RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

Chinese banks pull-out of IMF and SIBOS meetings in Japan

Blame it on the souring relations between Asia's two biggest economies.

China's Big Four state-owned banks have suddenly cancelled their participation in a number of big ticket financial events in Japan because of China's territorial row with Japan.

The banks won't show up for the high-profile annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to be held in Tokyo this week and a number of auxiliary events. Some of the banks say they've also pulled out of the SIBOS conference scheduled to take place in Osaka at the end of the month.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China, three of the Big Four, will not take part in SIBOS, as will Bank of Communications, one of China's five top commercial banks. ICBC, China's largest bank, has also pulled out of the IMF events.

The annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank is the largest single gathering of finance and economic officials, non-governmental organizations and bankers. Organizers estimate some 20,000 delegates will be in Tokyo for a range of meetings and seminars, taking place from Oct. 9 to 14.

Most of the banks didn't give a reason for their last-minute no-shows. But the withdrawals come amid an escalating dispute between China and Japan, which recently nationalized a set of islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Beijing.

The moves by the Chinese banks are the latest sign that souring relations between Asia's two biggest economies are starting to affect the broader, economic realm, and go beyond regional squabbling.

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