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European bank profits rise to post-crisis peak despite lower revenues in 2018 - capital ratios down for the first time

February 28, 2019
Region:
In 2018, net income at the major European banks climbed to its highest level since the financial crisis. Lower administrative expenses and a further fall in loan loss provisions to multi-year lows more than made up for a decline in revenues. Whereas net interest income stabilised, fee and commission income as well as trading income declined. Banks took a bit more risk, and risk-weighted assets edged up. Total capital remained flat despite higher profits as banks increased returns to shareholders and implemented the new IFRS 9 accounting standard. Consequently, capital ratios declined for the first time since 2008. The gap between European banks and their US peers remained huge as the latter benefited from higher interest rates and lower corporate taxes. [more]

More documents contained in "Talking Point"

152 (11-22)
April 20, 2020
Region:
11
The COVID-19 crisis raises the question of whether the increased shift towards working from home will ultimately reduce demand for office space. The longer the crisis continues, the more people will get used to long-distance co-operation – and the more efficient remote communication may become. However, employees and teams experience the corona crisis very differently. Much depends on how well a team worked together pre crisis. [more]
April 15, 2020
Region:
Analyst:
12
The coronavirus pandemic has struck the German mechanical engineering sector at an already difficult time. Since 2019 at the latest, mechanical engineering firms have been feeling the effects of a realignment in the industry, particularly as German automobile manufacturers shift towards electric mobility. On top of that, there was the possibility of unusual expenses due to the potential discontinuation of deliveries from China amid ongoing trade conflicts. Production may decline by 25% or more in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus. [more]
April 8, 2020
Region:
14
The banking industry in Europe is entering the corona recession with strong capital levels and ample liquidity, though still only moderate profitability. Revenues will come under substantial pressure this year, loan loss provisions will jump and net income will fall materially – many banks may well make losses. However, there is likewise massive support from the public sector, with governments propping up the real economy, central banks the financial markets and supervisors relaxing rules for banks. This should mitigate the hit. Nevertheless, the risks are profound and a prolonged shutdown could even trigger a renewed banking crisis. Enormous uncertainty regarding its depth and length notwithstanding, the current crisis may well turn out more severe than the macro-financial shock scenario underlying the latest European bank stress test. Its magnitude could possibly even exceed the financial crisis and the Great Recession. [more]
April 3, 2020
Region:
16
In their fight against the spread of COVID-19 over the last weeks, EU governments introduced temporary restrictions to border traffic of various degrees ranging from border controls to outright closure. In several cases this had a severe impact on freight traffic as border controls led to tens of kilometres of traffic jam, such as between Poland and Germany. [more]
February 25, 2020
Region:
17
Last week's special Council meeting on the next EU budget 2021-2027 ended without an agreement. When EU leaders left Brussels on Friday after close to 30 hours of negotiations, there was no timeline set for further talks. In our view, it would have been a surprise if the meeting had led to a big breakthrough, given the traditionally contested nature of negotiations between net contributors and recipients of the seven-year budget. This time, the situation is much more complicated, as Brexit leaves a sizeable gap of around EUR 60-75bn in the ~EUR 1tr budget. Still, despite the meticulous preparations of Council President Charles Michel, including a marathon of bilateral meetings with EU leaders ahead of the summit and a new compromise budget proposal, not even a preliminary agreement regarding the approximate size of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) could be reached. [more]
December 19, 2019
Region:
18
European banks continue to strive to not fall further behind. Revenues and costs in the first three quarters of 2019 were flat compared to their levels a year ago. Remarkably, interest income rose despite even lower interest rates. Loan loss provisions edged up from record lows. Net profits fell moderately but remained solid. Balance sheet growth was the strongest in years as banks fight to hold their ground against an array of new competitors. Along with the struggle to improve revenues, 2020 may be shaped by Basel IV implementation, continuing geopolitical risk and a fragile macroeconomy. [more]
December 17, 2019
Region:
Analyst:
19
With their „European Green Deal“, the European Commission expressed an admirable ambition to be climate-neutral by 2050. Are such ambitious long-term goals good for the credibility of European climate protection policies? Especially when they include only the vaguest notions of how to get there, and when the measures for more efficient climate protection that can be implemented in the short-to-medium term are not making sufficient progress? I don’t think so. [more]
November 25, 2019
Region:
20
Passenger numbers at German airports recently fell for the first time since December 2017. The decline is largely due to economic reasons, such as the cyclical slowdown and lower supply due to airline bankruptcies. Air travel is increasingly coming into the focus of climate-policy regulation. Traffic at regional airports may be hit most. In contrast, large airports are likely to see passenger numbers increase further. “Flight shame” looks set to remain a niche phenomenon. [more]
November 21, 2019
Region:
21
In the lending and deposit-taking business with retail customers, there are substantial differences between the federal states. 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, per capita loan volumes in east Germany are significantly lower than in the west. The latter, in turn, is characterised by a certain north-south divide. Savings banks have a market share of 25-35% throughout the country, whereas cooperative banks have a much stronger presence in the south and west than in the east and north. The large banks achieve an above-average market share of 20-25% in the city states and east Germany. The spread between the federal states is smaller for deposit volumes than for credit volumes. Primarily the savings banks, cooperative banks and other commercial banks have to cope with a considerable deposit overhang and thus an "investment plight" in the negative interest rate environment. In east Germany, the deposit overhang is particularly large. Due to digitisation, changes to the established regional focuses might now be possible. [more]
November 20, 2019
Analyst:
22
Trading volumes in foreign exchange instruments have increased significantly across the board in 2019 compared to the last global FX survey three years ago. Surprisingly, the pivotal role of London as the main trading location was reconfirmed, despite fears around the impact of Brexit. Yet a general move to central clearing might challenge this after the UK leaves the EU. [more]
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