BRICS nations move closer to new joint bank deal, sources

The BRICS emerging market nations moved closer to an agreement on where to base a joint development bank aimed at countering Western dominance over global finances, officials close to the talks said on Tuesday.

Negotiations over the headquarters and first presidency had hit an impasse hours before the BRICS countries' leaders were due to launch the $100 billion bank and a reserves fund of the same size at a summit in the coastal city of Fortaleza.

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The impasse reflected the difficulties that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa face in working together to build an alternative to Western-run multilateral institutions that have shaped world finances since the end of World War II.

Negotiations stalled overnight on a dispute between China and India over who will host the bank, several officials said. China was proposing Shanghai and India pushed for New Delhi.

Watch: The significance of a BRICS development bank

Failure to agree on the headquarters would be an embarrassment for the BRICS, a group better known for its anti-Western rhetoric than agreement on concrete actions to reshape the world's financial architecture.

The officials, who declined to be named because the deal had to be ratified by the BRICS leaders, said positions moved closer late on Tuesday morning.

If the deal falls through, the leaders could still sign off on the bank's creation and decide on its headquarters and president at a later date, the officials said.

The disagreement behind closed doors between the world's most populous nations belied public expressions of cooperation between President Xi Jinping and newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Judging from either bilateral, regional or global perspectives, China and India are long-lasting strategic and cooperative partners, rather than rivals," Xi said after meeting Modi, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Negotiations to create the bank dragged on for more than two years as Brazil and India fought China's attempts to get a bigger share in the lender than the others.

The stark economic and political differences between the BRICS countries have made it difficult for the group to turn rhetoric into concrete action in coordinating policies.

—By Reuters