So, remember how the paying back of ECB LTRO loans was signalled as awfully good news for everyone?
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Should peripheral banks like the latest ECB collateral moves?
As the FT’s Michael Steen reports, the central bank will now accept “ABS with a lower credit rating and at a lower haircut” than it had done previously, going below the previous triple-A minimum. It could mean another €20bn of collateral eligible to post at the ECB for funding, Steen notes.
But there’s something else… Read more
This is really good stuff from the FT’s Michael Steen, summing up the confusing welter of communications that has bubbled from ECB board and council members since Mario Draghi attempted some light forward guidance at the last ECB press conference:
During his press conference on the subject, the ECB chief did his best not to define that extended period but became unstuck when asked if it was six or 12 months, replying: “It is not six months, it is not 12 months, it is an extended period of time.”
Here’s the moment, on Reuters Video on Tuesday (03:54 on the countdown clock) , when Germany’s Asmussen said… Read more
From a very dovish Mario Draghi’s press conference following the European Central Bank’s decision to keep its key rates on hold (with our emphasis):
Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. Incoming information has confirmed our previous assessment. Underlying price pressures in the euro area are expected to remain subdued over the medium term. In keeping with this picture, monetary and, in particular, credit dynamics remain subdued.
The Great Draghini has spoken on negative rates, collateral and on volatility:
DRAGHI – HAD AMPLE DISCUSSION OF NONSTANDARD MEASURES
DRAGHI – DISCUSSED NEGATIVE DEPOSIT FACILITY
DRAGHI – TECHNICALLY READY FOR NEGATIVE DEPOSIT RATES, BUT NO REASON TO ACT RIGHT NOW
From Morgan Stanley’s combined banks/economics/credit/rates research team on Tuesday:
If the ECB were to introduce negative rates, FT Alphaville has mostly focused on the idea that the it would do so primarily in its deposit rate. That’s where market chatter has largely concentrated.
But as someone wiser than us noted in an emailed comment, that would be almost entirely redundant. Read more
This is a short follow-up to Monday’s negative rate confusion and prepay-tax option post.
In it we argued two very simple points:
1) Negative rates might very well cause Eonia to go up because they are in fact liquidity contractionary.
2) Negative rates are contractionary because they encourage all of the following: banknote hoarding instead of excess reserves, capital flight (which manifests by means of a depreciating exchange rate which can impact non-depository asset valuations), the prepayment of private tax liabilities, the unwinding of LTROs/MROs, the resale of ECB held bond assets back into the market.
The ECB meets this week and expectations about what Draghi and team may or may not do seem to be erring towards the non-event side of things.
But, as Beat Siegenthaler at UBS observed in a note on Monday, there still seems to be a lot of confusion about the likelihood and usefulness of negative rates being introduced. A rise in eurozone rates over the past two weeks has only added to the confusion: Read more
This is one way to respond to the mess Euroland is in over who should make the calls for recapitalising banks…
The European Banking Authority is delaying its next banking stress test to 2014, to wait for both new asset-quality reviews and the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (so is it to wait for Wolfgang Schaeuble?): Read more
Consider this chart from JP Morgan’s Flows & Liquidity team. It shows the evolution of non-performing loan ratios (as percentages of total loans) across three different Euro area blocks: Germany, core and periphery.
The definition of a non-performing loan (NPL) differs across countries but the picture is definitely not pretty. Read more
Back in July, 2012 the Danish central bank, Nationalbanken, lowered the deposit rate to -0.2 per cent. Back then we wrote that it was going to be costly for the banks, and that money market rates were going deeper into negative territory. With Draghi’s comments last week, how did that whole negative deposit rate action turn out for Denmark?
Nordea had a note out last week on that very subject. Now, before we move, let’s remember that Danish monetary policy is tailored around the FX peg. The deposit rate was there to assure outflow because of mounting pressure on the EUR/DKK pair. Read more
The chart above shows the decline in Spanish bond yields “occurring at a time that Spain has announced that it had not hit its deficit targets and would not hit next year’s,” as David Watts of CreditSights points out. Read more
LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) 13.04 – The euro pared gains while German Bund futures edged up on Friday after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said the central bank was open-minded about taking deposit rates into negative territory.
Nowotny said he was “astonished” by the market’s reaction to his comments earlier in the day, when he said negative deposit rates were not relevant in the near term.
(With some header credit due to Mark Dow)
He came, he cut, he stuck a load of fingers in the air…
The tl;dr version of May’s Draghi presser involved the ECB chief mentioning a heap of possible actions — from getting the “dead” ABS market going to help SMEs, through to negative interest rates, while giving a little bit of forward guidance on policy — but without committing to anything concrete. Read more
Eurozone M3 data are out…
That’s the annual growth rate of the euro-zone broad money supply (M3) falling from 3.1 per cent to a well below expectations 2.6 per cent in March and allowing a quick segue into a good news/ bad news post ahead of next week’s ECB meeting and increasingly probable cut. Read more
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to collect seven briefing documents for a meeting of the ECB’s Governing Council. As always, should you or any of your colleagues be caught or killed, FT Alphaville will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This blog post will destruct if our servers go down. Good luck, dear readers. Read more
The ECB’s role in this eurozone crisis/saga has been complex.
Yes, yay for Draghi with the OMT/whatever it takes and before that, the LTROs.
But there’s a couple of other niggles that have been highlighted, yet again, by the Cyprus ‘bail-out’. Read more
Paul Krugman thinks the Cyprus bailout is all about the Russians.
As he noted in his New York Times blog:
You can sort of see why they’re doing this: Cyprus is a money haven, especially for the assets of Russian beeznessmen; this means that it has a hugely oversized banking sector (think Iceland) and that a haircut-free bailout would be seen as a bailout, not just of Cyprus, but of Russians of, let’s say, uncertain probity and moral character. (I think it’s interesting that Mohamed El-Erian manages to write about this thing, fairly reasonably, without so much as mentioning the Russian thing.)
Mario’s presentation to EU leaders from Thursday night. Msg: ‘Mind the gap’…
But we do often speak about the OMT, which I’ve never seen; you know D. doesn’t like me and never let me look at it, still its appearance is well known in the ECB, some people have seen it, everybody has heard of it, and out of glimpses and rumours and through various distorting factors an image of the OMT has been constructed which is certainly true in fundamentals. But only in fundamentals. In detail it fluctuates, and yet perhaps not so much as the OMT’s reality.
Eurobank recently lowered the over-collateralisation (OC) of its second covered bond programme to the bare minimum allowed by Greece’s covered bond law. Avid covered bond-watchers (there must be a handful of you out there) will know of course, that specially designed legal frameworks are one of the big perks of the covered bond structure – along with juicy benefits like an overstuffing of assets and the dual recourse nature of the centuries-old debt instruments. Read more
Yes the IMF calls for common eurozone deposit insurance, in this new banking union paper. But also look at what they suggest on emergency liquidity assistance:
Lender of last resort. The lender of last resort makes liquidity support available to solvent yet illiquid banks. Centralizing all LOLR functions at the ECB would in the steady state eliminate bank-sovereign linkages present in the current ELA scheme (see Box 1). This would require changes to the ECB’s collateral policy, as by definition euro area banks that tap ELA cannot access Eurosystem liquidity owing to collateral constraints. Until such time as all banks are brought under the ECB’s supervisory oversight, ELA would be sourced through both the ECB (for banks brought under its purview) as well as national central banks (for banks that remain under national supervision, albeit with adjustments made to the national ELA limits).
Which would be nothing short of a revolution. Read more