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Capital Markets

Trade finance: Fines do not dent ING’s commodities zeal

Recommits to holding top spot; mid-tier of most concern as oil traders struggle.

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Commodity trade finance, from shipments of Argentine soybeans to Kazakh oil, is one of the few areas of international banking where Europeans maintain a clear lead.

The French and even the Dutch still dominate, despite swingeing cuts to their global networks and balance sheets during the past decade.

Although the deals tend to be private, and the banks are reticent about revealing their exposure, industry sources reckon the biggest bank in this business is now ING. Société Générale is a clear second, albeit stronger in Africa.

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Anthony van Vliet,
ING

Commitment, and critical mass, is crucial, according to Anthony van Vliet, ING’s global head of trade and commodity finance.

“The more you have informational advantages, the more you understand your clients’ businesses,” he says. “It allows you to be more responsive to their needs.”

However, the consensus opinion is also that ING only got to the top thanks to the relative pullback by BNP Paribas. The French bank was even more dominant than ING, sources say, until it fell foul of US sanctions – to the tune of an $8.8




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