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ECB to start ABS purchases

MADRID | The Corner | The European Central Bank published the legal act for purchases of asset-backed securities, setting it up to start buying the debt as soon as this Friday. Proponents say the measure “could boost the shaky eurozone recovery by reducing borrowing costs for businesses, households and governments.” According to market watchers at Link Securities, Mario Draghi will reiterate the intention of adopting new measures to boost the economic growth in the Eurozone.

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Markets stall as fractious ECB fails to convince

MADRID | The Corner | Expect the market to stagnate in the days ahead, as markets continue to slump in the wake of the ECB’s disappointing announcement last Thursday and growing differences between the central bank’s counselors, who have failed to  agree on how to back ABS purchases. Whether it’s due to technical or fundamental reasons, the reality is that France (Mr Noyer) is against granting such state guarantees, in addition to Germany (Mr Weidmann) and Austria (Mr Nowotny).


ECB: More questions than answers

MADRID | The Corner | The ECB disappointed all those who were keen to gain more concrete information on how it wants to expand its balance sheet over the coming months. Instead, Mr Draghi pointed out that inflation expectations, not balance sheet size, remain the ultimate yardstick of current and future ECB action. “We think this is the right communications strategy as we had become concerned that the ECB would set fairly explicit balance sheet targets that it might struggle to attain. The ECB offered a more cautious assessment of the growth and inflation outlook and left the door open for additional unconventional measures. Nevertheless, our base case scenario remains that sovereign QE will not be triggered,” UBS analysts commented.

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ECB’s ABS: not much junk to buy

MADRID | By Julia Pastor | While the idea is spreading that the ECB can become the European “bad bank” if it finally buys securities from Greece and Cyprus, our readers should note that the ABS market is too small in some EU countries such as Spain. Also, many issuers do not even have a credit rating and those who have it would not obtain more than a BBB-. The reality is that there is not much “junk” to buy.

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Why Draghi failed to convince the markets?

MADRID | By JP Marin Arrese | The crash in stocks all over Europe vividly showed how bitterly Draghi’s asset-buying plan disclosed yesterday disappointed investors. Yet, his introductory statement was widely in line with expectations. He broadly delivered last month promise to cash ABS and covered bonds issued by banking institutions, so long as the assets met the standard collateral requirements for  ECB facilities. He even took a step forward by extending eligibility to lower than senior debt, the so-called mezzanine tranche. Furthermore, he provided firm assurances the plan would  be in place for two years. What turned so utterly wrong? Undoudtedly, the ensuing press conference unfolded into an unmitigated disaster.


ECB officially unveils its much awaited next move- yet not its size

Madrid | The Corner | We imagined the ECB wouldn’t unveil specific details about the size and form of its next move. Mario Draghi just explained on Thursday that they will be acquiring private sector assets: covered bonds from eurozone banks in mid-October and asset-backed securities (ABS) at some point in 4Q14 and for at least two years. The Frankfurt based institution kept rates at 0.05% and will be expanding its balance sheet up to March 2012 levels, which is, €1Tr, in order to spur the economic recovery.

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ABS drive, to the point

MADRID | The Corner | Mario Draghi will finally reveal the details of the private debt purchases program on Thursday. Markets take for granted that he will continue feeding expectations that he is willing to do more if necessary. The ECB’s President is however not likely to announce the acquisition of retained ABS, nor to include the so-called mezzanine tranches. As for the rumours about Mr Draghi pushing the ECB to eventually buy bundles of Greek and Cypriot bank loans with “junk” ratings, our readers should note that those tranches would be senior, and in very small amounts. However, “symbolically is an important issue about what they are willing to do,” JPMorgan analysts pointed out on Wednesday.




Why ABS drive will fail, Barclays reckons

MADRID | By Alberto Vigil at Barclays | The ABS purchases by the European Central Bank will not work basically because it is necessary for a regulatory change that does not penalise (in capital terms) either banks or insurance companies who have those securities. That is, if the ECB’s intention is to increase the amount of credit in the real economy, then it should have two specific goals: first, spreading the risk that banks assume when they provide credit; second, reducing banks’ costs of financing.