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Bank of Japan warns of rising risks from banks' overseas lending, CLOs

The Bank of Japan said in its latest Financial System Report that overseas lending and riskier investments by Japanese banks continue to rise as they seek higher returns amid low domestic interest rates.

The central bank warned in the semiannual report issued Oct. 24 that this leaves Japanese lenders "more susceptible to the effects of overseas financial cycles."

Amid Japan's historically low interest rates, banks have been seeking greater profit through overseas lending and investment in riskier assets. In particular, the BOJ noted that investment in collateralized loan obligations, a major contributing factor to the 2008 global financial crisis, had expanded at major Japanese financial institutions.

The report said Japanese bank CLO investment currently accounts for about 20% of their total investment in overseas credit products.

The BOJ added that real estate loans continue to increase and have "surpassed the level seen during the bubble period." The report said Japan's real estate market is not seen as overheating but "there is the possibility of a build-up of risks that are different from those observed during the bubble period."