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Commodities Revenue at Top Banks in Europe Declines 20%

Commodities revenue at the European units of the world’s top 10 investment banks dropped 20 percent in the first half from a year earlier, according to Coalition.

The total shrank to $1.6 billion from $1.97 billion due to lack of volatility, losses and “poor client activity,” Coalition, a London-based research company, said today. Commodity revenue at their U.S. units declined 42 percent to $760 million from $1.3 billion at the same time, it said.

Top banking branches in Asia are the only region expanding in commodities revenue, as demand for raw materials increases. Revenue advanced 9 percent to $380 million in the Asia-Pacific region in the first six months, Coalition said last month. China overtook the U.S. as the top energy consumer in 2009 and its share of copper demand doubled to 40 percent since 2005, International Energy Agency and Barclays Plc estimates show.

“The main issue for the banks in Europe and U.S. is the low volatility within the energy products, and on top of that very low client activity and some asset outflows from the commodity investor products,” George Kuznetsov, head of research and analysis at Coalition, said in a phone interview from London today. “The metals business from our perspective is doing slightly better and part of that is precious metals which we see improving.”

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