Well… is it?
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Sir Merv, as portrayed by Diana Blakeney. Click the image for full effect.
Apparently the recent sovereign bond yield spike has almost completely wiped out the Bank of England’s QE bond portfolio’s unrealised profit. As Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s John Wraith said:
…the mark-to-market gains that were previously being registered by the Bank of England’s portfolio of Gilts acquired through the UK’s QE Asset Purchases since March 2009. As recently as 2nd May, this portfolio was showing an unrealised profit of £26.8bn; this had collapsed by 24th June to just £1.2bn.
Get your pitchforks out. Read more
Click to enlarge for the Prudential Regulation Authority’s table on UK bank capital shortfalls…
The Bank of England has ushered some new risks into its biannual risk survey.
Out of the list of top seven key risks go funding risk, the risk of financial market disruption/dislocation and the risk of tightening in credit conditions. In their place we get the risk of property price falls, operational risk (‘cyber’ security), and risks surrounding the low interest rate environment. Read more
Gaspard Koenig has been sounding off, entertainingly, at the Centre for Policy Studies on the costs associated with the Banque de France — whose governor, Christian Noyer, has been pressing Hollande’s government to make deeper and quicker cuts…
Let’s take a look at the Banque de France, which recently published its annual report. Apart from being lavishly located in the Hotel de Toulouse, a 17th-century gem, its operating costs are bewilderingly high. It employs 13,000 agents for a total human resources expenditure of nearly €1.5 bn a year (including pensions). With 6% of its staff aged under 30 and 32% over 55, the Banque de France’s age pyramid looks more like a cocktail glass. Read more
From ICAP’s Gilt Repo Comment on Monday:
The announcement by the DMO of further supply of UKT4T 15 (1.75 bln on the 29th May) is welcomed in light of the issue’s “tightness” in the REPO market. The bond overnight has averaged 11 bps through DBV to date in May and was tight in the 1st quarter. However, post Friday’s announcement the bond held its premium in term and it is not certain the additional supply will cheapen the issue despite the free float increasing.
The question mark in the header is just so as to (reluctantly) give the Bank of England the benefit of the doubt.
Here are the latest stats on the Funding for Lending Scheme, which was supposed to pump £100bn into households and businesses in the UK. Six months in, £13.8bn has been drawn down by British banks, £9.5bn of that coming in the final quarter of 2012. Read more
Okay. Negative interest rates have now gone fully mainstream in the UK thanks to this week’s testimony by Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker.
Even the Daily Mail is writing about it.
But a number of major misunderstandings are popping up as a result. So let us try to clear some of them up. Read more
Throwing around the negative interest rates idea has become very trendy all of a sudden with Draghi, Praet and Constancio weighing in and, we’d argue, using the threat to substitute for policy impotence.
So, was Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker doing the same thing on Tuesday morning in front of a Parliamentary committee? Using a jedi-trick to talk down sterling perchance? It’s not a phrase you use lightly and it seems unlikely he would have whacked it out completely unintended. But it has to be said, if he was going Jedi here, the effect didn’t last all that long. Read more
That’s the considered opinion of Julian D. A. Wiseman (most recently head of UK rates strategy at Société Générale but writing on his personal blog here) on the Monday after Moody’s cut its credit rating for the UK from Aaa to Aa1, taking the Bank of England down with it. For those keeping count, that makes it a downgrade that was neither surprising, nor informative nor, in itself, damaging (as Martin Wolf put it)… but more to the point it was just plain silly. Read more
We tried to explain the QE surplus ‘raid’ before but never approached the crystal clear clarity of Thursday’s ONS release on the treatment of cash transfers from the BoE to the Treasury (the release of which accompanies the news that public finances improved in January although they were flattered by such transfers): Read more
Here’s the dovish BoE minutes that started sterling sliding (click through for the pdf): Read more
So the Bank of England has decided to give its new-fangled biannual Money Market Liaison Group Sterling Money Market Survey (first launched in May 2011) more oomph.
No longer will the results sit, largely unnoticed, in one of the Bank’s quarterly bulletins. From now on the survey will be presented on a standalone basis, with its very own pdf and cover illustration, which looks like this: Read more
This alarming gilt fact is brought to you by Bank of America Merril Lynch and it underlines one of the main fears many people raised about the QE surplus “raid” staged by the Her Majesty’s Treasury on the Bank of England last year.
From BofAML’s John Wraith (our emphasis):
As a result of the dramatic spike higher in yields that occurred over the first week or so of the New Year, the mark-to-market value of the BoE’s portfolio of Gilts acquired through QE over the past four years dropped by more than £7bn. This exceeds the largest decline in the portfolio’s value in any full month since QE began by more than £1.5bn, emphasizing both the extent of the rise in yields, and also the very large size the BoE’s holdings have reached (£326.7bn in nominal terms, with a basis point value of about £360m).
Fresh from the Bank of England — it’s a draft Policy Statement explaining the planned powers for the Financial Policy Committee to give directions setting extra capital requirements for the purposes of financial stability. Click the image for the full doc:
Nowadays, the idea of not having an independent central bank is seen as being a bit backward. One could even say that central bank independence is widely accepted as the optimum set-up for any country’s monetary system, a reflection of its developmental status.
“Independent central bank? Check.”
“This country must be civilised. ”
Yet, can we really be so absolute about the matter? Read more
BoE governor-to-be Mark Carney made a speech titled ‘Guidance’ last night. It was all about communications strategies, for both companies and central banks — a very interesting topic for students of monetary Jedi tactics.
Carney stressed at the beginning that his talk would be about guidance, and not containing guidance. Tee hee! However, he did drop the N-bomb and when a central bank governor talks in positive terms about a non-mainstream monetary policy framework, it’s… interesting. Read more
Not since Andy Haldane noted that an impatient market was not a happy market, has the BoE looked at the issue of high frequency trading and its effects on market quality – and particularly price discovery – in such depth.
From the abstract of the Bank’s latest working paper, by Evangelos Benos and Satchit Sagade, on Monday (our emphasis): Read more