Big banks stress test their books against $25 oil prices
TORONTO – Recent declines in the price of crude are spurring Canadian banks to take a closer look at their loan books, with Bank of Montreal stress-testing its oil and gas sector portfolio to see how it would perform at $25 a barrel oil.
Bank of Montreal chief executive Bill Downe says the bank is also stress testing its broader loan portfolios — which includes consumer mortgages, credit cards and auto loans — for an average of $35 a barrel over the course of the year.
For 2017 the bank is using $30 a barrel oil for its stress tests, and for 2018 it’s considering the potential effects of a $40 a barrel scenario.
Downe made his comments during the Canadian Bank CEO Conference in Toronto as crude oil futures were trading at about US$32 a barrel.
Meanwhile, Royal Bank CEO Dave McKay said he expects oil to start moving back towards the $50 a barrel range — and maybe slightly above — over the next 18 months.
“It’s a little softer than anybody predicted right now,” McKay said.
So far, however, McKay says Canada’s economic woes have been contained within oil-producing provinces, particularly Alberta, while other regions are being helped by a decline in the dollar’s value.
“You’re seeing that weaker Canadian dollar drive great strength in B.C. … You’re seeing great strength in Toronto.”Click here to view data »