Citi says it's "time to buy" European banks

Jessica Morris
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Citi admitted it was "the world's most contrarian trade" (Source: Getty)

Citi analysts have said it is time to buy Europe's beleaguered banks.

In their analysis across 285 global sector and regional combinations, European banks are among the worst performing over the past decade, Citi said, adding that buying them would be "the world's most contrarian trade".

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Nevertheless, they upgraded the embattled sector to "overweight" from "neutral", suggesting that it will offer investors better value for money than others options.

It comes despite the fact European banks' shares have shed more than 20 per cent in the year to date amid concerns over the sector's exposure to non-performing loan books, erosion of capital and regulatory headwinds.

And while Citi analysts acknowledged the risks facing the sector, they pointed to signs of improvement in the credit cycle and loan growth as well as cheap valuations compared to their US peers.

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They also "compared the recent concerns in European banks to previous periods of system growth,” and found that the "risks are more selective than widespread".

But they remained cautious on UK banks, having previously pointed to concerns over the impact of the Brexit vote on 23 June.

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