Asian businesses are feeling more secure thanks to lessons from the global financial slump and recovering U.S. banks. Analysts have admitted that while an all-out Eurozone crisis may affect demand for Asian products, exporters throughout the region are less likely to suffer as much as they did in 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed.
“The importance of trade finance to the global economy is better understodd now than in 2008,” explained Mark Williams of Capital Economics. “One of the factors that contributed to the recovery in 2009 was the $250 billion of trade-finance guarantees announced… In the event of a second global financial crisis, future guarantees are likely to be forthcoming.”
Often compared to the oil that greases a machine, trade finance is a key component in an economy. EU banks’ exposure to it in Asia is surprisingly high, relative to their loans in the region. Williams pointed out, however, that the Bank of International Settlements revealed that Eurozone banks are responsible for a mere 2.3% of total credit in the emerging Asia. Meanwhile, they have a 47.3% share of lending in emerging Europe, and 17.1% in Latin America.
The recent developments in trade finance have encouraged banks to increase interest rates.
“The reality is spreads have gone up fairly significantly- almost to the 2008 peak levels- over the last six weeks… But the higher spreads are here to stay,” said Ravi Saxena of Citibank.