Russia asks Greece to join BRICS bank

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak spoke with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras today, proposed that Greece become 6th member of New Development Bank set up by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, a Greek govt official says in e-mail to reporters.

Meanwhile the $100 billion BRICS development bank will be based in Shanghai, according to its founding agreement, and will be headed by an Indian for the first five years, followed by a Brazilian and then a Russian.

Kundapur Vaman Kamath, a 67-year-old, is the non-executive chairman of India’s second largest bank by asset size, ICICI Bank, and India’s third largest IT firm, Infosys.

Now, Kamath will have another position to tend to: The first head of the BRICS bank.

The bank’s $100 billion capital—with an initial subscribed capital of $50 billion that will be equally shared by all BRICS members—will be used for infrastructure financing and sustainable development project funding within the BRICS nations. Other low- and middle-income countries will be able to access loans.

In February this year, India’s cabinet, headed by prime minister Narendra Modi, approved the establishment of the bank, after founding members sorted out several contentious issues. “The New Development Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development,” the Indian government said in a statement.

The bank, according to the Russian finance ministry, is expected to be fully functional by the end of 2015.

EU paymaster Germany suggested on Monday that Greece might need a referendum to approve painful economic reforms on which its creditors are insisting, but Athens said it had no such plan for now and others warned a vote could delay vital aid.

Greece calmed immediate fears of a default by making a crucial 750 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund a day early. But Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the liquidity situation was “terribly urgent” and a deal to release further funds was needed in the next couple of weeks.

Euro zone finance ministers welcomed some progress in slow-moving talks on a cash-for-reform deal between Athens and the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank but said more work was needed to each a deal.

“We acknowledged that more time and effort are needed to bridge the gaps on the remaining open issues,” they said in a short statement after spending barely an hour on a progress review on the negotiations behind held among senior officials.

Source: Bloomberg/Reuters