Asia May Cut Off French Banks: Report


Banks in Asia are reviewing their credit lines to French banks as concerns about France’s exposure to peripheral euro zone debt mounts, according to a Reuters report.

One bank in Singapore has cut off funding to large French banks because of perceived risks in lending to counterparties, the report said, citing the head of treasury risk management.

The report did not identify which French banks were being cut.

Five other banks in Asia also said that they were reviewing their counterparty risk and examining whether they should cut their exposure to European banks, according to Reuters.

While they may not cut all exposure to any particular institution, they were careful about taking new trading positions.

Markets took another hit on Wednesday amid rumours that France might lose its AAA rating, though it was later denied by the rating agencies. Shares of Societe Generale(SCGLY) fell 15% on Wednesday and werevolitale on Thursday, even after CEO Frederic Oudea discredited rumours about its financial health.

In the U.S., the latest quarterly 10Q filings of the big four have provided more details about the total exposure to the troubled nations of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain (GIIPS). JPMorgan Chase(JPM) said aggregate next exposure was $14 billion, with sovereigns, mostly Spain, accounting for 26% of its net exposure.

Citigroup(C) said its net exposure was $13.5 billion and that it had unfunded exposure of $9 billion.

The banks have so far maintained that their exposures to Europe were manageable. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a conference call that the bank remained committed to the region, including the GIIPS. “We have a big business in those countries and we intend to be in those countries for a long time, so we’re not going to cut and run,” he said.

At that time, Dimon did not see a big impact for other European nations. “The real impact of failures over there would be on what does it do to the global economy, what does it do to other exposures in Europe, what does it do to, you know, exposures in the United States. And you can guess as well as I can. I don’t expect it will be a disaster for French and German banks. Obviously there are exposures in France and Germany and elsewhere, but I think those things will probably all be fine.”

This post originally appeared at The Street.