till 5 years subject to conditions.
The trigger for this topic is a question that a reader asked:
Question : What are the RBI guidelines for availing Letter of credit facility and/or buyers credit facility for the import of second hand capital goods? Is it possible for a company to avail these facilities for second hand machinery?
Using Swift Codes Banks and Financial Institutions send and receive swift messages. But there must have been times where you might have come across your bankers coming back to you stating that they do not have swift key arrangement with buyers credit bank. Thus they will not be able to send Letter of Undertaking (LOU) / Letter of Comfort (LOC) authenticated swift message (MT799) to buyers credit bank. Below article gives a brief about why situation arise.
Importers banking with Co operative Bank’s both AD Category and Non AD Category, face issues with arranging buyers credit because
- In case of AD Category Co operative Bank: Limited Lines in International Market or No Lines
- Non AD Category Co operative Bank: They cannot deal directly in Import or Export transaction but have to route the transaction through tie up bank.
In the circular issued on 11th July 2013, RBI has made following two changes in relation to Trade Credit transactions:
- Period of Trade Credit (Buyers Credit / Suppliers Credit) should be linked to the operating cycle and trade transaction.
- All in cost ceiling of 6 Month L+ 350 bps will continue to be applicable till September 30, 2013 and is subject to review thereafter.
LIBOR scandal was discussed in the earlier articles like Pushing the reset button on LIBOR – Speech by Martin Wheatley and Impact of Libor Review on Trade Finance in India .
In earlier articles, we had seen that, banks are permitted by RBI to approve Suppliers’ and Buyers’ Credit (Trade Credit) including the usance period of Letters of Credit opened for Import of gold in any form including jewelery made of gold/ precious metal and or studded with diamonds /semi precious /precious stone not exceeding 90 days from the date of shipment.
Myanmar has been under various international economic sanction for more than a decade, which has crippled its international trade. Below article gives a background of economic sanctions on Myanmar, recent relaxations in these sanctions and what will be its likely impact on trade finance from Indian importers perspective.
What is High Sea Sales ?
High Sea Sales (HSS) is a sale carried out by the carrier document consignee to another buyer while the goods are yet on high seas or after their dispatch from the port/airport of origin and before their arrival at the port/ airport of destination.
In earlier article we had discussed about WHT on Buyers credit. This article answers questions related to withholding tax on suppliers credit.
Note: Post this article there are changes in maturities for which libor is issued. This article might now be relevant for long tenure transactions (12 Months and Above). Refer link for more details on change in Libor: Change in LIBOR Tenures and Impact on Trade Finance
Banks and Importers consider various factors before going for Buyers Credit transaction for more than 6 months tenure. One such factor is buyers credit with 6 Month Libor Reset option. The below article elaborates on these factors.
After the expiry of deadline of 30-09-2012, there was a prolonged uncertainty for last 9 days on what is the all in cost ceiling for Trade Credit (Buyers Credit / Suppliers Credit). Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a clarification or revised circular today clarifying the same. Summary of the same is given below
- Maximum Interest cap for Upto 5 Years : 6 Month Libor + 350 bps. This rate has been referred in it circular 11-09-2012 (Link given below)
- Until further review, the rate remains same. Thus, this time there is no deadline set for the review of the above rate to avoid any slippage like above.
In earlier articles on Buyers Credit on Import of Gold and Import of Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Silver, as stated, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had permitted banks to approve Suppliers and Buyers Credit (Trade Credit) including the usance period of Letters of Credit for import of rough, cut and polished diamonds, for a period not exceeding 90 days, from the date of shipment.
From Importer’s Perspective
There are various reasons because of which an importer would like to make a pre-payment of buyers credit. Such as:
- USD-INR rate in favour of importer post buyers credit is taken.
- Buyers credit is taken by way of keeping Fixed deposit as security and now importer wishes to free cash.
- Importer wishes to free Non Funds based limits for other use.
- Any other such reasons.
EURO based buyers credit is currently funded by most of the banks using EURIBOR which is issued by European Banking Federation and ACI. A similar rate is issued by British Banking Association known as EUR Libor but is not often used by bankers for funding buyers credit transactions.
What is OFAC Sanctions ?
- The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is an office of the Treasury Department of United States of America (US).
- OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, organizations, entities, and individuals.
- Regulations issued under Trading With the Enemy Act (50 U.S.C. App.§§ 1-44) or by the US President under authority delegated under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
- The OFAC sanctions programs are implemented through restrictions on imports and exports, prohibitions on financial transactions, freezing of assets, and other means.
Considering the specific needs of the Infrastructure sector, RBI under its circular External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) – Bridge Finance for Infrastructure Dated 23-09-2011, reviewed the ECB policy. An amendment was made in this policy on 21-09-2012. Brief summary is given below:
Earlier articles on Buyer’s Credit have provided details on total cost involved like, Interest cost, libor, lou charges, forwarding booking cost, arrangement fee, and others.
This article provides details on how interest cost (margin) is arrived at by Indian Bank Overseas Branches or Foreign Bank.
Type of transaction where buyer’s credit cannot be done
- Incase of local trade
- Advance payment for Imports: Buyers Credit for any amount paid as advance either part or full is not allowed as RBI Caster Circular on External Commercial Borrowing and Trade Credit. Inference has to drawn the above circular. Circular says maximum tenure allowed for buyers credit from the date of shipment is (shipped on board date) upto 360 days in case of raw material and upto 3 years in case capital goods. Any Advance Payment always done before shipment of goods. And thus not allowed.
- Not allowed for import of services
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its circular dated 28-08-2008 had revised guidelines for Import of Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium and Silver. Extracts of the circular are given below.
Suppliers’ and Buyers’ credit, including the usance period of Letters of Credit opened for import of Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium and Silver should not exceed 90 days from the date of shipment. The revised directions will come into force with immediate effect.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its circular dated 06-05-2011 has revised guidelines for import of Rough, Cut and Polished Diamonds. Extracts are given below.
Supplier’s Credit and Buyer’s Credit (Trade Credit) including the usance period of Letter of Credit (LC) opened for import of rough, cut and polished diamonds has been restricted to 90 days from the date of shipment from immediate effect.
Person / Firm who co ordinates with Indian Overseas Branches or Foreign Bank and arranges best possible quote for transactions. They do not directly represent any of these bank. They are also known as Buyers Credit Brokers & Buyers Credit Agents
|Criteria||Buyers Credit||Suppliers Credit|
|Mode of Payment||Can be used for payment mode like LC, LC usance, DA, DP, & Direct Doc||Can be used only in case of LC transactions|
|LC Clauses||No additional clauses or Amendment is required in LC||At the time of opening LC or amending LC clauses given by Suppliers Credit bank needs to be changed. Like Negotiation Clause, Confirmation Clause, Reimbursement Clause|
|Arrangement||Can be arranged after documents have reached the bank or documents are received by importer directly||Has to be arranged at the time of opening LC or before shipment of goods|
|Cost||Interest Cost||LC Advising Cost, LC Amendment Charges, Document Processing Charges, Courier Charges, Conformation Cost and Interest Cost|
What is Supplier’s Credit ?
Supplier’s Credit is a structure of financing import into India. In this structure, overseas suppliers or financial institutions outside India provide financing to importer on Libor linked rates against usance letter of credit (LC).
Updated on 19 October 2016
Trade Credits refer to the credits extended by the overseas supplier, bank and financial institution for maturity up to five years for imports into India. Depending on the source of finance, such trade credits include suppliers’ credit or buyers’ credit. Suppliers’ credit relates to the credit for imports into India extended by the overseas supplier, while buyers’ credit refers to loans for payment of imports into India arranged by the importer from overseas bank or financial institution. Imports should be as permissible under the extant Foreign Trade Policy of the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).