Highlights of the BIS international statistics

14 March 2011

Cross-border lending by BIS reporting banks returned to positive growth in the third quarter of 2010. The aggregate cross-border claims of BIS reporting banks went up by 2.3%, bringing the stock to $31 trillion, still approximately $5 trillion below the peak reached at the end of March 2008.

Lending to emerging markets went up further in the third quarter of 2010. BIS reporting banks' cross-border claims on residents of emerging market economies increased by 6.3%, the sixth rise in a row and a larger one than any of the preceding five. More than half of the increase was directed towards the buoyant economies of the Asia-Pacific region ($84 billion) and well over a quarter ($44 billion) to Latin America-Caribbean. Lending to the emerging European economies rose by $22 billion, the first increase since the failure of Lehman Brothers. As of September 2010, the exposures of all major national banking systems to the Middle East and North Africa were fairly small relative to their aggregate foreign exposures.

Activity in the primary market for international debt securities slowed in the fourth quarter of 2010, reverting to the seasonal pattern observed before the financial crisis. Completed gross issuance fell by 9% quarter on quarter to $1,707 billion between October and December. With stable repayments, net issuance dropped to $293 billion, from $489 billion in the third quarter.

The volume of trade on international derivatives exchanges was higher in the fourth quarter of 2010 than in the previous one. Turnover, measured as the notional amount of traded derivatives contracts, rose by 9% in dollar terms. The bulk of this increase corresponds to a surge in the turnover of short-term dollar interest rate futures. This rose by 29%, reflecting particularly strong trading in November, when the Federal Reserve Board announced its second round of US Treasury bond purchases. A further notable portion of the increase is due to a 38% rise in trading of Korean equity index options. This was partly offset by lower trading of short-term euro interest rate options, which declined by 16%.