Monday, June 14, 2010

BIS reports Bank Exposure to Euro area countries facing market pressure

by Bill McBride on 6/14/2010 09:02:00 AM

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) put out the BIS Quarterly Review, June 2010 yesterday. As part of the review, the BIS estimated the exposures of banks by nationality to the residents of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain:

As of 31 December 2009, banks headquartered in the euro zone accounted for almost two thirds (62%) of all internationally active banks’ exposures to the residents of the euro area countries facing market pressures (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain). Together, they had $727 billion of exposures to Spain, $402 billion to Ireland, $244 billion to Portugal and $206 billion to Greece (Graph 3).

French and German banks were particularly exposed to the residents of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. At the end of 2009, they had $958 billion of combined exposures ($493 billion and $465 billion, respectively) to the residents of these countries. This amounted to 61% of all reported euro area banks’ exposures to those economies. French and German banks were most exposed to residents of Spain ($248 billion and $202 billion, respectively), although the sectoral compositions of their claims differed substantially. French banks were particularly exposed to the Spanish non-bank private sector ($97 billion), while more than half of German banks’ foreign claims on the country were on Spanish banks ($109 billion). German banks also had large exposures to residents of Ireland ($177 billion), more than two thirds ($126 billion) of which were to the non-bank private sector.

French and German banks were not the only ones with large exposures to residents of euro area countries facing market pressures. Banks headquartered in the United Kingdom had larger exposures to Ireland ($230 billion) than did banks based in any other country. More than half of those ($128 billion) were to the non-bank private sector. UK banks also had sizeable exposures to residents of Spain ($140 billion), mostly to the non-bank private sector ($79 billion). Meanwhile, Spanish banks were the ones with the highest level of exposure to residents of Portugal ($110 billion). Almost two thirds of that exposure ($70 billion) was to the non-bank private sector.
Exposure to Greece, Portugal, Spain Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the exposure of bank by nationality to the risky countries.

The bailout of the risky countries is very much a bailout of the banks - especially the banks of Germany and France.

The BIS puts the numbers in perspective:
The exposures of BIS reporting banks to the public sectors of the euro area countries facing market pressures can be put into perspective by comparing them with these banks’ capital. The combined exposures of German, French and Belgian banks to the public sectors of Spain, Greece and Portugal amounted to 12.1%, 8.3% and 5.0%, respectively, of their joint Tier 1 capital. By comparison, the combined exposures of Italian, Dutch and Swiss banks to the same public sectors were equal to 2.8%, 2.7% and 2.0%, respectively, of their Tier 1 capital. Those ratios stood at 3.4%, 1.2% and 0.7%, respectively, for Japanese banks and 2.0%, 0.8%, and 0.7%, respectively, for UK banks. The exposures of US banks to each of the above public sectors amounted to less than 1% of their Tier 1 capital.
It is the German and French banks that are most at risk.

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