Foreign banks hold 236 billion dollars of all Greek debt

3rd May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Foreign banks are exposed to 236.2 billion dollars of public and private debt in Greece, nearly a third of it held by French banks, Bank for International Settlements data showed on Friday.

Of the total involving Greek debt of all types, some 188.6 billion dollars (142.5 billion euros) was held by European banks, according to the BIS, which is known as the central bank of central banks.

French banks were the most exposed with holdings of 75.2 billion dollars, followed by German banks (45 billion dollars) US (16.6 billion dollars), British (15 billion dollars) and Dutch banks (11.9 billion dollars).

Some 60.2 billion dollars of loans are due to reach maturity within a year, said the BIS, which groups 56 central banks.

On Tuesday, ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's sovereign public debt to junk status.

Austrian central bank chief Ewald Nowotny, who sits on the European Central Bank's board of governors, said the timing of that downgrade had proved to be "very problematic".

Nowotny said eurozone members were counting on Greece to avoid any debt restructuring, which would mean losses for holders of its bonds.

The European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the ECB have been negotiating an aid package to debt-stricken Greece of some 45 billion euros (60 billion dollars) this year.

© 2010 AFP

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