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.
MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | The Lehman Brothers example showed all too vividly how a credit institution might collapse should it find its coffers empty. Lack of confidence or sheer insolvency trigger financial crises. Yet the implosion always happens when depositors are unable to cash out their money. No wonder Basel III emphasized the need for banks to set up robust liquidity buffers.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
MADRID | By Julia Pastor | ECB’s upcoming ABS drive with senior, higher credit quality assets will be launched with or without guarantees from the states, that is for sure. The question is if countries will guarantee riskier tranches, the so-called mezzanine ABS. Spain is willing to do so if others go for it, yet Germany, France and the Netherlands are refusing. This makes sense since a state back up would mean to put assets with uneven exposure to bankruptcy on the same level. An eventual agreement would be a very difficult political decision. Details of the ABS plan will be announced after the central lender’s next monetary policy meeting on Oct. 2.
MADRID | The Corner | As expected, eurozone finance ministers have yet to agree on the guarantees requested by Mario Draghi for the riskier asset-backed securities (ABS), the so-called mezzanine level. Some countries such as Spain have already expressed their intention to guarantee them if some country of the zone euro did. Spanish economy minister pointed out that securitizations in Spain would not be at a comparative disadvantage. For the time being, not Germany nor France or the Netherlands will grant any collateral to the financial sector.
MADRID | The Corner | Mario Draghi finally unveiled the European Central Bank’s betting on further stimulating the eurozone: benchmark main refinancing rate will be cut from 0.15 per cent to 0.05 per cent and marginal deposit facility risen 0.1 per cent to 0.2 per cent. Also a programme to purchase a “broad portfolio of transparent asset-backed securities” will be in place from October this year. Thus, the ECB becomes the first central bank to announce large-scale asset purchases and negative deposit rates. Reactions were quick: the euro fell below the key threshold of $1.3 to hit a low of $1.2995.