Hilary Joffe Columnist

If London loses its prominence as a financial gateway to Europe as a result of the Brexit process, South African banks could well feel the effect because the UK represents more than a third of their global assets and liabilities. This is according to the Reserve Bank’s latest Quarterly Bulletin. As usual, it is a treasure trove of information on SA’s cross-border exposures and the details of its balance of payments, as well as on the domestic economy and its performance. One of the strengths of SA’s banks is that they are not very dependent on foreign funding, unlike banks in many other emerging markets. A box in the bulletin on the cross-border activity of SA’s banks shows that their total holdings of foreign assets continued to exceed their foreign liabilities by a substantial margin at the end of December. That keeps them in a net lending position, which indicates an absence of reliance on foreign funding for the domestic banking sector as a whole, says the bulletin. The Bank’s d...

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