Credit Suisse has retained its top position in Greek ship finance for a fifth straight year, according to Petrofin Bank Research’s latest annual report. Looking at data for 2018, Petrofin tallied Credit Suisse had a dominant $7bn book among Greek owners, far larger than second place DVB on $3.1bn and BNP Paribas in third place with a $2.92bn outlay.
Credit Suisse increased its portfolio in Greece, the world’s largest shipowning nation by almost 13% in 2018, overturning 2017’s reduction of -4.17%.
Also notable in the compiled list is the continued emergence of local Greek banks, an upward trend that started in 2017. Piraeus Bank sits in fourth spot and in total there are now four Greek banks among the 12 largest shipping lenders to local owners.
Chinese leasing banks continued their growth in Greece in the past year with four banks among the top 20 lenders.
On the outlook for this year,. Petrofin noted: “The adjustment process by overleveraged and aggressive banks has come to near its end after 10 years since the 2009 financial crisis, with few banks nowadays nurturing sizeable bad shipping loans. As a consequence, both the survivors of the above contraction and the recent entries are expected to once again drive ship finance higher. The recovery though is expected to be slow, as banks are still constrained by capital restrictions and develop increasingly demanding risk and compliance departments. To a large extent, it is the performance of the various shipping sectors, as well as the overall global economic and geopolitical factors, that will determine the immediate future and commitment of shipping banks. Owners’ appetite for additional newbuildings and second hand purchases will also be dependent on the above factors. However, interest in LNGs and tanker vessels continues unabated, seemingly unaffected by global economic and geopolitical issues.”