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Trader gunvor raises $635 mln via asian banks

´╗┐* 15 Asian banks contribute to loan facility* Gunvor says loan will help with Asian expansionBy Emma FargeGENEVA, June 12 Cyprus-registered commodities trader Gunvor said its Singapore branch had signed a $635 million loan agreement with mostly Asian banks, as trading houses look for new sources of capital amid a retrenchment by traditional European lenders. European banks involved in commodity trade finance, such as market leader BNP Paribas, have cut back lending, under pressure from new rules requiring them to boost their capital and from a shortage of dollar liquidity.

That has left a gap in the market for Asian banks. Gunvor, which has major offices in Geneva and Singapore, said on Tuesday the revolving credit loan facility would be used to refinance existing debt and to finance working capital requirements. Chief executive Torbjorn Tornqvist said the financing would help the trader consolidate its position in Singapore where commodities trading is growing, partly due to booming demand from neighbouring China.

"By attracting such considerable confidence from local banks in the Asia-Pacific region, our Singapore regional hub Gunvor Singapore Pte Ltd has built a truly regional portfolio of support for our growth strategy," he said. The one-year facility was backed by 15 Asian banks including China Development Bank as well as eight European and five Middle Eastern banks, it said.

Gunvor, co-owned by Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko, is rapidly expanding its downstream business and has agreed to buy two European refineries from insolvent refiner Petroplus. The retrenchment of some European banks has made it harder for small traders to gain access to credit although top commodities traders have been able to raise capital via loan facilities."It's no surprise - Vitol, Mercuria and Trafigura are good risk and they won't have trouble finding financing. However, the cost of these financings may have increased. Money isn't that cheap in today's environment," said a Geneva-based banker. Rival commodities trader Mercuria said earlier in June it had raised the equivalent of nearly $2 billion via two loan facililties.

Turkish loan growth falls below 25 percent

´╗┐ISTANBUL Feb 27 Growth in Turkish bank loans eased below 25 percent in mid-February, adding to signs of a gradual economic slowdown after a year of unorthodox monetary policy aimed at preventing overheating. Loan growth stood at 24.83 percent from a year earlier as of Feb. 17, down from 25.15 percent a week earlier, according to weekly data published by banking regulator BDDK. Year-on-year loans growth stood at 29.50 percent at the end of 2011, above the central bank's target of 25 percent growth for the full year.

The central bank had said it wanted to keep growth to 25 percent in 2011, after loans expanded 34 percent in 2010, fuelling demand for imports that have led to worryingly high external deficits.

The bank has not given a target for loan growth this year, but Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who oversees economic policy, said in January he expects loan growth of 15 percent.

The nominal figures provide the basis for the central bank's considerations on monetary policy, although it tends to refer publicly to numbers adjusted for shifts in exchange rates.