Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

Europe Banks May Face $27 Billion Energy-Loan Losses, BofA Says

  • Sum amounts to 6% of three years worth of pretax profit
  • Analysts say stock prices are discounting even worse losses

European banks face potential loan losses from energy firms of $27 billion, or about 6 percent of their pretax profit over three years, according to analysts at Bank of America Corp.

“We believe European banks with large exposures to energy and commodities lending will be increasingly challenged over these positions by shareholders,” analysts Alastair Ryan and Michael Helsby wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. “While long-term oil- and metal-price forecasts are well above current levels, we expect the equity market to continue to stress exposures to current market prices and deduct potential losses from the earnings multiple of the banks.”

The $27 billion estimate is “potentially a smaller figure than is implied in the share prices of a number of banks,” and lenders’ potential losses aren’t a threat to the capitalization of the banking system or its ability to provide credit to the economy, they wrote.

European banks are getting walloped by the global market rout and plunge in global oil prices while struggling to bolster their capital buffers amid record low interest rates in the euro zone. The 46-member Stoxx Europe 600 Banks Index has lost about 27 percent this year, outpacing the 15 percent drop by the wider Stoxx 600.

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