STXNEWS LATAM-Banco do Brasil sees demand for infrastructure loans

Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:47pm EDT

State-run Banco do Brasil SA, the nation's largest lender by assets, sees demand for infrastructure-related lending among its clients at 330 billion reais ($151 billion), Paulo Rogerio Caffarelli, senior vice president for wholesale, private and international banking, said at an event in Rio de Janeiro. Caffarelli said Brazil might need a total 1.5 trillion reais in loans for roads, ports, airports and other infrastructure over the next few years, of which about 900 billion reais are likely to help fund oil and gas exploration in the country.

Brazil's government is pushing to create an attractive environment for infrastructure spending in an economy that has struggled over the past three years. The government expects $90 billion in annual investments through 2017 to help Brazil overcome soaring logistics costs and overheads for farmers and exporters. Currently, a small part of the banking system's loan book goes to fund the construction of dams, ports and roads, with state development bank BNDES assuming a bigger part of that lending segment in Latin America's largest economy.

"We have ample room to expand loans in the area," Caffarelli said. Banco do Brasil's loan book stood at 638.5 billion reais at the end of June.

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