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Barclays clocks largest UK exposure to Greece

BARCLAYS is likely to be hit the hardest of all the UK banks in the event of a Greek debt default, according to estimates released yesterday.

Analysts at Evolution Securities calculated Barclays’ exposure to Greek bonds at €4.6bn (£4.0bn), or 10 per cent of tangible net asset value (tNAV), due to Barclays Capital’s position as a leading underwriter of Greek debt.

The bank’s estimated exposure is substantially higher than other UK banks, which are collectively thought to hold around €15.1bn of Greek debt.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s exposure is calculated at around €1.2bn and HSBC’s at around €0.8bn, according to Evolution. Lloyds has already declared that its exposure is “marginal”.

But UK bank exposure pales alongside other parts of the eurozone – particularly France, which is thought to have around €75.2bn of claims, and Germany, with about €45bn.

“UK banks such as Lloyds [are now], somewhat ironically, by default safe havens,” the Evolution analysts said.

Belgian bank Fortis (now part of BNP Paribas after being bailed out during the crisis) has the largest exposure as a proportion of tNAV, with 64 per cent (or €3.8bn). Rivals Dexia and Société Générale could also be hammered if Greece fails to meet repayments, with exposures of 35 per cent and 14 per cent of tNAV respectively.