China’s top lenders tout limited exposure to western banking crisis

China’s greatest banks say they’ve escaped unscathed from the monetary disaster within the US and Europe, following the collapse of Silicon Valley Financial institution and Credit score Suisse.

China’s prime lenders — Industrial and Industrial Financial institution of China, China Building Financial institution, Agricultural Financial institution of China and Financial institution of China — have all reported there was no direct harm to their books from final month’s emergency rescue of Credit score Suisse by UBS and failures within the US banking sector.

“Even from an oblique or spillover impact perspective, the affect [to China’s banking sector] could be very restricted,” mentioned Ji Zhihong, vice-president of the nation’s second-largest financial institution CCB at a briefing final week, when all the principle banks reported sturdy earnings.

China’s banks and different monetary establishments are nonetheless reporting to regulators the outcomes of stress-testing in opposition to what they see as a possible minefield of recent dangers that features publicity to European and regional US banks. In line with workers finishing up the checks, solely restricted publicity has been discovered.

The scrutiny highlights lingering market considerations over Chinese language banks’ money administration and liquidity in opposition to the backdrop of rising geopolitical stress and monetary system turbulence.

Zhang Yi, vice-president of Financial institution of China, which has the biggest quantity of international publicity, mentioned that whereas his financial institution had not been hit by the disaster, it nonetheless deliberate to regulate offshore property and deposits.

“It doesn’t matter what the explanations have been for the problematic international establishments, it will definitely leads to stress and runs on deposits . . . we’ll make it possible for maturity and pricing between property and deposits has no large mismatch,” he mentioned.

The most important lesson for China’s monetary system planners and regulators is to not “create the atmosphere” that places banks into an identical place as SVB and Credit score Suisse, mentioned Chen Lengthy, co-founder of Beijing-based analysis firm Plenum.

“The novel change of financial coverage is a really dangerous thought. If it’s important to increase rates of interest by 300 [basis points] in a yr, that’s positively going to trigger a number of pressure on the banking system. Some banks, if they’re properly managed, have methods to arrange. However not everyone seems to be properly managed.”

ICBC, the world’s greatest financial institution, reported internet revenue of Rmb360bn ($52bn) for 2022, up 3.5 per cent on the prior yr. The opposite prime banks reported equally strong — or higher — revenue development.

The web curiosity margin, a key gauge of financial institution profitability, remained regular or eased barely for the highest banks, suggesting resilience of their credit score books.

The outcomes got here regardless of subdued financial development in China and through an unprecedented downturn and excessive ranges of company debt within the property sector, a significant driver of the financial system.

The banking disaster has dented China’s religion within the knowledge of regulators in Europe and the US. Chinese language regulators had been following measures reminiscent of requiring banks to arrange “dwelling wills” after chapter or takeover occasions.

“The framework of regulating banks globally now appears to be like inadequate a minimum of,” Chen mentioned.

“The irony is that the Swiss are seen as leaders in find out how to regulate banks. Then Credit score Suisse, the [country’s] second-largest financial institution failed,” he added.

Regardless of higher than anticipated monetary outcomes, China’s prime lenders every warned of persistent dangers, stemming largely from the property sector.

At CCB, the non-performing mortgage ratio for property practically doubled yr on yr. China’s actual property sector has been rocked by a sequence of developer bond and mortgage defaults, as stringent debt management on the true property sector choked the business’s liquidity traces.

“The property sector will take time to get well, so the hangover on asset high quality will final for some time,” mentioned Liu Jiandong, chief danger officer on the Financial institution of China.


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