German and French banks most exposed to eurozone debt, study shows

15 June 2010

Financial institutions in Germany and France are the most at risk from the ailing economies of debt-laden states within the eurozone, a new report has revealed.

Findings from a study by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) revealed that banks from the two nations had a joint total of $958 billion in exposure towards the public debt of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland.

France had $493 billion while Germany $465 billion of exposure to the economies, the study revealed.

The figure is the equivalent to almost two-thirds of the $1.58 trillion total exposure to the ailing domestic financial systems of these states.

In the report, the BIS said: “Global financial markets were highly volatile from mid-April to early June asfiscal concerns and the risk of weaker growth caused investor confidence to deteriorate rapidly.

“Investor worries about unsustainable fiscal positions crystallised around the problems of Greece and other euro area sovereigns.”

Further findings from the research showed that UK banks possessed the largest amount of exposure to Ireland with $230 billion in claims.

Financial institutions based in Spain had the highest level of exposure to Portugal’s public debt.

By Jim Ottewill

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