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Asian bank stocks tumble as US systemic concerns prevail



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People gather outside of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) headquarters in Santa Clara, California, U.S. March 10, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Shares of banks in Asia slumped on Monday after the collapse of a U.S. startup-focused bank sparked a global flight to quality on fears of broader systemic risk, even as authorities tried to stem the contagion with steps to placate depositors.

The U.S. administration stepped in on Sunday with a series of emergency measures to shore up confidence in the banking system following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which marked the biggest U.S. bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis.

After a dramatic weekend, U.S. regulators said the bank’s customers will have access to all their deposits starting Monday and set up a new facility to give banks access to emergency funds.

The Federal Reserve also made it easier for banks to borrow from it in emergencies.

While U.S. stock futures and tech shares rose in Asia trade on the back of the news, banks in the region were unable to shake concerns about systemic risk and tracked losses in their Wall Street counterparts from the Friday session.

In Hong Kong, shares of HSBC Holdings (NYSE:) opened roughly 1.7% lower at a two-month trough while Standard Chartered (OTC:) Bank shares fell nearly 1% to a one-month low.

U.S. banks lost over $100 billion in stock market value late last week following the collapse, while European banks lost around another $50 billion in value, according to a Reuters calculation.

“The Fed are not only addressing concerns over the bank’s asset side of the balance sheet but on the liability side, where they are essentially stepping in front of a larger bank run, which…can be devastatingly swift to bring down any institution,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone.

“There’s likely going to be further migrations to the stronger banks and those with a large asset base and low equity will continue to see depositors divest capital.”

SVB’s collapse comes alongside the closure of crypto-focused bank Silvergate, which last week disclosed plans to wind down operations and voluntarily liquidate, in the aftermath of FTX’s implosion last year.

U.S. state regulators on Sunday also closed New York-based Signature Bank (NASDAQ:), which became the next casualty of the banking turmoil after SVB.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s was last 2% lower, dragged heavily by financial stocks.

Mitsubishi UFJ (NYSE:) slid nearly 4% to a one-month low of 896.3 yen, while Sumitomo Mitsui (NYSE:) Financial Group tumbled almost 5%. The broader Topix Banks Index was last 4.75% lower as of the midday break.

Shares of Singapore’s largest bank DBS slid to their lowest since late October last year, at S$32.71 ($24.32), while OCBC’s shares lost close to 1.5%.

($1 = 1.3449 Singapore dollars)

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