ASEAN plans to join China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) in setting up a multibillion-dollar bond-guarantee fund so firms can more easily raise capital and invest in the region, said “The Nation” newspaper of Thailand on July 20.

“China, Japan and RoK, have already committed to contributing to the fund with an initial investment of about 1 billion USD," a source told the newspaper.

The source said officials from the three nations have said their governments were willing to pitch in. Due to their large foreign-exchange reserves, they would not find it difficult to finance the fund, the source said, adding that the fund would be designed to enhance the credit rating of corporate bonds issued by local firms.

Finance ministers from the 10 ASEAN members and three East Asian countries assigned the Asian Development Bank to study the bond guarantee mechanism.

The bond-guarantee fund will be submitted to the summit of ASEAN leaders and their counterparts (ASEAN+3) in Phuket in October.

ASEAN and the three countries have already agreed to create a multilateral currency swap mechanism worth 120 billion USD. The establishment of the bond-guarantee fund will be an another landmark agreement.

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam./.