The international banking system is at great risk in the current environment.
This week Fortis shareholders rejected a takeover offer. This puts the whole country of Beligium at risk. Fortis’ assets are more than 200% of the GDP of Beligium.
I know that Iceland gets a lot of press — but that country is tiny.
If you combine UBS and CS, they represent 700% of Swiss GDP. RBS assets are about 140% of U.K. GDP.
Fortunately, the U.S. is no where near as exposed. The largest banks assets, like Bank of America and Citigroup, each represent less than 20% of U.S. GDP.
My BNN interview explores these issues in more detail. I argue that no bank is safe in today’s environment. Previously thought of safe assets are not necessarily safe.