International lending shows smallest growth in 13 years: BIS

ZURICH (AFP) - Cross-border lending saw its smallest growth in 13 years in the third quarter of 2012, according to a report published on Sunday by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

Between June and September last year, the cross-border lending of banks that report to BIS rose by just US$33 billion (S$41.2 billion), or 0.1 per cent, from the previous quarter.

The BIS, which is sometimes dubbed the central bank of central banks, explained in its quarterly report that the modest increase was driven by lending to non-banks, especially in dollars, British pounds and non-major currencies, which rose by $153 billion, or 1.4 percent.

That positive development was however countered by a fall of US$120 billion, or 0.7 per cent, in cross-border lending to banks.

"Claims denominated in euros fell the most, by US$127 billion," or 3.6 per cent, BIS said.

In its report, the BIS meanwhile noted that cross-border lending had picked up slightly in developed economies, after three consecutive years of contracting.

Britain and the non-banking sector in the United States saw the biggest boost, while international lending shrank in nearly every country within the crisis-hit euro zone.

The BIS also pointed out in a statement that "strong demand from foreign investors led to a surge of activity in emerging corporate bond markets in 2012 and early 2013."

It said that statistics on international debt securities showed that the stock of both financial and non-financial companies headquartered in emerging economies ran to more than US$1.6 trillion by the end of last year.