The BIS consolidated international banking statistics - first quarter 2001

Press release  | 
30 July 2001

Consolidated international bank lending increased by about $560 billion (adjusted for exchange rate movements) to $8,239 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2001. German banks were again the most vigorous lenders, with Dutch and French banks also very active. The increase was largely accounted for by interbank business in Europe, but there was a notable surge in lending to the private non-bank sector in the United States.

Although developing countries' external liabilities to banks dropped by almost $17 billion to $857 billion, this was mostly due to exchange rate movements of the euro and yen. On an adjusted basis, claims decreased by only $3 billion. As in the previous quarter, many countries in Asia continued to repay bank debt, while selected borrowers in Latin America obtained only limited new financing. Banks' lending in offshore centres expanded by an adjusted $30 billion to $654 billion, mainly to non-banks.

Lending concentrated on US non-banks

Funds made available through the interbank market supported an increase in lending to non-bank borrowers in the United States in the first quarter of 2001. All of the adjusted $110 billion of external borrowing from banks was undertaken by the US non-bank private sector, half of it short-term. Following an already strong increase in the fourth quarter of 2000, loans to non-banks in the United States in the first quarter surged to 75% of the total increase of the previous year. About 25% of this new lending was guaranteed by entities outside the United States. US borrowers turned to German and Swiss banks for most of their funding, with Japanese and other European banks largely accounting for the remainder.

The expansion of local dollar lending (not included in the international aggregates) also gathered momentum, amounting to $200 billion. This followed an increase of $155 billion in the previous quarter. Most of this activity was driven by Japanese banks.

Since the volume of new equity issues fell sharply in the first quarter of 2001, and some senior US bank loan officers reported tightened standards on commercial and industrial loans to large firms in the first half of 2001, borrowers appear to have turned to foreign banks for alternative financing.

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