Colonial First’s Halmarick Says Europe at Risk of Bank Crisis

Stephen Halmarick, Sydney-based head of investment markets research at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which oversees about $150 billion, commented on Europe’s debt crisis in a Bloomberg TV interview today with Susan Li.

On the potential for a banking crisis:

“The big issue is that if Greece does default in some way, shape or form, banks that hold that debt are going to be under a lot of pressure.

“If we do get a continuation of this sovereign-debt crisis, the risk really is that we’re going to end up with a banking crisis, or certainly a situation where interbank funding is severely limited. Clearly, financial markets are going to be worried about that.

“The leaders in Europe are pretty determined to avoid that outcome.

“I’m pretty sure the politicians are aware of what the stakes are here. Let’s hope we learnt the lessons from that episode in late 2008, and that the politicians, the European Central Bank, and the political system in Europe can actually do something to sort out this issue.”

On investment prospects:

“Clearly, confidence is taking a real hit at the moment and markets are going to continue to struggle. Obviously, the European issue is going to be a big weight.

“Investors will have to get used to a lower return on assets, and portfolios that can handle lots of volatility, can handle rolling concerns about the macroeconomic outlook.”

On China:

“The data coming out of China remains pretty robust. If we look at the Asian part of the world, that’s where most of the world’s growth is going to be. That’s where investors should be looking.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net. Susan Li in Hong Kong at sli31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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