After a volatile start to 2020, cross-border banking activity settled down in the third quarter, according to the latest data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
In the third quarter, global cross-border activity declined by US$93 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars).
This represented a relatively quiet period compared with the two prior quarters, when cross-border activity surged by $2.7 trillion in the first quarter and then dropped by $1.2 trillion in the second.
Still, the balance sheets of internationally active banks have grown substantially during the pandemic, the BIS also reported.
The expansion primarily reflects increased activity with governments and central banks, which was up 34% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter.
The total assets of banks in BIS-reporting countries grew by 12% year-over-year, rising from $67 trillion to $75 trillion. And, total liabilities grew similarly, the BIS noted.
At the same time, bank deposits have ramped up.
“The growth in deposits has been evident since 2014, but accelerated during the pandemic,” the BIS said.
Alongside growth for banks, the BIS noted that some of the larger movements in cross-border activity among advanced economy countries involved non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), or shadow banks.