Two major Chinese banks that own US$8 billion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities said they welcomed the US government’s decision to help the troubled mortgage lenders, AP reported. Chinese banks have not been deeply affected by the US subprime mortgage crisis. Bank of China’s securities in that sector make up just 1.5% of its total holdings. Bank of China said last month it owned US$7.5 billion in Fannie and Freddie bonds after cutting its holdings by about 25%. The bank also held US$5.2 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the two agencies. On Sunday, the US government took control of Fannie and Freddie, which own or guarantee about half of American mortgage debt. ICBC, China’s biggest commercial lender, said in late August it owned US$465 million in Fannie and Freddie debt, plus US$2.2 billion in mortgage-backed securities issued by the two companies. It said that was just 0.20% of its total holdings. Both state-owned banks declined to say whether they expect to lose money on their securities.
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