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What to do with home sovereign exposure? Reducing risks to make the EU Banking Union stronger

March 22, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in public debt and highlights the need to tackle sovereign risk on bank balance sheets, which remains a threat to the stability of the Banking Union. Euro-area banks hold bonds and have granted loans to their domestic sovereigns worth a combined EUR 2.1 tr, equalling 6.2% of total assets. Among the largest countries, banks in Italy have the highest exposure relative to capital (194%), followed by Spain (105%), whereas it is much lower in Germany (67%) and France (60%). Sovereign risk must be mitigated to finalise the Banking Union but this will require some honest acknowledgements by supervisors and entail restrictions for banks and politicians. [more]

More documents about "Europe"

198 Documents
December 17, 2021
The rebound of Europe’s banking sector from last year’s slump in some ways resembles the recovery following the financial crisis. Just the drivers are different. While in 2009 the main improvement came from much lower writedowns on securities portfolios, in 2021 it was much lower loan loss provisions than in the prior year. In both cases, benign capital markets provided an additional tailwind for investment banking franchises. The industry’s capital and liquidity levels remain high. Maintaining this momentum in 2022 will be more difficult as the low-hanging fruit has been picked. But it may still be possible, given past experience and confidence that the macro economy will continue to gain strength once the pandemic (and supply constraints in manufacturing) has subsided. [more]
December 15, 2021
Over 101 billion non-cash payments were made in the euro area in 2020, a meagre increase of 3.7%, which mainly reflects a slump in growth of card payments. However, depending on the country and on the payment situation, there were different trends during the pandemic. At the till, payment habits are converging towards card use. In online shopping, national differences (card or e-payment solution) seem to become more pronounced. [more]
December 8, 2021
In Freight, Logistics and Container Shipping, we think 2022 will be a record year for earnings and FCF. With corporate balance sheets in good shape we see scope for significant shareholder returns we expect freight demand to be led by an inventory re-build and not the consumer. In Airlines & Airports, the latest travel restrictions will clearly mean some lost revenues and the return of booking hesitancy this winter. Medium-term, however, expectations are unlikely to have to change given pent-up demand for travel and the restructuring that’s been done, supporting valuations. [more]
November 1, 2021
On face value, the European banking industry has recovered well from the coronavirus shock. Revenues, loan loss provisions and profits are largely back at their pre-crisis level, as is corporate loan growth. Below the surface, some shifts remain – interest income continues to suffer, but fees and commissions and trading income outperform. Funding from the ECB and even more so liquidity held at the central bank move from one record to the next, similarly to capital and liquidity ratios. The gap to US banks has widened further. EU implementation of the final Basel III rules has now reached decision stage, already causing concern about future European competitiveness. [more]
July 12, 2021
The introduction of a digital euro is drawing closer: as a digital version of cash it is primarily intended to be a means of payment rather than an instrument for investment. The ECB wants to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty in the world of payments as well as the euro’s competitive position vis-à-vis other currencies. However, this will only be achieved if the digital euro is used widely, which is not very likely. A limit is expected on how much users can hold, to prevent a massive outflow of bank deposits into digital central bank money. In this case, lending decisions and money creation would eventually shift to the ECB. Europe would face the question which type of monetary and financial system it wants. [more]
May 28, 2021
The recovery was quick and resounding. The banking sector in Europe has shaken off the impact of the pandemic and in many ways it looks like nothing happened in the past two years at all. In Q1 2021, profitability, costs, efficiency levels, several capital and liquidity indicators were all similar to Q1 2019. Nevertheless, the crisis has left its imprint: balance sheets are far larger, revenues and loan loss provisions are substantially higher, as is the CET1 ratio. Hence, there is still room for further normalisation. [more]
March 25, 2021
2020 was an extraordinary year for banks, as for most other industries. In Europe, banks barely made money, as revenues fell substantially and loan loss provisions doubled. Expense cuts cushioned the blow only partly. Capital and liquidity ratios reached record highs though, thanks to disciplined risk management and funding support from central banks. Once again, European banks underperformed their US peers. But how do their results compare in the longer term, ten years after the end of the financial crisis, and also vis-à-vis smaller competitors? [more]
February 5, 2021
2020 ended on a conciliatory note for European banks. Following a heavy hit in H1, H2 saw a dynamic recovery in the economy and financial markets, which helped slow down the rise in loan loss provisions and buoyed trading income. Corporate loan growth stabilised but remained elevated and retail lending shrug off the crisis, while banks’ liquidity reserves at the ECB surged to unprecedented and unsustainable levels. Government bond holdings initially rose strongly before calming down a bit. Capital and liquidity ratios weathered the crisis well, without even needing support from supervisors which relaxed a number of rules, at the risk of undermining confidence and transparency though. The outlook for 2021 is more benign with bank profitability set to rebound significantly thanks to much lower loss provisions. [more]
November 11, 2020
The European Green Deal labels the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 as a growth strategy where no one is left behind. This is akin to squaring the circle. In the next few years, we will see whether we, as a society, are ready for an honest democratic discussion about climate neutrality. We will have to deal with inconvenient questions and inconvenient truths. But if this discussion does not take place, climate neutrality will remain a just topic for fine speeches and promises – and nothing will be said, much less done, that could hurt anybody. [more]
August 31, 2020
In its industrial policy strategy, the European Commission has merged the goal of reinforcing Europe’s industrial sovereignty and global competitiveness with its overarching objective: the twin transition to a green and digital economy. Close cooperation between the industry, governments and academia is necessary to meet these ambitions and open questions regarding the realisation and compatibility of the policy objectives need to be addressed along the way. During the pandemic, the role of the state in the EU economies has strengthened substantially. Hot political debates about normalising the market mechanism and reinstating state aid rules can be expected over the next years. Risks are that even post-COVID, there might be calls for continued exemptions to the European state aid and competition rules. This could lead to lasting distortions of the single market. [more]
August 27, 2020
Large banks in Europe have taken a substantial hit from the recession induced by the coronavirus. Their revenues dropped 5% yoy in the first half of the year and loan loss provisions spiked, essentially wiping out profits. Nevertheless, the CET1 ratio increased to 14% and the leverage ratio dipped only slightly to 4.8%. Total assets surged, driven by a massive increase in liquidity reserves at central banks, a boom in corporate lending and substantial government bond purchases. By comparison, the major US banks have weathered the crisis somewhat better so far. They remained moderately profitable, despite setting aside more funds to cover future loan losses. Their revenues grew 2% yoy, a stronger headwind from the Fed’s interest rate cuts notwithstanding. Capital ratios, however, appear less resilient than in Europe. [more]