Australia: The Land Down Under(water in mortgage debt), pt. Deux: Which Banks to Short?

As a follow-up to our piece on the Australian macro outlook (Australia: The Land Down Under(water in mortgage debt), We looked into the four largest Australian banks – Australia and New Zealand banking Group Limited, Commonwealth bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Limited, Westpac Banking Corporation. All the banks, except Commonwealth bank of Australia, have ADR.

The banks are trading at very high multiples when compared with their US counterparts. The current average price-to-tangible book value of the four Australian banks is 2.5x against the current multiples of less than 1.5x for US banks. The Australian banks are enjoying a premium largely owing to lower charge-off rates, delinquency levels and the NPL levels than their US counterparts. While the housing loans account for a substantial portion of the total portfolio of Australian banks, the housing bubble in Australia is yet to burst to result in defaults in this sector. Also, the Australian banks have additional shelter from two factors:

  • The housing loans in Australia are recourse loans (borrowers are personally liable to pay even after foreclosure)
  • The loans given in excess of LTV (Loan-to-value) of 80% have Lender Mortgage Insurance which covers the losses of the lending bank

The average Texas ratio of the four Australian banks is 25% and average NPL coverage ratio ( NPL+90 days past due to allowance for loan losses) is 68%. While the NPLs and the past due loans of the Australian banks have increased over the last year, a major portion of the increase is coming from business loans and commercial property while the delinquency rates in residential mortgage in Australia have remained stable (except for Commonwealth bank where substantial increase has been seen in the past due loans in the housing sector). The reported delinquency rates for mortgage or housing loans in Australia for the four banks are summarized below.

  • Commonwealth bank of Australia – The total delinquent loans (1+ days past due) remained at 3.0% in 1H10, equal to the level of 3.0% in 1H09. However, owing to the aging of the some portion of the delinquent loans, the mortgage delinquency (90+ days) rate increased to 0.77% in 1H10 against 0.45% in 1H09 while the mortgage delinquency (30-80 days) rate remained stable at 0.86% and mortgage delinquency (less than 30 days) rate declined to 1.36% in 1H10 against 1.72% in 1H09.

The full analysis is available for download to subscribers below. Subscribers are also urged to review the Macro outlook document as well.

As excerpted from Australia: The Land Down Under(water in mortgage debt:

A few minutes ago, I posted an informational piece on Australia’s creeping protectionism in the form of taxing multi-national mining companies in ”In Australia, Tax as a Contagion“. This begs the questions, “Why is Australia So Tax Happy as to Potentially Chase Away Investment in the Down Under?” Well, the answer most likely is because it is actually a ”Land Down Under(water in mortgage debt) and foreign export reliance. We, at the BoomBust feel that the government is actually attempting to take a proactive stance in meeting the consequences of what is probably going to befall most export reliant countries which is why Brazil and Chile are strongly considering following suit!

As an extension of the Chinese macroeconomic discussion at BoomBustBlog throughout 2010, there may be an “Asian Contagion” spreading as a result of a Chinese

investment slowdown.  Those at risk are the countries and regions that have supplied China with the commodities necessary to build empty cities.  While the (comparatively, in terms of GDP) enormous Chinese stimulus package from the first part of the financial meltdown in 2008 has generated incredible growth in GDP and asset prices, the game appears to be over for flipping 1000 square foot apartments in Shanghai.  After the direct hit taken to China, the picture looks very grim for Australia, where a bursting Chinese housing bubble could drive industrial commodities lower, sparking higher unemployment in one of the nation’s largest sectors, and in turn pop their domestic housing and property bubble.  In the near to medium term, Australia is showing some major red flags.

Australian property bubble, wikipedia