Latest statistics released by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) reveal that European banks' total exposure to turmoil-ridden Egypt stand at around $40.3 billion, with banks in France and the United Kingdom being at greatest risk.
Exposure of French banks to Egyptian borrowings stood at $17.6 billion at the end of September and that of British banks at $10.7 billion, according to BIS statistics quoted in a Bloomberg report. These are followed by Italian banks, which have $6.3 billion outstanding as loans in Egypt.
According to the results presented for the third quarter by Societe Generale, its Egypt subsidiary, National Societe Generale Bank, had 4.1 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in loans and 6.2 billion euros of deposits in the country. The bank has around 140 branches in the country and has already issued a statement saying that it was taking steps to protect its 3700 employees and staff in Egypt. Shares of the bank fell 3.6% in trading in Paris, after BIS data became clear. Another French major, BNP Paribas SA also lost 2.6% in trading.
Meanwhile in the UK, HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) and Standard Chartered PLC (STAN.LN) are perceived to have the most global exposure. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a Standard Chartered spokesperson said that the bank's exposure was minimal in the country with just one branch. CEO of the Bank Peter Sands told CNBC on the sidelines of the Davos Summit that changes in political structure and governance were inevitable in economies and the bank accepts that reality as it commits to operations in any country, especially in the emerging world, for a sustained period.
RBS Group PLC and Swiss banking giant UBS AG have also denied having any material exposure to the country as it continues to be ravaged by protests against the dictatorial regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Meanwhile, citing the uncertainty unleashed by the protests, Moody's downgraded the debt rating of Egypt to Ba2 implying a negative outlook.