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Report: Crédit Agricole i-bank expects to raise shipping loan provisions

Crédit Agricole SA's Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank islikely to "register an increase in … specific provisions" for badshipping loans in 2016, the division's head of shipping and offshore financetold Reuters.

Thibaud Escoffier said it was tooearly to specify the scale of additional provisions, according to the Sept. 30report. He also said Crédit Agricole would not increase its exposure to theshipping industry amid a downturn in the sector.

Crédit Agricole CIB's shippingportfolio is worth approximately $15 billion and comprises a near-evendistribution of cruise ships, dry bulk vessels, oil tankers and gas carriers,Reuters noted. A third of the portfolio comprises export credit guarantees.

Escoffier reportedly said the CIBarm's ability to withstand the ongoing shipping downturn is somewhat differentfrom other European lenders, as its "exposure to the container ship marketby nature is small."

He also said he expects afundamental shift in the shipping loan market as increased capital requirementsconstrain banks' ability to participate in the business.

"We expect to see a certaintype of institutional investor through loan funds coming in and to worktogether with traditional shipping banks through credit funds," he toldthe newswire.