Canadian banks not over the worst impact from oil crunch

Fri Jun 3, 2016 12:41pm EDT
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* Provisions expected to remain elevated through 2016

* Consumer impact in oil provinces still to come through

* Banks reported sharp hike in provisions in second quarter

* Canadian banks' provisions still lower than U.S. peers

* Banks still working through oil firms' credit reviews

By Matt Scuffham

TORONTO, June 3 (Reuters) - Canada's banks are not over the worst of the impact from the oil crunch and face further hefty losses as energy firms struggle to pay back loans and consumers in oil-producing regions suffer, analysts and investors say.

The country's biggest five lenders, including Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia, all set aside more funds to cover bad loans to oil & gas firms in the second quarter but their provisions remain relatively low compared to U.S. peers.

Although Scotiabank, which has the biggest exposure to the oil & gas sector among Canadian banks at 3.4 percent of its total lending, said energy loan losses had peaked in the last quarter, some analysts say it is too early to make that call.   Continued...