Foreign Holdings Decline by 11 Billion Euros
THE HAGUE, 28/03/14 - The Dutch financial sector’s foreign holdings declined in the fourth quarter of 2013 by nearly 11 billion euros. This was wholly due to banks and insurers. Pension funds actually expanded foreign holdings, according to figures from the central bank (DNB).
The foreign holdings of the banks were down 20 billion euros or 2 percent at end-2013 compared with three months earlier. This mainly reflected a decline in their positions in the Eurozone and the UK.
Insurers also saw their foreign holdings decline, by 5 billion euros or 2.8 percent. Pension funds however increased their international holdings by 13.8 billion euros, mainly within the Eurozone but also in the US.
For the Dutch financial sector as a whole, holdings in the eurozone (outside the Netherlands) rose slightly, by 0.5 billion euros. Banks and insurers reduced their holdings by 6 billion and 2.4 billion euros respectively, meaning the small overall increase was entirely attributable to the pension funds. They bought assets including government bonds in France (2.2 billion euros) and Spain (1 billion).
Dutch banks mainly reduced their exposure to core countries in the Eurozone, such as France and Germany. But their holding sin Italy and Spain also declined. Conversely, the banks increased their exposure, albeit to a very limited degree, in smaller peripheral Eurozone countries such as Cyprus, Greece and Portugal.