With a total asset value of some $105bn bank financing to Greek shipping continues to contract, but at a slower rate.
At the beginning of 2019 the overall bank lending to Greek shipping stood at $53.18bn down 1.15% from the $53.99bn at the start of 2018 and the $57.21bn at the end of 2016.
Ted Petropoulos, founder of Petrofin Bank Research, notes in the company¹s 18th annual survey of developments in Greek ship finance, that drawn loans are down only 1.12% compared to 3.69% and 5.34% in the previous two years respectively. Further, commitments seem to have slowed their declining trend and in 2018 were down 8.8% compared to a drop of 30.30.63% in 2017 and 38% in 2016.
Despite the country's ongoing economic woes, Greek banks continue the upward trend of lending that “started in 2017 and their portfolios are up by 8.03%,” noted Petropoulos. Eurobank is leading in terms of growth with an increase of 20.73%.
“All banks show growth and this year we have added two more banks into the group, both based in Cyprus. Traditionally, we have always included Cypriot banks in the Greek group,” said Petropoulos.
Of the Greek banks, Piraeus bank is up 3.27%, Alpha 5.17%, National Bank of Greece 1.05% as Greek banks¹ share of Greek ship finance has gone up to 18.47% from 16.84% in 2018, 15.25% in 2016 and 14.63% in 2015. “This is a resilient performance by Greek banks despite continuing domestic problems and underlines the commitment of Greek banks to shipping,” said Petropoulos.
International banks with a Greek presence continued to reduce their exposure, in 2018 by 14.13%, compared to 10.52% in 2017, 6.5% in 2016, 4.96% in 2015. HSBC and BNP Paribas are the only two which showed growth.
It is interesting to see international banks that do not have a presence in Greek have risen for the first time since 2015, by 6.34%, compared to a 2% decline in 2017.
The number of banks involved in Greek ship finance has gone up to 52 from 51. One time top player RBS is not featured anymore and there are two new entries: Bank of Cyprus and Hellenic Bank. Credit Suisse remains in the top position with an increased portfolio by almost 13%, overturning last year's reduction of when its portfolio fell 4.17%.
The top 10 Greek ship financing banks have reversed last year's reduction and show a small increase of 1.14% and their share of the total Greek portfolio has gone up to 57.69% from 56.17% in 2017 and 55.19% in 2016. This is understandable, as these banks are those that are committed to shipping. European banks still account for the vast majority of total loans at 76.9%, down from 78.70% in 2017, 81.04% in 2016. For the year 2015, they held 81.23% of the total Greek portfolio, compared to 85.44% in 2014 and 90% the year before.
The Lead Managers are up by 9.21%, turning round last year's drop of 29.32%. Petropoulos concluded: “Forward commitments, which by definition show the position of trust in the future of Greek shipping, continue their downward slide down to $2bn from $2.4bn last year and $3.55bn in 2016. Forward commitments to new buildings are down by -18.09% showing that there is less emphasis in newbuilding finance, compared to second hand vessel finance.”