Banking stocks fall on fears of Irish exposure

BRITISH banking stocks fell yesterday on the back of uncertainty about their exposure to the Irish crisis.

Barclays fell 2.7 per cent to 270.1p, while Lloyds dropped 5.8 per cent to 64p and RBS saw a 6.1 per cent fall to 40p.

The falls in Lloyds and RBS stock were also exacerbated by the declaration by Independent Banking Commission member Clare Spottiswoode that state-owned banks could be broken up.

Data from the Bank of International Settlements shows that the UK as a whole has an exposure of $140-$150bn to Ireland.

And figures published by City A.M. yesterday revealed that RBS, Lloyds and Barclays have exposure to peripheral European debt equivalent to 113 per cent, 61 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

Creditors to Irish banks could be forced to take losses as a condition of the aid package being put together by the IMF and EU.

UK?exposure to Irish debt was one of the reasons cited by chancellor George Osborne as justification for the UK’s contribution to Ireland’s rescue package, with fears that if Irish banks were allowed to fail, it could have a knock-on effect.