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ANZ chief plays down Asia exposure

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has moved to placate shareholders about the institutional banking arm's Asian exposure at default.

The bank released a statement this week ahead of a CLSA investor conference in Hong Kong about the composition of the bank's Asian portfolio.

As of 20 June 2015, ANZ's institutional Asia exposure at default (EAD) totalled $104 billion (12 per cent of ANZ Group EAD, which was $886 billion).

ANZ China's EAD equated to $26.1 billion (three per cent of total EAD), of which nine per cent was onshore.

"Eighty-eight per cent of ANZ’s China EAD has a tenor of less than one year including trade and supply chain and bonds compared with 50 per cent for institutional overall," the statement said.

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"Fifty-five per cent of ANZ’s China EAD are to financial institutions, with more than half of that being to the top five systemically important Chinese banks."

ANZ China's assets also have a stronger average credit rating than ANZ institutional assets in Australian and New Zealand, according to the statement.

Mr Smith said his company has a "very high-quality exposure in China and therefore return is going to be a little lower than if you were to go up the risk curve".

"The alternative in terms of the institutional bank is to look for growth in Australia at a much higher risk. We have not done that … and the credit quality of the group is better than it ever has been," he said.

"China only accounts for about three per cent of our total outstandings as a grou,p which is very small. The significance of that is that 88 per cent of our exposure to China is of a tenor of less than one year which … means that should there be issues, our ability to reduce our exposure is very straightforward."

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