President Jacob Zuma is welcomed by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the start of the 6th BRICS Summit held at Centro de Eventos do Ceara' in Fortaleza, Brazil. 15/07/2014, Elmond Jiyane, GCIS Photo Studio.

Fortaleza, Brazil - The BRICS bloc leaders had signed a deal yesterday to create a new development bank with an initial capital of about $10 billion (R107bn), officials close to the talks said.

Earlier negotiations over the headquarters and first presidency had hit an impasse hours before the countries’ leaders were due to launch the bank and a $100bn reserves fund at a summit in Fortaleza.

The drawn-out negotiations 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 World War II.

There had been a dispute between China and India over who would host the bank, officials had said.

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 yesterday morning. If details were not decided, they could still sign off on the bank’s creation and decide its headquarters and president at a later date, the officials said.

Trade ministers highlighted the potential for forging closer links between small and medium enterprises in the five countries. They instructed their officials to explore ways to promote co-operation, such as sharing information on regulatory frameworks, promoting business-to-business contacts and identifying the appropriate institutional framework for co-operation. - Reuters