Currencies

China capital curbs reflect buyer’s remorse over market reforms

Last year the reformist head of China’s central bank convinced his Communist party bosses to give market forces a bigger say in setting the renminbi’s daily “reference rate” against the US dollar. In return, Zhou Xiaochuan assured his more conservative party colleagues that the redback would finally secure coveted recognition as an official reserve currency […]

Continue Reading

Banks

Carney: UK is ‘investment banker for Europe’

The governor of the Bank of England has repeated his calls for a “smooth and orderly” UK exit from the EU, saying that a transition out of the bloc will happen, it was just a case of “when and how”. Responding to the BoE’s latest bank stress tests, where lenders overall emerged with more resilient […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

China stock market unfazed by falling renminbi

China’s renminbi slump has companies and individuals alike scrambling to move capital overseas, but it has not damped the enthusiasm of China’s equity investors. The Shanghai Composite, which tracks stocks on the mainland’s biggest exchange, has been gradually rising since May. That is the opposite of what happened in August 2015 after China’s surprise renminbi […]

Continue Reading

Capital Markets

Mnuchin expected to be Trump’s Treasury secretary

Donald Trump has chosen Steven Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary, US media outlets reported on Tuesday, positioning the former Goldman Sachs banker to be the latest Wall Street veteran to receive a top administration post. Mr Mnuchin chairs both Dune Capital Management and Dune Entertainment Partners and has been a longtime business associate of Mr […]

Continue Reading

Banks

Financial system more vulnerable after Trump victory, says BoE

The US election outcome has “reinforced existing vulnerabilities” in the financial system, the Bank of England has warned, adding that the outlook for financial stability in the UK remains challenging. The BoE said on Wednesday that vulnerabilities that were already considered “elevated” have worsened since its last report on financial stability in July, in the […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Banks, Economy

Greek lenders eye Emporiki


Posted on June 29, 2012

Crédit Agricole has received three expressions of interest in Emporiki Bank from local lenders after putting its lossmaking Greek subsidiary up for sale in a move that signalled waning confidence in the country’s future in the eurozone.

Greece’s three biggest lenders – National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Eurobank EFG – indicated they were ready to make competitive offers for Emporiki provided they could get approval from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, an international rescue facility for the country’s banking sector, two banking sources said.

    Crédit Agricole in Paris declined to comment.

    The decision to sell Emporiki, Greece’s fifth largest bank by assets, comes as a blow to the new coalition government that took office last week pledging to keep the country in the eurozone and turn its economy around by 2014.

    Crédit Agricole invited local banks to submit offers for a majority stake in Emporiki earlier this month as fears mounted of a run on Greek banks, according to one source.

    Depositors withdrew more than €10bn ahead of the June 17 general election, although €2bn has since returned, according to finance ministry officials.

    Potential bidders for Emporiki have already asked the HFSF for permission to use part of the €18bn of capital disbursed to the country’s four largest lenders in May as bridge capital to raise their capital adequacy ratio to 8 per cent so that they can regain access to European Central Bank funding.

    The HFSF is expected to hold discussions next week with bidders on details of their offers, one source said.

    But a decision is not likely to be taken until Greek banks are fully recapitalised with a further transfer of €23bn-€25bn from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Credit Agricolehas already taken measures to limit its exposure to Greece – the largest by a European bank – by transferring ownership of Emporiki’s operations in Romania, Bulgaria and Albania to the Paris-listed and mutually controlled bank in France, a move designed to soothe concerns of depositors in those countries.

    It followed a similar path in Argentina a decade ago, suddenly ending transfers to three local Argentine banks that were taken over by the state-owned Banco de la Nación.

    Crédit Agricole has spent more than €5bn since 2006 on acquiring full control of Emporiki and strengthening its capital base, but reduced its funding lines to the bank to €4.6bn from €11.4bn a year ago.

    Additional reporting by Scheherazade Daneshkhu in Paris