SARS Impact on Banking Systems in Greater China and Singapore

Moody''s has a stable ratings outlook for banks in Greater China - Hong Kong, the Mainland and Taiwan - as well as those in Singapore, and while the impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak on the banking systems of all four may prov

However, concerns about potentially deeper impacts are evident, should the illness continue to spread and its presence prove protracted. At the same time, SARS is likely to materially impact the region's economies, as evidenced by the already significant disruptions to business and investment.

In all the above systems, bank profitability and asset quality are expected to deteriorate in the coming months - albeit to varying degrees - as a result of SARS. On the other hand, liquidity should strengthen due to the uncertainties the illness is generating and the resultant fall in consumption. But again the extent of the negative impact depends on the pneumonia's severity and duration.

Given current...

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