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Thursday 30 October, 2003

BancoLatinoamericano

BLADEX REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2003 NET INCOME OF $1


           Banco Latinoamericano De Exportaciones, S.A. ('BLADEX') 
            Reports Third Quarter 2003 Net Income Of $17.8 Million 
 
    PANAMA CITY, Republic of Panama, Oct. 30 -- Banco Latinoamericano de 
Exportaciones, S.A. ('BLADEX' or the 'Bank') (NYSE: BLX) reported results for 
the third quarter ended September 30, 2003.   
 
     3Q03 Financial Highlights 
      * Net income was $17.8 million, compared to $67.1 million for the 2Q03  
        and $15.8 million for the 3Q02. 
      * Short-term trade loans of $1.2 bn. up 9% for the quarter and 46%  
        year-to-date.  Non-trade loans of $0.8 bn down 16% for the quarter,  
        23% year-to-date. 
      * The Bank sold $123 million of Argentine obligations.  Net exposure in  
        the country is $272 million, down 41% from a year ago. 
 
    Third Quarter 2003 Earnings of $17.8 million 
    The Bank reported third quarter 2003 net income of $17.8 million, or $0.45 
per share, compared with net income of $67.1 million or $3.65 per share in the 
previous quarter, and with net income of $15.8 million, or $0.90 per share, in 
the third quarter of 2002. 
    Earnings per share calculations are based on the average number of shares 
outstanding during each period.  During the third quarter of 2003 the average 
number of common shares was 39.3 million shares, compared to 18.3 million 
shares in the second quarter of 2003, and compared to 17.3 million shares 
during the third quarter of 2002. 
    Net income for the third quarter reflected the sale, partial payment and 
fair market value adjustment of Argentine loans and securities, which 
generated gains on the sale of securities and reversals of the allowance for 
loan and off-balance sheet losses.  The Bank also increased specific reserve 
coverage of certain borrowers.  The net positive impact on earnings of these 
factors was $57.1 million and $13.8 million in the second and third quarters 
of 2003, respectively.  Net income for the third quarter also reflects a loss 
of $6.7 million on derivatives and hedging activities related to the Bank's 
decision to unwind interest rate swaps associated with certain fixed-rate 
securities.     
    Net income for 2003 year-to-date amounted to $95.3 million, or $3.78 per 
share, compared to a $283.8 million loss, or a loss of $16.41 per share, for 
the same period in 2002.  The loss in the first nine-months of 2002 reflected 
$279.9 million of provisions for credit losses and a $44.3 million charge 
resulting from impairment losses on securities, both related to the Bank's 
Argentine portfolio.     
    Commenting on the latest quarterly figures, Jose Castaneda, Chief 
Executive Officer of BLADEX, said, 'The latest quarter was the first in the 
last year and a half in which the Bank was able to focus on its business, 
without the significant diversion of management's time to the capitalization 
project.  Our entire organization is now fully engaged in executing our 
strategy of making BLADEX into the supplier of choice for trade finance 
services in the Latin American region. 
    To this end, we continue working to leverage the balance sheet by adding 
new trade finance loans, while collecting on our remaining medium-term,  
non-trade loans.  The 9% growth in our short-term trade loan portfolio 
(excluding Argentina) during the latest quarter is more reflective of the 
underlying market demand and risk profile of the region than the previous 
quarter's 21% increase, which resulted from pent-up demand that we were able 
to satisfy in anticipation of our capitalization.  Year-to-date, we have been 
able to grow this core business component by 46%, in spite of challenging 
underlying market conditions. 
    We continue to assess the risk in our remaining Argentine portfolio, of 
which 88% has been restructured or is in negotiation, and we are periodically 
reviewing the adequacy of our allowances for credit losses which involves an 
in depth analysis of each borrower, its ability to repay and market 
conditions.  As a result of this evaluation, we increased the specific reserve 
coverage for certain borrowers.   
    BLADEX has recovered its historical ability to fund all the lending 
business it originates and desires to book.  Deposit balances are increasing, 
lines of credit to the Bank are being re-established on improved terms, and 
funding with tenors at the long end of the spectrum is available again. 
    Deployment of our new U.S dollar clearing service for banks, in 
collaboration with Bank of America, is proceeding as planned.  Our clients 
have reacted positively to this new service and the first operating accounts 
have already been opened. 
    While BLADEX has many growth and governance initiatives under way, all are 
subsets of the two basic pillars of our strategy: strengthening our trade 
finance franchise and maximizing the value of our Argentine portfolio.  Among 
the more significant current initiatives are product diversification through 
additional strategic alliances, improved country and product capital 
allocation methodologies, and the formulation of a cash dividend policy,' 
Mr. Castaneda concluded. 
 
    BLADEX, with $2.5 billion in assets, is a specialized multinational bank 
established to finance trade in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  Its 
shareholders include central banks from 23 countries in the region and 140 
commercial banks (from the region, as well as international banks) and private 
investors.  Its mission is to channel funds for the development of Latin 
America and the Caribbean, and to provide integrated solutions for the 
promotion of the region's exports.  BLADEX is listed on the New York Stock 
Exchange.  Further investor information can be found at www.blx.com. 
 
    A LONGER VERSION OF THIS PRESS RELEASE WITH DETAILED INFORMATION HAS BEEN 
FILED WITH THE UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, AND CAN BE 
OBTAINED FROM BLADEX AT: 
 
    BLADEX, Head Office, Calle 50 y Aquilino de la Guardia, Panama City, 
Panama Attention: Carlos Yap, Senior Vice President, Finance  
Tel. No. (507) 210-8581, e-mail: cyap@blx.com,  
 
    The Galvin Partnership, 76 Valley Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807 
Attention: William W. Galvin Tel. No. (203) 618-9800, e-mail: 
wwg@galvinpartners.com 
 
    There will be a conference call on October 30, 2003 at 4:00 p.m. ET in the 
U.S. (40:00 p.m. Panamanian time).  For those interested in participating, 
please call 800-275-6556 in the United Sates or, if outside the United States, 
please dial the applicable international access code + U.S. country code 
followed by 302-709-8340.  All participants should give the conference name 
'BLADEX Quarterly Call' or the conference ID# 550379 to the telephone operator 
answering the call five minutes before the call is set to begin. 
 
SOURCE  Banco Latinoamericano De Exportaciones, S.A.  
    -0-                             10/30/2003 
    /CONTACT:  Carlos Yap, Senior Vice President of BLADEX, Panama City, 
Panama, +1-507-210-8581, cyap@blx.com; or William Galvin of The Galvin 
Partnership, +1-203-618-9800, wwg@galvinpartners.com/ 
    /Web site:  http://www.blx.com / 
    (BLX)