REFILE-Singapore launches agency to broker Asian infrastructure deals

(Refiles to amend name in paragraph six to conform with convention)

SINGAPORE, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Singapore has launched a government agency on Tuesday to support infrastructure projects across Asia, which need billions of dollars in funding, and make them more appealing to financial institutions and private investors.

The global financial hub’s decision to position itself as a broker for regional infrastructure investment came in after China ramped up efforts to fund and build transport and trade links in dozens of countries as part of its Belt-and-Road Initiative.

Flagged earlier this year, Singapore’s ‘Infrastructure Asia’ agency will be led by its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Enterprise Singapore, an arm of the trade ministry.

Asia is estimated to face an investment gap of $460 billion annually for infrastructure, according to estimates from the Asian Development Bank. Analysts say some governments have struggled to prepare infrastructure deals in a way that is ‘bankable’ and attracts private sector investment.

“With better knowledge, skills and resources, we can improve project feasibility and bankability, enabling project leads to become viable commercial projects,” said Seth Tan Keng Hwee, executive director at Infrastructure Asia.

The agency would work closely with the private sector, governments and commercial and development banks, Tan said. (Reporting by John Geddie, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)