The European banking landscape does not look much worse six months into the pandemic-triggered economic crisis than before Covid-19 struck. Loan-loss provisions are higher, there is negative pressure on top-line revenues and gloomy market predictions linger. But the prospect of a new banking crisis is remote. The principal merit goes to the regulatory architecture set up in Europe after the Great Financial Crisis.
The European Central Bank has decided to allow the lenders it directly supervises in the region, on a temporary basis until June 27, 2021, to exclude certain exposures to the central bank from their leverage ratio. In this way, the institutions will have more room to incur debt since the ECB will not require more capital for it. In fact the ECB will not take into account the liquidity (cash and deposits) banks hold at the central bank when calculating the leverage ratio (Capital/Assets).
Santander Corporate & Investment | New car registrations in Europe (EU+UK+ European Free Trade Association) plummeted 17.6% annually in August to 884,394 vehicles. Thus it broke the three-month period of smooth declines, including a 3.7% drop in July. In total, 7.267,621 new cars were registered in the European Union between January and August, almost 3.6 million less than in the same period last year. The outlook for the sector for the rest of the year is not encouraging.
Poland ́s economic contraction due to the coronavirus pandemic is expected to be 3.5%, much lower than the Eurozone recession of 8%. The economic performance is less dependent on exports compared to Poland ́s Central European peers like the Czech Republic, Hungary or Slovakia. At the same time private consumption accounts for 58% of GDP, reducing the vulnerability to external shocks (as evidenced by avoiding a recession in the 2009 credit crisis). In 2021 the economy is forecast to rebound by 5.6%.
The Bank of England (BoE) left policy on hold at its latest meeting. Bank Rate remained at 0.1% and the Asset Purchase Facility (APF) was left at £745bn. Both decisions were made unanimously. The BoE explained that the APF had risen to £684bn to date, buoyed by £230bn in gilt purchases and £9.3bn (of £10bn) corporate debt purchases. The current QE programme is expected to expire around the turn of the year and purchases have been lower than in Q2 given the improvement in liquidity conditions.
The presidents of UBS Group and Credit Suisse Group would be exploring a potential merger to create one of Europe’s largest banks. Both banks are undergoing changes at the top management level and are under pressure to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is sparking renewed interest in consolidation in Europe. The news comes in the wake of just over a week of the announcement about the potential consolidation of two Spanish entities operating in the same market – CaixaBank and Bankia.
Johannes Petry via The Conversation | Relations between London and Brussels have been better. While Brexit dominates the headlines, another cross-channel development has recently captured the attention of financial institutions. It concerns the the London Stock Exchange’s proposed US$27 billion (£21 billion) acquisition of US financial company Refinitiv, into which the European Commission is carrying out an in-depth anti-trust investigation.
BoE will announce its next policy decision on Thursday (noon). We expect no change in policy parameters. Current policy: Bank rate at +0.1%. OngoingQE, total YTD envelope of +£300bn (+£232bn of which bought so far), with latest +100bn announced in June.At the last meeting in June, BoE also added a weak form of forward guidance (“The Committee does not intend to tighten monetary policy until there is clear evidence that significant progress is being made in eliminating spare capacity and achieving the 2% inflation target sustainably.”) Expectation:…
EU agreement on a pandemic fund boosted market and regulators’ wishes to move towards cross-border consolidation among European banks- the ECB’s vice-president, Luis de Guindos, has already warned of the need for the sector to continue with the merger process. Scenarios have started to be built again about who should be merging with whom. But unity around the EU pandemic fund is not about banks, say analysts at Scope Ratings.
The ECB has left its policy stance unchanged after today’s GC meeting. The tone of the press conference was a touch less dovish than expected and President Lagarde has not signaled any large swing in policy in the near term. The overall message was clear: the ECB is monitoring current developments (including the EUR) and assessing the efficiency of the current policy measures before acting with more accommodation