A while ago we speculated that because of the ongoing bifurcation of the eurozone market, Eonia rates could rise, and liquidity once again concentrate in core economies, as banks pay back their LTRO funds.
Even if it appeared that the system could handle the repayments, banks in core economies would still be inclined to take advantage of extremely cheap negative rates available in collateral markets, so as to earn a spread on the deposit facility in a way that arguably encumbered the remaining liquidity. That would make it less available to periphery institutions.
Meanwhile, without the additional layer of ECB liquidity in the system — which acts as a type of system-wide insurance mechanism — periphery banks would consequently be forced to make ever more competitive bids for Eonia funds, lifting rates across the board. Read more
Greg Fuzesi is quietly fuming. We get a post-holiday presser from Mario Draghi on Thursday and the JP Morgan economist really would like the ECB chief to use the opportunity to expand upon the word “extended” when offering interest rate guidance. Read more
An interesting pair of charts to juxtapose on a Monday morning, and a PMI day… courtesy of Societe Generale. They point out that the eurozone is straggling to recovery, though apparently in spite of the ECB failing to shore up money growth: Read more
So, remember how the paying back of ECB LTRO loans was signalled as awfully good news for everyone?
Also, how it was seen as unlikely that Eonia would detach too much from policy rates or cause inadvertent Eurozone rate bifurcation as a result (which some in the market were sceptical of)? Read more
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
(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
Ahead of the Thursday meeting, a chart via Gavyn Davies (full post recommended, of course): 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
First some charts from Barclays:
Starring A. European Banker as the Cookie Monster and Mario Draghi as Ernie:
Ernie gets Cookie Monster to eat a carrot 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’…
M. found himself waiting for Draghi surrounded by fellow journalists. He passed on a short piece of the conversation (we’ve protected the imaginary sources, naturally):
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.