Citi to sustain strong trade growth in 2019

Booming Asian economies are shifting the volumes and patterns of global trade, and banks such as Citi are creating new desks and investing additional resources to tap demand

Citi is targeting a 25% growth in revenues from client work in intra-Asia trade corridors in 2019, sustaining its robust performance a year ago.

Citi's client growth will mainly come through a series of key trade corridors in the Asia-Pacific that the bank has identified and invested further resources in to support growth. The key corridors include Korea-to-Asean, Korea-to-China, Korea-to-India, Japan-to-Asean, Japan-to-China and China-to-Asean.

In 2018, the US bank posted a 22% year-on-year increase in its Asia-to-Asia trade corridor, with the Taiwan-to-China corridor recording the highest growth at 34%. The Korea-to-India corridor rose 28%, while the China-to-Hong Kong corridor surged 26%.

Robust growth was also recorded in China-to-Asean corridor at 23%, Korea-to-Asean 23%, Korea-to-China 20%, Japan-to-China 17% and Japan-to-Asean 10%.

"Asia is capturing a greater share of global trade and US companies will increasingly target Asia and we expect strong growth as intra-Asian trade corridors expand further," says Gerry Keefe, head of corporate banking for Asia-Pacific at Citi.

Having recognized the shift in trade flows and the stronger presence that China and broader Asia will continue to play in the movement of trade flows, Citi put in place a strategy to capitalize on the ongoing growth along these corridors.

Citi opened additional Asia desks during 2017 and 2018 to help clients as they look to expand to new areas and markets across these corridors. The bank now has over 20 Asia desks in operations – including 11 China desks, nine Korea desks and an Indian desk in New York and Korea.

"Our established network and product capabilities ensure that Citi is well-placed to help clients mitigate risks and thrive in this environment," adds Keefe.

The work Citi does for clients in these corridors includes capital raising, M&A, trade finance, cash management and FX hedging. Clients include all of Asia's major corporate champions and emerging champions and also leading companies in the Fortune 500 – where Citi already banks 90% of this group in the region.

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