From Ambrose at the Telegraph:
International lending is contracting at the fastest pace since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008 as Europe's banks scramble to meet tougher rules.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said cross-border loans fell by $799bn (£520bn) in the fourth quarter of 2011, led by a broad retreat from Italy, Spain and the eurozone periphery.
Lending to banks in the eurozone fell $364bn or 5.9pc, with drastic reductions of 9.8pc in Italy and 8.7pc in Spain.
The BIS's quarterly report said the decline in lending was "largely driven by banks headquatered in the euro area facing pressures to reduce their leverage".
Banks must raise their core tier one capital ratios to 9pc by the end of this month or face the risk of partial nationalisation. The global Basel III rules are also pressuring banks to retrench.
The International Monetary Fund said banks will have to slash their balance sheets by $2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) by the end of next year even in a "best-case scenario"....MORE