January 23, 2012 - Bank IT spending in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific will hit US$173.3 billion this year, a modest 2.8% rise on 2011, according to research house Celent. Asia Pacific will see by far the strongest growth, predicts Celent, with a six per cent rise in 2012 to $59.4 billion before reaching $62.3 billion in 2013.

The outlook is far less encouraging for North American banks, with growth a mere 2.4% in 2012 to $54.7 billion before a slight pick-up the following year to 2.9% growth and $56.3 billion.

In this region Celent identifies corporate banking, compliance, regulatory, and security spending as on the rise. However, "it's not all fine and dandy" and retail banking IT spending in the US is being stifled, new investment money is limited, and maintenance outlay is still tying up budgets.

The situation in Europe is even more worrying; IT spending is expected to grow a paltry 0.3% in 2012 to $59.2 billion and 0.4% to $59.5 billion the following year.

Jacob Jegher, senior analyst, banking group, Celent, says: "From an IT spending perspective, the next couple of years are going to be rocky. The good news is that a slight turnaround is in sight. When examining the sum of the three regions, IT spending is expected to grow by 3.1% in 2013 and 3.4% in 2014."

The Celent figures contrast with a recent report from another research house, Ovum which focused specifically on retail banking IT spending. Ovum thinks Asia Pacific will spend $10.2 billion in 2012, 8.3% up on the previous year while, in contrast, Western Europe will spend $44 billion, just on retail IT.

Meanwhile, another analyst, Gartner has revised downward its outlook for 2012 global IT spending growth to 3.7% but that still leaves total spending predicted to hit $3.8 trillion.

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