Russian, Polish, Romanian Lending Growth to Outpace GDP, Raiffeisen Says

2011-11-08 18:16:12

Russian, Polish and Romanian lending is set to outpace economic growth, while Croatia, Hungary and Ukraine have to unwind credit that outgrew a “fundamentally backed level,” Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) said.

Lending in Russia may rise 14 percent per year in euro terms until 2015, adding 267 billion euros ($368 billion) to loan books, Raiffeisen analysts led by Gunter Deuber and Jovan Sikimic said in a study today. Polish loans may rise 11 percent per year in euro terms in the same period, with a 12 percent expansion in the Czech Republic and 10 percent in Romania.

“The Russian and the Polish banking sectors retain some catching-up potential,” the analysts said. Banking assets in the countries are smaller in relation to the overall economies in both countries. The growth outlook “holds true despite the fact that the post-crisis outlook is more cautious in comparison to pre-crisis.”

The Czech and Slovak Republics and Romania also have the potential to grow banking assets faster than their gross domestic product, the analysts said. In Bulgaria, Croatia and Ukraine, lending levels already exceeded that of other emerging markets, they added.

“Not all central and eastern European banking markets can still be regarded as being highly under-penetrated in terms of total loans in relation to GDP and income levels,” the analysts said.

More than three quarters of the region’s banking assets outside of the former Soviet Union are owned by foreign banks, Raiffeisen said.

UniCredit SpA (UCG) led the ranking at the end of June, followed by Erste Group Bank AG (EBS), Raiffeisen, Societe Generale (GLE) SA and KBC Groep NV. (KBC) In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, state-owned banks led by OAO Sberbank and VTB Group are bigger than their western peers.