【英语财经】中国金属融资调查引发新加坡银行界担忧 China metal financing fears spread to Singapore

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2014-6-12 06:45

小艾摘要: An investigation into metals financing in a northeastern Chinese port city has cast a chill in Singapore, where a surge of business financing imports into China has bankers increasingly worried.A Chin ...
China metal financing fears spread to Singapore
An investigation into metals financing in a northeastern Chinese port city has cast a chill in Singapore, where a surge of business financing imports into China has bankers increasingly worried.

A Chinese company’s alleged use of metal as collateral to get loans from several international banks shows that commodity-backed loans are not as safe as bankers assumed.

More and more of these loans originate from Singapore as international banks move their China business out of Hong Kong, leading Chinese firms to set up shop in the tropical entrepot to tap offshore dollar liquidity.

Last week, Qingdao Port said police had opened an investigation into alumina and copper held at Dagang Port, one of several ports under its management. Traders rushed to move metal out of Qingdao.

Chen Jihong, founder of aluminium producer Dezheng Resources, was detained by Chinese authorities several weeks ago in connection with a different investigation in another province, people familiar with the matter in Qingdao said. His disappearance caused banks to check their exposure to his firm, and suspect that the same metal had been pledged multiple times by one or more of its subsidiaries.

The case highlights what bankers do not know about their clients in China.

“Usually if there was a government crackdown on import financing the internal risk managers weren’t that worried because they thought the loans were safe. The possibility of a fraud has risk managers a lot more concerned,” said metals analyst Sijin Cheng, of Barclays in Singapore.

Foreign banks are confident lending money at international interest rates to Chinese commodity importers if they have secured the loans. International traders often help, splitting the difference between the cost of the foreign currency loan and the higher interest rates in China.

The investigation has raised alarms over import financing of iron ore, also increasingly conducted out of Singapore.

Corporate filings for Dezheng Resources’ trading subsidiary – which operated in Singapore and Hong Kong under the name Zhong Jun Resources – record obligations to at least nine international banks. It is unclear how many of those obligations have been discharged already.

Mr Chen of Dezheng is now a Singapore citizen. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was giving consular assistance to Mr Chen’s family.

His brother Chen Jilong is also listed as a director of Zhong Jun, but told the FT he did not know anything about the company. He said he last spoke with his brother a month ago, and could no longer reach him on his mobile phone.

Borrowing against imported commodities allows Chinese firms to get cash at lower rates, which they can then use for operations or to lend on at higher interest rates to more desperate borrowers. China has tried multiple times to restrict access to import financing, in an ongoing effort to starve credit to sectors struggling with overcapacity.

The risks of the shadow banking sector is that no one knows who the ultimate borrower is, how indebted they are or how many people they owe. To date, foreign banks engaged in trade financing have been mostly insulated from that risk, because in the case of a default they could reclaim the collateral.

A liquidity squeeze in China last June was taken as a warning by some banks to reassess exposure to some riskier Chinese clients.

“The market got the message that the overall direction should be deleveraging and reassessing risks. Banks already made this kind of preparation, so I don’t think this incident will cause banks to suddenly halt trade finance,” said a metals trader at a foreign bank in Shanghai.

Additional reporting by Owen Guo in Beijing




青岛港集团(Qingdao Port)上周表示,警方已对大港(该集团管理的数个港区之一)储存的氧化铝和铜展开调查。近日交易商们竞相把金属运出青岛。

熟悉青岛调查的人士表示,铝生产商德正资源(Dezheng Resources)创始人陈基鸿数周前在另一个省的另一宗调查中被中国当局拘留。他的失踪促使各银行检查自己对德正公司的敞口,结果怀疑相同的金属曾被德正的一家或多家子公司重复质押。





德正资源的交易子公司——中骏资源(Zhong Jun Resources)在新加坡和香港开展经营。该公司的申报文件显示,其对至少9家国际银行有偿债义务。尚不清楚这其中有多少义务已得到履行。







Owen Guo北京补充报道


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