While business with its corporate clients slowed down at the start of the year, Citigroup said it is preparing for its corporate banking operations to pick up as the year moves forward.
Reports in the Financial Times this week said the U.S. government shutdown was singled out as a key factor behind a corporate banking slowdown at the start of 2019, according to Citigroup Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason, who took up the position only weeks ago. He spoke at an industry conference Tuesday afternoon (March 12), reports said, where he added that Citi investment banking revenues are likely to be down for the first quarter compared to Q4, but up compared to Q1 2018 figures.
According to Mason, there is a “disconnect” between economic data and concerns about an economic downturn, and the strong performance of the bank’s corporate customers across the globe.
Reports said shares in Citi rose 0.9 percent following his remarks, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley stocks also rising.
Corporate executives are split on whether they believe an economic recession is on the way, particularly in the U.S. CNBC research conducted earlier this year found 91.3 percent of chief financial officers aren’t expecting a recession this year, though only half said the same about the European Union. In a separate survey, 71 percent of CFOs and presidents at banks said they aren’t expecting a recession to come until 2020.
While corporate outlook remains relatively strong, research from Atradius found global corporate insolvency rates among advanced economies rose for the first time in nearly a decade. While insolvency rates remained steady in the U.S., the U.K. and China are seeing steep increases in forced closures of corporates, analysts noted.
Last month Citi announced a partnership with corporate treasury and cash management solution provider Kyriba, which will connect its business customers to faster payment capabilities provided by Citi.