European quantitative easing: Reality bites
It may have taken Trump, Brexit and the threat of a global trade war, but the markets in Europe are finally waking up to what the end of QE will look like.
European SMEs: Doing banking well is not so complicated
Rather than super-CEOs and messianic technology, European banks might find salvation simply in small-business lending by empowered staff. As some of the best-performing banks recognize, keeping to the basics offers good long-term returns.
Western Europe: Pensions’ raid on mortgages heads north
Non-banks eye new funds to triple originations; interest margins at risk across Europe.
Risk metrics favour Portugal despite Italy contagion
The crisis in Italy has rocked European assets, but Portugal’s longer-term prospects are bright.
How the banking union fell into an Italian abyss
Despite the latest attempts to stymie them, Eurosceptic populists remain the most powerful political force in Italy – largely thanks to anger at a banking crisis, often fanned by the ECB. Now their approach to power is killing the last chance of fixing the banking union, and possibly the euro.
Risk experts take flight over Italy’s political shock
The new government is imminent and is expected to announce policies that will cause financial markets to turn their attentions from the recovering economy to unorthodox populism.
Nordea’s big-little brave-boring move
Nordea, which gained shareholder approval to move its headquarters into the eurozone in March, has made much of its decision.
ABN Amro’s fate is also Europe’s
The Dutch bank’s future as a standalone bank is once again in question.
Banking: After wolves, Ireland fends off vultures
The near collapse of Ireland’s banks during the financial crisis did little to endear them to the nation. Now, as they return to profitability, the banks find themselves involved in another political controversy; this time over their attempts to sell off non-performing loans.
ABN Amro’s fate is also Europe’s
The Dutch bank’s future as a standalone bank is once again in question.
Estonian lender targets London’s fintechs
LHV looks to expand cryptocurrency customer base; UK head sees opportunities for EU banks in Brexit.
Banking: No trust in Malta
Pontificating CEO of Pilatus Bank is arrested.
These are the eurozone’s next big bank mergers
Stock market ups and downs over the last two years reveal a new line-up of possible big bank buyers in the eurozone. If they wait for balance sheet clean-ups and government sell-downs, they may have to up their bids.
CaixaBank brushes off Catalan crisis
Redomicile quelled depositor fears, says CEO; economy boosts newly acquired Portuguese business.
Latvian banking: Let there be light
For too long, the country has been at the top of the world’s news agenda for all the wrong reasons.
Europe’s banks need a faster recovery
After a year in the recovery ward, 2017 results show some banks are healing. The most serious illness, negative rates, is stubbornly resistant however. The danger remains that banks may not recover before another disease –financial or technological – strikes.
Italy’s debt problem still a huge risk
The elections will deliver a new government, but the old challenges remain.
CEE banking: Looking on the bright side
February 09, 2018
After a lot of provisioning and restructuring, CEE banks have returns on equity that others can only dream about.
French debt binge turns spotlight on buy-outs
Cap on French banks’ corporate exposures could be transferred across Europe; household leverage outpacing corporate.
ECR survey results Q4 2017: EMs back in vogue as global prospects soar
Eurozone renaissance defies Brexit.
Where the gold lies in European FIG
European bank mergers should be of more interest to European than US investment banks.
Banking: France’s mere mortals are alive and well
French bankers, like its politicians, do best when they promise less and achieve more – especially on the international stage.
NPLs: European disunion
Any attempt to deal with Europe’s non-performing loans always seems to end up in a fight.
Alternative awards of the year 2017
Survivor of the year/‘How’s he still in a job’ award? Bank of Italy governor Ignazio Visco.
Central banks: will the gift keep on giving?
Monetary policy has delivered global growth and booming asset prices. During the financial crisis and its aftermath, central bankers demonstrated admirable pragmatic radicalism. But monetary policy is not a cure-all, and another global downturn will present an even tougher test for policymakers.
SRB still holds most of the cards after Banco Popular shareholders’ partial victory
The Single Resolution Board was wrong to wholly redact the Spanish bank’s valuation report but it will fight hard to keep its workings as opaque as possible.
Housing dip could knock the Nordics
As European banks are recovering, Nordic banks are facing perhaps their biggest challenge since the 2008 crisis. Their time as the darlings of the sector may be over.
Regulation: English-law bonds could be excluded from MREL post-Brexit
Banks in the eurozone will not be able to count any of their English-law bail-inable debt toward their pending requirements if no Brexit deal is reached between the EU and UK – translating into some €126 billion of subordinated bonds.
Western Europe: European banking’s behind-the-scenes activist
An investment fund focused on banks with a slant on Europe and Italy might sound like a recipe for disaster, but Davide Serra of Algebris tells a story of market-beating returns and snowballing AuM, and thinks the best times lie ahead.
European banking: What can an activist do?
Hard-ball US-style activism is unlikely to succeed in Europe.
ECB piles more pressure on Italian mid-tier
Lenders recoil at new deadlines for 100% NPL coverage; ECB throws spanner in works of Banca Carige capital raising.
CMU key to solving the ‘real problem of Europe’
Bankers see European capital markets union as more needed than ever to help drive growth in the region, but are fretting about slow progress and a scope some feel is too narrow – however, an EU official attending the Institute of International Finance meetings in Washington defended the bloc’s approach.
Markets prepare for rising rates as Draghi recalibrates
When rates start to rise, the big action will be in credit markets. Banks are already staffing up amid efforts to unfreeze the market structure and make it easier to take on and lay off risk.
Why Popular problems still afflict Spain
The speed with which Santander took on Popular has boosted confidence in the recovery of Spain’s economy and banks, but what are the implications of its high provisions for Popular’s NPLs in a banking system still awash in problem loans?
European banking: The Spanish inquisition
Santander’s takeover of Banco Popular was certainly in the public interest, but did it break EU law?
Hedging against rate rises in Europe
If European bond investors want to protect against rising rates, they must first put on more risk.
The great Greek Balkan banking sell-off
NBG and Alpha speed up exits; private equity buyers appear.
Low rates hobble Germany’s public banks
Germany’s public-sector banks are not meant to be profitable – they have a social function – but even though stresses will continue, savings banks have found ways to work with the Landesbanks.
Bank resolution: The exception does not always prove the rule
Nearly every time Europe’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive is called into play, there seems to be a new justification for using public money.
Banking: Throwing the bail-in out with the bath water
A textbook case, a long-inevitable state bailout and a brazen political fudge: Europe’s BRRD has had something of a rough ride this summer. As the region’s banks brace themselves for the capital-raising marathon that is MREL, are the new resolution regulations actually doing more harm than good?
Nordea move shows Wahlroos is not all bark
As Stockholm loses its biggest bank, the threat by Nordea’s chairman Björn Wahlroos – peeved at higher Swedish resolution fees – to redomicile to Helsinki proves to have been no empty one, but the bank’s new home under the ECB could hold some disappointments in store.
Country risk: Greece is on the long road back
There are still huge obstacles ahead for the high-risk, tier-5 borrower, but the improvement in Euromoney’s country risk survey has been matched by credit rating upgrades and lower borrowing costs.
Hedging against the unwind of QE in Europe
Amid rising uncertainty over when the ECB will end quantitative easing and the likely extent of rate rises in the eurozone, the realization dawns that some investors could suffer devastating losses.
Italy is still Europe’s main political tail-risk
Europe’s investor prospects are superficially safer due to economic recovery, but elections in Germany and in Italy, especially, present tail-risks. This is a manifestation of deeper uncertainty urging a fresh approach to risk management.
Germany’s risk spike is not just election related
There are numerous risks for the government to address as the country prepares to elect a new parliament in September.
Past misdeeds haunt Latvia’s banking sector
Reversing the country’s reputation will take a long time. At least a start has been made.
ECB botches leveraged finance guidelines
The European Central Bank (ECB) has irritated bankers with efforts to impose its own equivalent to US standards on leverage finance that may be doomed anyway.
Italy rescue fund manager hits back at critics
Firm behind Atlante rubbishes private offers for Veneto banks; freed funds for MPS deal a ‘coincidence’.
Some investors buy even as ECB sparks bond market falls
While economists debate the likely path to reduction in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) swollen €4.2 trillion balance sheet, debt capital markets investors continue to buy long-dated bonds from sovereign, supranational and agency issuers.
Spanish banking: Santander swoops
A big depositor run in Spain spells trouble for some – but the country’s biggest bank thinks it has spotted an opportunity.
Nordic banks might not be the right model
Efficient and well-capitalized, Scandinavian and Dutch banks are the darlings of Europe’s investor community. But if pride is the worst sin in banking, they could be heading for a fall.
Europe’s taper tantrum exposes bond market vulnerability
Any movement in eurozone policy rates in the near future remains unlikely, but the mini taper tantrum at the end of June shows just how sensitive markets are to central bank signalling.
Spain’s bank rescue could make tier 2 less Popular
Both AT1 and tier-2 investors lost everything when Banco Santander rescued Banco Popular, while senior bondholders were untouched. The rescue has shown that when banks in Europe get into trouble it is liquidity, not capital, that matters and that the fate of subordinated bondholders is anything but predictable.
Portugal’s declining risks should return its complement of investment grades
It won the Euros, it won Eurovision – now it is time to win back its lost investment grades.
Markets brace for the great QE unwind
Quantitative easing has been the defining monetary policy innovation of the 21st century. With global economic recovery now seemingly robust, the challenge facing policymakers is to reverse this stimulus. This is likely to be fraught with danger, particularly in Europe.
Private equity: Distressed funds are Europe’s new shareholder of last resort
Private equity funds specializing in distressed debt will strike a hard bargain before acquiring and recapitalizing troubled banks, but European state-aid rules make the alternative even less appealing.
European regulation: Banks need union for profitability
The drive to integrate the European banking system has taken a back seat as regulators have become concerned at the lack of profitability in the sector. Can banking in the EU be sustainable without union and with so much onerous regulation?
Emerging Europe banking: EU pressure pays off
European authorities deserve credit for pushing through reform of Slovenia’s banking sector.
Inside investment: Learning to love the euro
Eurozone stress has been felt most acutely in the so-called periphery, but investors should look at the core of the European Union.
QE: It’s the monetary policy, stupid
Central bank risk, not political risk, should be bond investors’ primary focus.
Western Europe: Europe’s banks leave the emergency ward
The ECB’s inflation outlook in March gave hope that, after a year in intensive care, European banks are recovering. There is a sense that Basel risk-weighting rules pose less of an immediate danger, while peak regulation has passed. Is European banking cured or only in remission?
Banking: The UK versus Europe
Continental European banks have long looked with envy over the English Channel – more than ever since the eurozone crisis – but with UK banks facing Brexit and a more advanced economic cycle, and as a degree of inflationary confidence returns to the eurozone, could the tables be turning?
Western Europe banking: The long road to redemption
The fortunes of the Spanish banks show how the recovery story investors have latched onto recently may be just as simplistic as the doom scenario they imagined only a few months ago.
Country risk: Italy is the volcano waiting to erupt
An improving eurozone economy is failing to provide investors with encouragement about Italy’s prospects as it comes back into focus after the French elections.
Against the tide: Election summer surprises
Two elections in Europe in a month will certainly ruffle the feathers of financial markets.
France's regulated savings: A growing cost of tradition
The increasing burden of France’s regulated savings comes just when banks are less able to afford them.
Against the tide: Populist threat held off but don’t expect bond rally
The populist surge is being restrained for now, but several factors are likely to drive up sovereign bond yields in Europe.
Banking: Lessons from America
While US regional banks are thriving, European banks of a similar size, in similar economies, are the focus of concern. If they want to survive in a rapidly changing eurozone, they might do well to take a look at provincial America.
Banking: Europe’s battle to fix the ‘doom loop’
Breaking the sovereign/bank nexus has been a priority for policymakers since the global financial crisis. The problem is particularly acute in Europe. One proposal, to end the preferential capital treatment for the sovereign exposures of banks, may presage a revolution in European capital markets. But getting Europe’s rival factions to agree on a policy is far from simple.
Western Europe: Portugal’s banks receive life support, at a cost
Lone Star enters final talks on Novo Banco takeover; BCP heads to Chinese and Angolan control; CaixaBank takes BPI majority.
Delays to second bailout cause spike in Greek risk
Greece must find a way to secure more aid from its creditors, but is caught in the crossfire between the IMF defending its pleas for debt relief and European policymakers insisting on repayment. The outcome is likely to be messy given the preponderance of elections in Europe this year, and a sense of déjà vu by kicking the can further down the road.
Country risk expert insight: Hydra-headed debt crisis rears its ugly heads again in Greece
February 24, 2017
In Q4 2016, Greece’s ECR score took another turn for the worse and declined by 0.27 points, dropping to 113th in the country risk rankings. This was a result of lower regulatory environment and overall demographic assessments, but most notably declining debt indicator scores. ECR asks two experts what the wider implications are for the eurozone.
The Netherlands remains a safe place to invest
Geert Wilders’ Eurosceptic-populist Freedom Party might win the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Yet the prospect of him forming a government is low, preventing political risk from overshadowing economic and fiscal strengths.
European NPLs: Think global, act local
Setting up a European bad bank is a dauntingly complicated and time-consuming proposition. Europe’s NPL problem needs to be tackled at the national level.
EBA’s Enria says Europe-wide bad bank is essential to avoid Japan-style stagnation
European bad bank could incentivize banks to transfer their bad loans, but the problem still won’t be fixed without state aid.
Against the tide: Italy – another victim of the anger vote
With the sizeable majority voting no to political reform in the Italian referendum, the anger vote has claimed its next victim – Italy. The dominoes of Brexit, Trump and now Italy continue to fall.
Euromoney Country Risk survey results 2016: Italy, UK and US shocks underline the risks of populism, as oil exporters take a caning
ECR’s crowd-sourcing survey shows global risk rising in 2016, with leading economists and political experts revising their views on asset safety.
Portugal’s doubtful Chinese bailout
Chinese firms are back in the running for control of Portuguese banking. The two sides are more used to doing business now – and the sellers are even more desperate for capital.
Year in data 2016: A watershed year for European bank shares
For many European bank stocks, 2016 was an unrelentingly awful year.
Spain: BMN merger to trigger sales as Rajoy returns
Bankia privatization looms; caja independence in doubt as IPOs lag.
Spain: Creditor deal saves Abengoa – for now
Hedge funds gain security over crown jewel; Isolux much quicker to reach agreement.
ECB holds Popular’s feet to the flames
Even after a third capital raising in June, the difficulty funding Banco Popular’s real estate spin-off shows how much uncertainty remains in Spanish banking. As new CEO Pedro Larena attempts another rescue, a sale could be the only answer. But any rescue-by-merger will need sweeteners for the acquirer.
Emerging Europe: Lithuania goes all in on fintech
Of all the cities lining up to poach London’s business post-Brexit, Vilnius might seem the most unlikely. Yet the Lithuanian capital has much to offer financial firms, from liveability and local talent to cutting-edge fintech regulation. Euromoney visits a small city with big ambitions.
Italian shock might blow a hole in stronger Piigs risk profile
Investor prospects in Portugal, Ireland, Spain and even Greece have brightened this year, but Italy could still put a damper on the recovery.
Country risk expert insight: Spain after the political impasse
The political chaos, which left the country without a government for 10 months after two election rounds, seems to be finally contained as a new minority government is in the making.
Italy bond: Methuselah madness
A bet on QE expansion overrode worries about the referendum for Italy’s 50-year debut.
Germany’s banks go down with the ship
The shortcomings of German banking have steered it into a shipping crisis on a scale that is only now being appreciated. Shipping loans are already pulling some of the state-owned wholesale banks under water, making previous failures to properly remodel the sector even more obvious.
Europe banking: The 20-year trade with zero return
European banks stocks have been on a tear since their summer lows, with the Stoxx Europe 600 banks index rising by 30% from the bottom of 117 in early July, up to 153 at the end of October.
Against the tide: Europe’s banks still in trouble
Another European banking crunch is on the horizon thanks to legacy problems that have not been fixed.
Activist investors: Fund activism on the rise in Europe
European activism reaches record levels; softer approach contrasts with US aggression.
Italy’s rising risk is warning of an existential eurozone shock
Its risk score plunged the most of any country worldwide in Euromoney’s country risk survey in Q3 2016, highlighting how eurozone investors must remain on their toes.
Slovenia’s sunny outlook a bright spot amid gloomy neighbours
The country is gradually improving its position in the ECR rankings – unlike several of its neighbours.
ECB: Intervention without dread
The European Central Bank must take action, but with nuance, in its new regulatory framework for non-performing loans.
Rating review puts Portugal on edge
Agency fears growth outlook ahead of review; ECB liquidity support in peril.
Against the tide: Politics and economics – the anger vote
The European Project faces a much greater danger from the rise of populism than from the sovereign debt crisis.
CEE sovereigns: Slovenia regains top-tier borrower status
Banks’ sovereign coverage models in the spotlight; consistency is key, say market leaders.
Against the tide: Monetary policy measures – Helicopter money? Not likely
The advantages of helicopter money are dubious and they come with large risks attached.
Emerging Europe: Latvia looks beyond its big bank clean-up
Its banking sector has earned an unenviable reputation thanks to the growth of financial institutions serving non-residents – principally from Russia. Regulators are now, finally, cleaning house. But the challenge for local banks remains: how to make money in a small, over-banked domestic market.
Belgium ups the ante in regulatory war on leverage for retail FX
Regulators around the world have repeatedly tried to tackle the problem of excessive leverage being freely available to retail, particularly in FX, but Belgium's outright ban on leveraged products is the most radical solution yet.
Spain, Turkey bank risk puts cloak of fear over Europe’s investor outlook
While the focus has been on how Italy must resolve its banking sector problems, investors should also be keeping an eye on the risks lurking elsewhere in Europe.
Against the tide: Political flashpoints
The attempted coup in Turkey and the ever-widening purge of those in opposition to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan have set the scene for the end of the country’s accession into the EU, created huge uncertainty about the implementation of the EU-Turkey immigration deal and increased the forces for populism and separation from the EU project.
Structural problems and underperforming economy the biggest threat to Italy
The Italian banking sector suffered a spanking in the European Banking Authority’s stress tests last week, but the banking system is not the only issue for the sovereign. Italy’s risk score could drop further this year if the government does not gain a mandate to carry out much-needed reforms.
Italian banking: Squaring the circle
Italy’s banks cannot deal with their NPLs unless they have capital, but they are not being allowed to recapitalize until they have dealt with their NPLs.
Portugal: bail-in guinea pig or back-door bail-out?
Could Lisbon make its two biggest problems one by nationalizing Novo Banco and merging it with CGD?
Europe’s bank stability is in question, say country risk experts
Country-by-country assessments of Europe’s banking sector show that risks are at new highs, as the financial services industry struggles to cope with the aftershocks of the 2007/08 crisis. Resolving the Italian bank crisis is key to how it will all pan out.
Country risk: Cyprus is stronger than its ratings claim
Three years on from securing a bailout, the island nation is still addressing the fallout. Yet the economy is growing, political continuity is assured and credit rating agencies are playing catch-up.
EU referendum: UK banks brace for Brexit risk
Existential threat to euro wholesale industry; Fears for loss of single-market passport.
ECB's corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP): what you need to know
Euromoney’s round-up of the European Central Bank’s CSPP, including the eligibility criteria and process.
CSPP: The bull in the corporate china shop
News of the ECB’s corporate-sector purchasing programme shocked the market in March and has already prompted a stampede for paper among desperate investors before the central bank has purchased a single bond. Bankers and investors are already complaining that the programme will not have its desired effect.
Time to fix UniCredit
Under a new CEO, investors in Italy’s biggest bank need to see shock and awe.
Banking: To CEE or not to CEE
The old pan-regional banking model is under threat but that presents opportunities for new champions to emerge.
What does emerging Europe get out of banking union?
In the great debate on banking union, the smaller markets of emerging Europe are often overlooked. Yet, with banking sectors dominated by eurozone groups, they are uniquely vulnerable to changing regulatory regimes.
Slovenia to privatize NLB in public listing
‘Cumbersome’ lender may struggle for demand; Apollo targets 25% market share for NKBM.
Portuguese backlash against Spanish banks
Manifesto decries foreign control; signatories call for local bank.
Western Europe: Portugal’s sharp edges
Mario Centeno has the unenviable task of being the face of fiscal responsibility in a government elected on an anti-austerity ticket. The finance minister must cut his way through international criticism, privatization and the struggles of the local banking system.
Greece hosts KKR scheme as NPL market opens
Alpha and Eurobank join Pillarstone platform; regulatory changes could spur more deals.
Italy banking: Atlas wrestles critics over size
Bank backstop fund competes with private equity; doubters say it should be four times bigger.
Slovakia leaps ahead of France, reveals country risk survey
They’re cheering in Bratislava as changing country-risk perceptions make Slovakia the safer option.
Italy banking: Inside Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
State-backed Cassa Depositi e Prestiti's (CDP) mission to jumpstart the Italian economy has been met with scepticism. CEO Fabio Gallia tells Euromoney why he is convinced it will succeed, while fears over Italy's NPL conundrum and bank-restructuring saga refuse to abate.
The big wobble: Can the SSM stabilize Europe's banking system?
The Single Supervisory Mechanism, the eurozone’s new banking supervisor, is tasked with combating financial fragmentation, building a banking union and, above all, making Europe’s banks investable once again. The first few months of its tenure were some of the most difficult since the dark days of the euro crisis. Bankers’ scepticism about the new regime is the least of their worries.
SSM: Banks brace for punishment on credit risk, sovereign debt
Apart from standardizing the numerator for banks’ solvency ratio (capital), the eurozone and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision are going to analyse and, where necessary, harmonise the denominator (risk-weighted assets).
Italy banking merger: Beginning or end?
Mixed regulatory messages cloud the outlook after Italy’s first big bank merger since 2008.
Inside investment: Driving lessons from Greece
Central bank policy has evolved from unorthodox to downright strange as politicians have failed to take control of the post-crisis economy. Sooner rather later they will confront a stark choice signposted Greece or Ireland.
Sideways: ECB pixie dust fails to revive credit trading
The European Central Bank’s announcement that it will extend its debt purchases to corporate bonds has given a boost to the region’s investment banks.
Sovereignty weighs on Portugal’s banking recovery
Portugal’s banks are doing better than at any point since the eurozone crisis. But local bankers’ optimism is tempered by concerns over ownership issues at BPI, Banif and Novo Banco.
Country risk: Solid Slovenia pushes nose in front of European comeback countries
Ljubljana is a happier place these days, overcoming the banking and political crisis weighing on its prospects. Investors should take note: Slovenia is one of several smaller European countries making a comeback.
Country risk: Why Italy is a safer bet than Spain
Delve into the details of their respective economic and political prospects, and Italy’s investor credentials are seemingly more favourable than Spain’s.
Italy: Rome fiddles as banks burn
State bad debt scheme to chip not chop; BCC reform could create top-three lender.
EU banking union ushers in new era
Bail-in uncertainties remain; Portugal and Italy mark tough start for BRRD.
Banking: Portugal’s bail-in bombshell
Portugal’s central bank had very few options when it decided to bail-in senior bondholders of Novo Banco at the end of last year. The move has dismayed investors and may breach the ECB’s newly introduced bail-in powers. Have years of effort in developing a bank resolution regime already gone up in smoke? And what does it all mean for a deeply shaken market for bank funding?
Portugal banking: The long shadow of Banif and BES
The Bank of Portugal’s decision to transfer just five tranches of bonds on December 29 was not made in isolation. Bankers close to the situation in Portugal say two previous situations influenced the central bank’s thinking.
Novo Banco bail-in may breach BRRD transfer rules
Bank of Portugal tells Euromoney that Novo Banco bail in has satisfied BRRD conditions for the exercise of retransfer power but insolvency experts believe that important criteria have not been met.
Irish banks: optimism at last
After near extinction in 2011, Ireland’s banks are well on their way back to profitability and growth. But, as the nation’s debt levels continue to fall, can the banks prosper in a credit-less recovery?
Ireland’s bank CEOs play to their audiences
The scale of the banking crisis in Ireland has made those banks’ leaders into national figures. There is often a theatrical element to Irish public life and the bank CEOs are convincing actors.
Macaskill on markets: How to game a Draghi Put for corporate bonds
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has been dropping further hints that he is considering unconventional measures to combat deflationary pressures in the region. This sets the stage for potential central bank buying of European corporate bonds, which in turn raises the question of whether there will be opportunities for nimble investors to game a new ‘Draghi Put’ for corporate credit.
Against the tide: Cameron’s sterling effort
Britain’s renegotiation of its relationship with the EU could be a good thing for Europe too.
Against the tide: Spain is a gauge for Europe
The country is an indicator of the European Union’s future.
Inside the race for Italy's NPLs
International investors are scrambling to establish themselves as the country’s huge NPL market finally starts to creak open. But this is not a market for the faint-hearted, and achieving those double-digit rates of return will require skill and unrivalled local knowledge.
Country risk: Why Moody’s is wrong on Ireland
Ireland’s triple-B rating is out of line with its improving ranking in Euromoney’s country risk survey. Even Fitch and S&P might need to take action if the trend continues.
Euromoney special report: Portugal
Capital markets and M&A in Portugal post-Troika; Portugal: investing in sustainable growth; Still progressing, despite the setbacks
Against the tide: Is Italy turning?
Renzi’s reforms and favourable winds seem to be working some magic on the country’s numbers.
Cyprus almost as safe as Portugal
The island state has returned to growth earlier than expected in spite of its trade and banking-sector exposures to Greece, after the banking crisis caused a severe macro-economic adjustment.
Country risk: There’s an A in Iceland
Iceland and Ireland, two of the earliest victims of the sovereign debt crisis that hit Europe in 2009 are ahead of the pack again – but this time they are leading the way by re-establishing themselves as economic success stories. Euromoney Country Risk’s survey charts the risers and fallers.
Croatia joins 'next Greece' club
Comparing countries with Greece is a futile exercise, which is also alarmist and potentially damaging. Let’s put an end to the lazy shorthand.
Awards for Excellence 2015: Banker of the year
John Hourican, the Bank of Cyprus chief executive, will move on this summer after restoring the bank to health. The rapid recovery of the bank led to a net increase in deposits in Cyprus in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time since the bail-in in March 2013, a trend that has continued into 2015 despite uncertainty in Greece and the full abolition of capital controls.
Country Awards for Excellence 2015: Western Europe – Cyprus
Best bank: Bank of Cyprus.
Euromoney Country Risk survey results H1 2015: In search of safe havens with Greece on the brink
The latest quarterly round-up from Euromoney’s crowd-sourcing country risk survey – a unique poll of more than 440 expert participants – shows no fewer than 80 of the world’s 186 sovereigns becoming riskier during the first half of 2015.
Portugal and Hungary to reclaim investment grade, says risk survey
Euromoney’s crowd-sourcing, survey-based approach to evaluating country risk successfully predicted a similar path for the Philippines two years ago. In addition to these two European borrowers, however, there are a handful of others with longer-term prospects for investors to keep an eye on.
Banking in Italy: Economies of scale
Only structural change, not tweaks, will bring a recovery across Italy’s banking sector.
Portugal debate: Portugal perks up
The country’s economic recovery continues to gather momentum, underpinned by strengthening domestic demand and robust exports. The government has regained access to the international capital markets and concerns about contagion have receded. There are still vulnerabilities: debt levels are high and the banking system is weak. But Portugal has a spring in its step that it has not had since before the crisis.
Against the tide: UK politics – Dependent and independent
The newly elected Tory party must wrestle with an invigorated SNP and its old bête noire, the EU. The proposed in/out referendum will cast a long shadow over the UK.
Crisis in Greece still threatening the eurozone
Euromoney’s risk experts weigh up the various options as the ‘end-game’ nears.
Against the tide: Greece – the joker in the pack
The eurozone recovery looks increasingly secure but the low growth rate is still a big cause for concern.
Tsipras prepares the ground for compromise as Greek deal inches closer
As the race to reach an agreement on Greek reforms and the latest instalment on the European aid package enters its final weeks, prime minister Alexis Tsipras looks set to make the necessary concessions to secure European assistance.
Emerging Europe: Euro bond buyers flock to Balkan quartet
Bulgaria sells €3.1 billion record breaker; Slovenia prices 20-year deal inside Spain.
How eurozone QE is reshaping the bond markets
If Europe’s economy remains in crisis, then someone please tell the bond markets. The ECB’s asset purchase programme has driven half of the EU’s sovereign debt pile into negative yield territory. And Draghi’s plan has only just started. Funds see little choice but to follow the QE monster on its path of destruction through the yield curve. Will that lead to the surreal outcome of all EU sovereigns yielding the same, regardless of credit quality?
Against the tide: Glow of recovery in Europe
At times the ECB seems to lurk so far behind the curve that it appears to be using some sort of random monetary-policy generator.
Against the tide: The fragmentation of Europe
Political pressures and lack of growth have put the European project under threat. Reform is urgently needed to set Europe back on course.
Portugal’s ‘Syriza’ faces uphill battle
A relatively stable political climate has boosted Portugal’s economic recovery and secured record low borrowing costs. But are markets too complacent? Euromoney interviews anti-austerity advocate Rui Tavares, a leftist founder of Livre and an ally of Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, as the ruling centre-coalition seeks to secure its position ahead of the September elections.
ECB commences covered bonds amid intrigue
The ECB commenced its covered bonds purchasing programme last week, but no sooner had it started than rumours surfaced about a new plan to purchase corporate bonds. The fevered speculation demonstrates the lack of confidence in the ECB's existing plan, reviving questions about full-scale QE and its seniority in bond holdings.
Failed ECB asset purchases plan has wrought 'malign impacts' for the market
The corporate bond market fears crowding out as quantitative easing looms.
Against the tide: The ECB goes for broke
The eurozone’s economic fortunes should start to recover with the arrival, at last, of full-blown quantitative easing. As the world’s leading currencies are set for a race to the bottom, it could be time to buy gold.
Greek banks – quiet buy or screaming sell?
Nothing appears more contrarian than going long the Russian rouble and short the Swiss franc. But investing in Greek banks may be up there too.
Santander deal raises doubts over ECB stress test
On January 8, Santander took a volatile equity market by surprise, raising €7.5 billion ($8.9 billion) through an accelerated bookbuild, the largest such deal on record in the European equity capital markets.
Mugur Isarescu: Romania’s central figure
As austerity has kicked in, so have Romania’s euro membership aspirations been set back, from an initial 2010 to 2012, which then pushed out to 2015. Even that has proved ambitious. With the euro in turmoil, Isarescu says it is better for Romania to stay outside the euro, while still aiming to meet the convergence criteria disciplines.
All eyes back on Greece but break-up still unlikely, say analysts
Concerns that Greece could be on the verge of leaving the euro are back to the fore after the country called elections that could usher in a government determined to rip up the existing aid agreement – but analysts doubt the brinkmanship will lead to Greece leaving the single currency, let alone a full-scale euro break-up.
Distressed debt: AQR unearths a further €136 billion NPLs in Europe
Stress tests fail to address corporate lending; online platforms might have emerged too late.
Banking: AQR aftermath throws up more questions for banks
Investors greeted the European Central Bank’s asset quality review with little more than a shrug. They view it as merely the first step on a journey to enhanced and uniform bank supervision that might take a decade to complete. They are much more worried about the sustainability of banks’ business models and whether or not they can even earn enough to service their growing capital stack.
Heightened French risk still imperilling the eurozone
France’s creditworthiness has continually worsened during the six years since the global financial crisis. The question is whether the rising risk trend will continue into 2015 and will that begin to affect its borrowing costs, which have recently hit record lows.
Bundesbank’s Dombret says trust restored in European banking system
In an interview with Euromoney, Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret sounds an upbeat note on the rigour of the ECB’s asset-quality review (AQR) and the eurozone’s resolution arrangements, but issues a sharp warning over banks’ risk-free treatment of sovereign debt.
Against the tide: Eurozone still under the cosh
The financial sector remains central to the eurozone’s economic woes. Promises of ECB support only prolong the problem.
ECB commences covered bonds amid intrigue
The ECB commenced its covered bonds purchasing programme last week, but no sooner had it started than rumours surfaced about a new plan to purchase corporate bonds. The fevered speculation demonstrates the lack of confidence in the ECB's existing plan, reviving questions about full-scale QE and its seniority in bond holdings.
Against the tide: Draghi’s dilemma
The ECB president is striving to stave off deflation in the eurozone yet Germany will not countenance full quantitative easing. Something must give.
Draghi prays for a miracle but capital weightings leave his ABS purchase programme fatally hobbled
ABS purchases to include Greece and Cyprus as ECB reveals latest plan for balance-sheet expansion.
Inside investment: ECB palliatives and the sick men
Unless there is an accelerated plan for full political and fiscal union, the next eurozone crisis could prove existential.
Jury out on ECB’s ABS plan
Market players are hoping Draghi can overcome liquidity and scale challenges in his much-trumpeted ABS purchase plan – seen by some as QE by another name – but if he fails the central bank will have no option but to resort to QE, say analysts.
ECB jumps gun with ABS purchase programme
The European Central Bank’s announcement on Thursday that it would start a private sector purchase programme of both ABS and covered bonds was both widely anticipated and yet still quite shocking.
Draghi wows but market remains fixated on QE
Analysts are divided over the outlook for the euro and the likely potency of the ECB latest monetary-easing measures, after Thursday’s meeting that saw the central bank cutting rates and announcing the October launch of an ABS purchasing programme. While the measures will buoy credit at the front-end, the jury is out on full-scale QE in the coming months.
Greece seeks swifter NPL resolution regime
€75 billion or 35% of Greek loans non-performing; analysts warn banks could face €12 billion capital hole.
Europe’s bank risks back under the spotlight
The failure of Portuguese lender Banco Espírito Santo (BES) points to lingering fault lines in the financial regulatory framework and knock-on effects for banks outside the EU.
Portugal rates investment grade in spite of its bank troubles
Investors might be worried by the tail-risk implications of the failed Portuguese lender BES but the sovereign is in a much improved state since completing its three-year bailout programme.
Greek banks focus on the present
August 2014 Against the tide: QE this year is inevitable
The country seems to be turning a corner: there are hopes its economy might return to growth this year. Local banks think they’re in good shape for the European Banking Authority tests and that there might even be opportunities in non-performing loans.
ECB president Mario Draghi has resisted using his quantitative easing bazooka up to now. However, with inflation expectations already moving lower, he will have to fire it before the year is out.
The latest results from the ECR survey show emerging markets (EMs) becoming riskier during the first half of this year, in contrast to the increasing safety offered by developed countries across the G10 and an improving eurozone.
The spillover from the proposed voiding of state guarantees on subordinate debt of Austria’s Hypo Alpe Adria could hit bonds of other banks across Europe.
Against the tide: Time for ECB action
There is no time to waste for intervention to overcome persistently low inflation in the eurozone.
Bulgaria and Croatia on negative ECR trend
Focusing on the larger, fragile EMs has deflected attention away from worrying risk trends afflicting other borrowers.
Credit rating agencies' shortcomings laid bare by ECR eurozone periphery trends
Experts taking part in Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey were ahead of the game in predicting the increased default risk plaguing peripheral, eurozone sovereigns in the wake of the 2008 crisis, and repeatedly so across a range of issuers.
Riding the Baltic rollercoaster
Concerns about the Crimea crisis risk taking the gloss off euro entry for Latvia and Lithuania, but it is the legacy of recession that still poses the biggest challenges for the region’s banking sectors.
Eurozone still on-course for break-up, warns Saxo CEO
Lars Seier Christensen and other speakers at Saxo Bank event share concerns that, despite appearances, the eurozone has not averted the threat of break-up and blasts EU’s ‘totalitarian model’.
Ireland and Spain lead the way on a long road back for the eurozone periphery
Improved risk scores by Euromoney Country Risk indicate the worst might be over for the debt-distressed eurozone sovereigns, but caution is the buzzword, as many countries are grappling with huge debt burdens, and with question marks still surrounding Greece.
Euromoney Country Risk Survey results Q1 2014: Confidence in EMs nosedives as eurozone trust returns
The rise in global risk witnessed in 2013 continued during the first quarter of this year as experts taking part in Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey reassessed the investment prospects of EMs versus their developed-country counterparts.
Jury remains out on ECB deflation-fighting plans
Draghi attempted to convince markets at Thursday’s press briefing that the ECB has officially awarded itself some new monetary policy tools – with the most dramatic being QE – as it frets over the prospect of the eurozone sliding into deflation.
Šimonyte: Lithuanian central bank eyes euro ambition ECB surprises markets with ‘do nothing’ strategy
Bank of Lithuania deputy chief Ingrida Šimonyte discusses the country’s euro-adoption plans, the challenges for the foreign-owned banking system, and the asset quality review in a wide-ranging interview.
Enduring strength in the euro might derail any nascent recovery
Portugal set fair to exit the bailout
Rates buyers are moving back into Portuguese government bonds as yields fall, growth returns and exports boom.
Against the tide: Populism might gain, but the centre will unite
The EU elections are likely to deliver big gains for populist parties of the left and right, namely those opposed to the European project and/or further integration.
Emerging Europe: Slovenia bailout ‘the last one’ says central bank
Privatization a great opportunity; credit demand remains weak.
Italian political drama predicted by country-risk experts
The appointment of Matteo Renzi as Italy’s new prime minister highlights the problem of consensus policymaking that has been worrying risk experts for some time.
Against the tide: Debt deflation in Europe?
A more optimistic picture of the eurozone economy is clouded by deflationary pressures, which are especially perilous in Greece. There is no easy fix, but a cheaper euro would help.
Euromoney Country Risk Survey results FY2013: Eurozone woes and tapering fears stalk global economy
Global risk continued to rise in 2013, according to the latest results of Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey. Gloomy analysts remain cautious on the eurozone and the potential impact of the withdrawal of US monetary stimulus on capital flows to emerging market economies.
Deflation fears to renew currency wars as ECB poised for QE, say analysts
With global economic growth still stuttering, currency depreciation has become a zero-sum game for central banks, and recent developments in some key currencies have shown that fears of an inflation undershoot or outright deflation will remain an important driver for their currency policies.
Against the tide: Don’t be beastly to Germans
US claims that Germany’s external surpluses are hindering global recovery are inaccurate and unjustified.
Inside investment: The European wrong contest
Investment strategists seem convinced that the euro crisis is over and European equities will outperform in 2014 as growth returns. There are clear and present dangers to this cosy consensus view and the banks are still at the heart of the problem.
Against the tide: The eurozone’s nexus of debt
The debt crisis is not over. A renewed bout will spring from banks in the EU periphery.
Poland safer than its credit ratings suggest
Poland’s secure risk profile is still justified, according to economists and other country-risk experts taking part in Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey. With the sovereign holding steady this year in ECR’s global rankings, and on a longer-term upward trend, its credit ratings should be adjusted upwards.
ECB weighs quantitative easing as options to revive economy run dry
With inflation continuing to fall and growth flatlining, pressure is mounting on the ECB as it edges closer to exhausting less contentious policy weapons to combat the threat of deflation.
Rabobank chief economist calls for monetary financing by the ECB
Stresses are being felt closer to the core as investors pile into the recovery in the periphery of the eurozone.
Eurozone banks’ NPL crisis threatens to derail recovery
The IMF warns that corporate loan losses for banks in Spain, Italy and Portugal could hit €282 billion over next two years, highlighting the scale of the challenge for the ECB’s asset-quality review amid continued financial fragmentation.
Impact of ECB negative rates move on corporate behaviour unclear
It’s unclear whether a negative deposit rate – as mooted by ECB officials in recent weeks – would trigger corporates to invest excess cash or, given risk aversion and the deficit of demand, continue to hoard cash, say analysts.
Against the tide: Germany complicates union
Germany will dig in its heels about structures that might put it in a minority in decision-making and might expose its taxpayers to unwanted bailouts.
Bank capital: Irish bank weakness might undermine bailout exit
Banking sector still faces acute challenges; Bailout exit this year might be premature.
Spanish banks: Sabadell turns the corner after equity triumph
Just as international institutional investors bought into the Spanish recovery story this summer, Sabadell caught the moment with a €1.4 billion equity deal to shore up its balance sheet and provide for future loan growth. Two Latin American billionaire cornerstone investors ensured the deal’s success and drew other investors’ attention away from the Spanish banking sector’s problems and towards its prospects.
Eurozone plans for single bank resolution authority in disarray
Efforts to create a single European resolution mechanism to bail out or wind down troubled eurozone banks are bogged down in uncertainty and political wrangling, throwing the banking union project into doubt, according to experts.
European bank-instability risk falls by around 30%; France remains outlier
The leverage of the French banking system poses a European-wide risk to financial stability, according to the Centre for Risk Management at Lausanne, which otherwise notes positive bank-leveraging progress in the region in recent months.
Investors pile into Spanish recovery
Capital is flowing into Spain in expectation of the economy’s return to growth but optimism might be excessive.
Baltics riskier as weaker trade flows hit region
The Baltic states’ improving growth prospects are under pressure due to the eurozone’s frailties and their close trade and investment links to Sweden and Russia.
ECB asset quality review is moment of truth
Europe’s Tarp moment could be looming as ECB president Mario Draghi issues a sharp warning that the year-long review of the region’s banking system will be credible and might require public backstops. Many long-neglected issues are coming to a head, from accounting and bank-reporting norms to national regulatory conventions. However, there is no clarity yet on the hot-button questions.
European bank-instability risk falls by around 30%; France remains outlier
The leverage of the French banking system poses a European-wide risk to financial stability, according to the Centre for Risk Management at Lausanne, which otherwise notes positive bank-leveraging progress in the region in recent months.
Italy less risky than Spain in latest economist survey despite political uncertainty
Notwithstanding the recent rise in its government bond yields, Italy still ranks higher than Spain in Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey, despite the country’s uncertain political outlook.
European banking: Investors doubt banking union plan
Survey says banking union will not reduce default risk; SSM set-up could be pushed into 2014.
Irish bank stability on the rebound as other small euro-states slide
ECR experts, led by Irish and Portuguese restructuring, have begun to upgrade bank stability assessments after sharp falls in the indicator scores since the credit crunch five to six years ago. However, the picture is blurred by scores still falling for many at-risk countries amid deep concerns about Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia.
Against the tide: Too soon to talk of eurozone recovery
Despite recent positive GDP figures, there is still depressed consumer demand and tight credit in large parts of the single-currency area.
Asset encumbrance debate ignores elephant in the room
Encumbrance of assets on banks’ balance sheets has shot up in the eurozone periphery especially, sparking a push for greater disclosure in the market amid fears over increased risk sensitivity among unsecured creditors.
Netherlands riskier after bank stability downgrade
The Netherlands was the worst triple-A eurozone performer in ECR survey for the second quarter.
Primary dealers eye European government bond markets exit
RBC Capital Markets’ retreat from eurozone primary dealerships looks portentous rather than idiosyncratic.
Greek banks lead fall in European bank-stability risk – HEC Lausanne study
Greek lenders have beefed up their liquidity and capital buffers in recent months amid a Europe-wide fall in systemic banking risk, according to the latest projections from a European systemic risk index, Euromoney can reveal.
Greek banks lead fall in European bank-stability risk
Greek lenders have beefed up their liquidity and capital buffers in recent months amid a Europe-wide fall in systemic banking risk, according to the latest projections from a European systemic risk index.
Coeuré: ECB confronts SME financing challenge
SMEs are key to growth and have a prominent role to play in kick-starting economic recovery in Europe. In an exclusive interview, Benoît Coeuré, member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, discusses the challenges that Europe faces in stimulating financing to small and medium-sized enterprises, including the creation of a truly pan-European and cross-border capital market in the region and how securitization can be used to re-establish funding to these firms.
Germany's quiet economic revolution shows strain
Rising real wages and consumption have boosted German growth without a corresponding increase in productivity, generating headwinds for economic growth and corporate profitability for years to come, argue analysts at Natixis, the French investment bank.
Back from the brink: Iceland and Ireland
Iceland and Ireland are on the road to recovery, while Portugal, Italy and Spain plunge further into economic malaise, according to analysts participating in Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey.
Eurozone tremors continue to ripple out – ECR Q2 2013 results
Eurozone slide is maintained with the region’s average score hitting a new low in June, as 10 of the 17 participating member states succumb to further score declines during H1 2013.
France riskier than Kuwait and Taiwan – ECR analysts
The decision by Fitch to strip France of its AAA rating confirms its fall from sovereign grace but the belated move is unlikely to trigger a rise in borrowing costs.
Seven reasons why you don’t need to worry about Portugal
Portugal is a ‘red herring’ to assess whether the eurozone crisis is about to blow-up again. Its economic and political landscape provides plenty of reasons for cheer, rather than fear.
ECB playing with fire as politicization fears grow – Citi's Buiter
As European leaders grant the ECB expansive powers, the Cyprus bailout, the negative sovereign-bank feedback loop and the continued provision of liquidity support underscore reputational risks for the central bank, warns Willem Buiter, Citi's chief economist.
French banks most systemically risky in Europe – HEC Lausanne study
French policymakers would need to inject up to €300 billion of capital – the highest level of support in Europe – to prop up the country’s banking system during a severe global financial crisis, according to a new European systemic risk index, Euromoney can reveal.
Restructuring: Flowers slams Europe over inaction
Danger of ‘Lehman-type event’; advocates US model of receivership.
Greece’s return to sovereign debt market a pipe dream
Despite falling yields on Greek government bonds and renewed interest from international investors, the dire economic outlook and inability to reduce its debt burden means Greece is years away from being able to issue sovereign debt, according to analysts.
Sovereign bonds: Portugal passes milestone on a difficult road
The country’s recent sovereign bond might or might not amount to a return to full market access, but it is certainly a positive development. Its progress on its economy and the state of its banks is equally crucial.
Think the ECB won't implement negative deposit rates? Think again
Although introducing negative benchnmark rates in the eurozone appears unlikely, the odds of a deposit rate cut cannot be written off, say analysts at Deutsche Bank.
Euro stumbles as Draghi eyes ECB deposit rate cut
Single minded: emerging Europe and the euro
Sovereign restructuring: Cyprus bail-in signals new eurozone order
Against the tide: They think it's all over
Slovenian banks skating on thin ice; corporates seek to weather funding freeze
Is German pressure on the ECB waxing or waning?
Germany’s rejection of a pan-European deposit guarantee scheme is no disaster
German data give impetus to ECB rate cut – but beware simply selling euro
Buiter’s manifesto on a new eurozone world order, post-Cyprus
Eurozone risks spread eastwards: ECR Q1 2013
Cyprus hits the rocks – could Malta be next? ECR Q1 2013
Europe ponders options for fiscal integration
Latvia's Vilks defends euro decision
Q&A: Andris Vilks, Latvian finance minister
Could Slovenia be the next domino to fall... triggering the Universe to implode (or just bailout)?
Italian debt sustainability: the impossible dream
Five years on, banks still inflict chronic pain on eurozone
Germany: is the eurozone’s growth engine stalling?
UK: Sterling safe from currency war but Brexit casts a shadow
Italian political risk second-highest in the eurozone amid pre-election uncertainty
Global economy: Keeping your fingers crossed won’t help
Brexit will lead to 'years of uncertainty' for Britain
Fears over EU exit weigh heavy on City
A daily focus on the key news and analysis surrounding the eurozone crisis
Against the tide: Optimism is plain wrong
Spain, Italy and Greece should not expect a happy new year – the eurozone’s bumpy ride is set to continue.
Banking union: Rabo’s Moerland warns of rush to banking union
All banks must be Basle III-proof; regulatory avalanche stifling business
Country risk: The safest and riskiest European banking sectors
Bank stability has deteriorated this year in 15 European countries, improved in 13 and is unchanged for nine, according to Euromoney Country Risk.
Basle III on the brink?
The post-Lehman consensus on the framework is under strain, as the US postpones the January 2013 start date, triggering the ire of EU banks. Competing regulatory agendas in Europe only complicate the process further. As hopes dwindle for a global level playing field, Basle Committee chairman Stefan Ingves touts the virtues of the torturous reform drive.
The €18bn bond that aided the Italian renaissance
Despite Italy’s colossal public debt, rising political risk and an economy languishing in recession, the country is possibly having one of its best quarters as Italian government bond yields fall to fresh lows and the treasury wraps up its 2012 funding needs with aplomb.
The deal to cut Greece’s debt might be underestimated
After each move from eurozone policymakers, the sceptics come out with the verdict: it won’t work. But what if, with the latest deal to cut Greece’s debt, this time it really is different?
Arguments rage over banking union
The ECB’s eagerness to assume the daunting challenge of supervising all eurozone banks shows how the very survival of the single currency now depends on banking union.
Did the ECB throw Portugal under a bus thanks to Greece?
The ECB appears to be reluctant to aid Portugal's transition to markets because of a flaw in the design of its monetary intervention programme, aimed, in part, to disguise the policymaking failures in Greece, reckons JPMorgan. The Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) policy is "inconsistent" since it discriminates against current programme members without "full and open" market access.
Germany: Europe’s hidden banking crisis
Germany's banking system is in a sorry state, with institutions saddled with large non-performing and non-core assets on their books. It's no wonder Germany is in no mood for a pan-European bank regulator.
The countdown to official debt relief for Greece... tick tock
The taboo that dare not speak its name - official sector debt relief for Greece – won’t go away anytime soon as austerity measures, hoped to be passed in the Greek parliament this week, won’t trigger debt-sustainability, says JP Morgan.
Spanish potential loan error highlights ECB's policy challenges
News that the ECB is investigating whether it broke its own collateral rules on Spanish treasury bills is likely to ignite German fears over the ECB’s ‘mission creep’, and its risk controls, more generally, while highlighting Spanish banks' financing challenges, say analysts.
Who wants to invest in Greece?
The Greek government narrowly pushed through a law ending the government's obligation to own stakes in former state-owned companies, but only confident investors should buy distressed Greek assets, explain analysts.
Could Catalonia survive as an independent region?
Fears over the regional independence push are likely to stalk Spain for years while the EU-wide ramifications run deep.
French retail banking: not as bad as you might think
Manageable private-sector leverage and the unlikely prospect of a deposit war should help insulate French retail banks from the austerity storm, says Citi.
Greece’s risk perception set to rise as Coca-Cola pulls plug on Athens Stock Exchange
Greece, ranked 115 – with a score of 34.5 in Q3 2012 – on ECR’s global rankings, making it by far the riskiest eurozone country, has been dragged into a new liquidity crisis.
Merkel in Athens
It is the German chancellor's first trip to Athens since the start of the eurozone crisis, and Angela Merkel is clearly unwelcome. Will her visit achieve anything?
Eurozone’s problems still troubling eastern neighbours
Eleven of the 18 sovereigns in Central and Eastern Europe became riskier in Q3 2012; notable exceptions are the Baltic climbers.
EU policy deluge hinders banking reform drive
The most disruptive recommendation of the Liikanen commission is the ring-fencing of banks’ retail and trading books. But the jury is out on whether political leaders have the appetite to implement the wide-ranging recommendations amid fatigue and policy co-ordination fears.
Spain non-bank bailout: when, how and why
Rather than Spain requesting a full troika bailout markets reckon Spain will tap the enhanced conditions credit line (ECCL), which would unlock European Central Bank (ECB) sovereign-debt financing and offers fewer conditions.
Bienvenido de vuelta to the Spanish crisis
The Spanish banking crisis still rages with no resolution on the burden-sharing arrangement that would see the European Stability Mechanism assume legacy liabilities.
Why won’t the ECB buy Portuguese debt?
If the ECB were to pro-actively purchase Portugese debt it would aid its stated objective of boosting the monetary transmission channel while failure to do so is counter-productive, argues JPMorgan.
Bailout deadline looming for beleaguered Spain
The details of Spain’s crisis budget, released on Thursday, is in many ways a final attempt for the sovereign to take control of its public finances before assistance from the European Central Bank becomes paramount.
The eurozone's competitiveness conundrum
The outlook for internal devaluation is mixed in Spain and Portugal but reform has come to a halt in Italy. It's high time Northern Europe did some heavy lifting by tolerating more inflation - the only pro-growth game-changer in town.
Pimco's El-Erian tells Spain to seek bailout
The chief executive of the world’s biggest bond fund manager has warned Spain must apply for a bailout now to prevent further deterioration in the country’s already perilous financial position.
Don't bank on ECB rate cut - JPMorgan
ECB likely to hold fire amid expectations of a return to growth, say analysts.
Cracks in the EU banking union plan
Competing objectives plague the European banking union plan amid German fears over rising liabilities and the supervision of its public sector banks.
Confidence in Portugal slowly returning, but it’s a long road back
The troika’s recent endorsement of Portugal’s €78 billion bailout programme has instilled confidence in the borrower’s risk outlook.
Germany’s ESM ruling: Doves versus Hawks
Germany's constitutional court ruling on Wednesday ratifying the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) provided a welcome fillip to European and global markets, but issues surrounding the European Central Bank's (ECB) involvement remain politically sensitive.
Cracks emerge in ECB's bond-buying plan
The European Central Bank's announcement of a bond buying programme on Thursday needs to address "convertibility risk" premia and fiscal conditionality, analysts say, amid fears over moral hazard.
Three months of calm, then back to the eurozone storm - Nomura
Even with the ECB's grand plan, we could be back to square one by year-end in terms of resolving Spain and Italy's crisis.
About that nuclear option: ECB yield- or spread-targeting
Analysts believe a formal yield or spread target in the European Central Bank's (ECB) sovereign bond-buying plan is unlikely for now, despite elevated market expectations.
Spain bond-buying hopes grow but questions remain
When will the Spanish government formally request official assistance from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)? And in what form would the ECB’s assistance take?
Do fees offer a cure for Italian banks' woes?
Higher levels of bond issuance from Italian corporates, and the accompanying fees, could offer banks a profitability boost while taming concerningly high loan-to-deposit ratios.
Is Portugal about to lose its tier-3 status?
Portugal has reached the bottom of the third tier on Euromoney Country Risk's rankings - and even that position looks precarious.
More of the eurozone drawn into bank crisis
Spanish bank stability risk has invariably increased in the light of the need for a bailout, but Euromoney’s Country Risk Survey indicates that there has also been an increase in bank risk for all 17 eurozone countries
ECB signals limits to its monetary firepower with new policy blueprint
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi's mooted bond-buying plan needs shock-and-awe to arrest market panic over Spain and Italy's elevated financing needs, in the absence of new fiscal resources for the EFSF/ESM.
Is the ESM the key to restarting bank lending?
The bestowal on the European Stability Mechanism of a banking licence with a mandate to buy up performing bank loans might prove the boost that eurozone economies desperately need.
A diet plan for Italian banks
With a bleak economic outlook and business models that look outdated, a shake-up is necessary among Italian banks. They need to slim down and change focus in a drive for profitability.
Recapitalization: Spanish bondholders braced for bail-in
Risk of senior bail-in ‘evolving’; Subordinated bail-in ‘opens Pandora’s box’
Asia: The uncertain epidemiology of eurozone contagion
The precise impact on Asian markets of the eurozone’s troubles is as yet a matter for debate. Although Asian banks have relatively small exposures to Europe, macroeconomic effects are a cause for worry.
More of the eurozone drawn into bank crisis
The trend rise in bank risk highlights the vulnerabilities of an increasingly sophisticated and integrated regional financial system, characterized by cross-border ownership structures.
Spain's bad bank: Better late than never
Spain should have established a bad bank long ago.
Who does the EFSF answer to?
There is a lack of clarity over the procedures that have to be followed to enable European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bond purchasing.
Is ECB president Mario Draghi playing with fire?
It's not clear whether Germany will back any large-scale bond purchasing programme conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB), while economists are sharply divided on the efficacy of a yield- or spread-targeting plan.
Second quarter plunge in EMEA leads to disappointing first half for DCM
Plummeting EMEA volumes and declining revenues in DCM have characterised the first half of the year.
Back to the future for Spain and Italy, debt edition
Spain and Italy's yield curve can take a lot more pain.
European banks’ capital needs in the spotlight
The European Banking Authority's (EBA) claim that the region's capital shortfalls have been largely met sits awkwardly with rising risks in Italy and Slovenia, the pressure on non-performing loans and sovereign debt haircuts.
German bund 'structural rally' on track despite Moody’s action – analysts
German government bond yields are set to remain at historic lows, even after Moody's changed the sovereign outlook to negative, as collateral and liquidity demand offset the declining creditworthiness of core Europe, claims Nomura. The stakes for fixed-income investors in eurozone sovereign debt are rising.
Cures hard to find for Slovenian banks’ capital problems
Slovenia’s banks continue to suffer doubts stemming from their capital levels and ever increasing NPLs, the latest victim of the eurozone crisis.
Yield-hunger boosts European credit market hopes
Société Générale tips high-yield corporate bonds with short maturities, citing yield pick-up over European investment grade credits. European non-financial corporate credit is likely to remain a coveted asset class.
Eurozone casts dark shadow across Europe
The eurozone crisis continues to blight the country risk profile of the continent as a whole.
Eurozone leads global increase in political risk
In total, 78 of the 186 sovereigns in ECR’s Q2 2012 country risk survey have experienced increased political risk since the start of 2012, while 76 have undergone improvement.
Country risk: European sovereigns still among safest
Despite the eurozone crisis, European countries still lead Euromoney Country Risk's list the ten most-safest sovereigns in the world.
Spanish subordinated bail-in opens 'Pandora’s box' of problems
News that subordinated bondholders in Spain's bailed-out banks might incur losses will trigger the ire of retail investors. But its wider impact on bank restructuring will be limited.
Where the world would buy in to EURUSD; hedge funds look for $1.05
There is no shortage of recommendations to sell the EUR after last week’s decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) to cut its deposit rate to zero, but where will buyers come in?
European distressed sales ‘leave money on the table’ via large sales
Portfolio sizes restrict demand, smaller funds locked out
Crunch time for Spain
Spain’s ECR score has continued to fall in recent days, as confidence in the sovereign’s ability to resolve its debt problems continues to be undermined by its economic woes and uncertainty over the precise terms of a €100 billion bank bailout agreed at the EU summit.
The tale of two sovereign debt markets - Italy and France
The French treasury has unleashed a large supply of government debt to an increasingly-compliant investor base, in part, thanks to its healthier debt metrics compared with Italy. However, it's not clear whether this strong outperformance is sustainable.
Eurozone crisis: Calls grow louder for European banking union
Hype builds around new solution; But how to get the German taxpayer to agree?
ECB enters uncharted waters with potentially dangerous cut in the deposit rate
The ECB's move to cut the deposit rate to 0% might have a negligible impact on growth and risks triggering interbank dysfunction while reducing banks' profitability.
Spanish banking sector: Senseless stress
Stress testing the Spanish banks to an unrealistic core capital ratio was an exercise in futility.
The fissures in the cross-border European banking model
In general, the non-domestic operations of many European banks fail to deliver profits, much to the ire of besieged shareholders. Tighter regulation and a higher cost of capital herald a new dawn for European banks' intra-regional and emerging market aspirations.
Is the eurozone crisis all down to sentiment?
Research from the Centre for European Policy Studies suggests that the spikes in borrowing costs for eurozone countries has a lot to do with sentiment, rather than fundamentals.
Spanish corporates struggle with high borrowing costs amid austerity
High borrowing costs for Spanish corporates threatens an already-weak economy.
Just how broke is Greece?
On the face of it, Greece is marching towards insolvency but its creditors are likely to stay the course, for now, says Credit Suisse. But the math of macroeconomic adjustment looks ugly.
Risk of corruption rising fast among eurozone periphery
The fault lines in the eurozone periphery economies and banking systems are unearthing rising levels of corruption risk, according to Euromoney’s country risk survey.
Greek private sector lending threatens Cyprus’s banks
While Cyprus and its banking sector are struggling to deal with losses from Greek sovereign bonds, a bigger risk looms: a wave of non-performing loans from the private sector that could savage the capital and liquidity position of Cypriot banks in Greece.
Is Germany the new big short?
If German credit default swaps continue to rise – pricing in rising liabilities on Berlin’s balance sheet – Deutsche Bank’s historic funding advantage will take a knock. But, for the likes of Bill Gross and John Paulson, the great sell-Germany trade has to deal with a looming ban on naked shorts and will only pay off if the cash market cracks.
Europe’s banks have to raise equity capital soon
It looks likely that Europe will see an attempt at equity raising from peripheral banks by year-end – success might be another matter altogether.
Betting on eurozone game-changers
Société Générale maps out solutions to the eurozone crisis. The path of least resistance? A European Redemption Fund. But sticky-plaster options - like leveraging ESM/EFSF facilities - are more likely, for now.
Spanish banks face up to €62 billion capital shortfall: Wyman Berger stress test
Report quantifies capital shortfall and likely losses; mechanism of bailout still unclear
Say (a tentative) hola to the eurozone's new high-yield market
The eurozone crisis could push Spanish corporates into the high yield credit spectrum on a structural basis, triggering fears that investors will be chocked by an over-supply of junk paper, warns Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
How a eurozone break-up would affect Asia
Credit Suisse estimates its potential impact on Asian GDP and trade dynamics, as risks rise.
Spain sovereign bailout fears grow
Without urgent redress from the ECB and Berlin, Spain is marching towards a full-scale international bailout by year-end that would deplete the existing eurozone crisis stabilization funds, analysts say.
Spain and Italy decouple - an incentive for the ECB to sit back?
As Spanish bond yields soar, the deadly coupling between Spanish-Italian sovereign yields seems to have cooled – potentially reducing the prospects for much-needed monetary aggression from the ECB as market turmoil shows no sign of abating.
Structural reforms: Portugal's post-banking crisis
Spain dominates the headlines, but Portugal's torturous bid for stability even with billions of euros of aid - and litany of painful structural reforms - throws into sharp relief the depth and expected longevity of the eurozone crisis.
ECB under pressure as Spanish collateral fears jump
The pressure on Spanish sovereign bond yields highlights the deficiency of the ECB's repo operations against the backdrop of unstable collateral values. A new approach is needed.
Spanish sovereign funding programme would exhaust ESM
Market players fear the the eurozone firewall has effectively just €1 billion of firepower after Spain taps emergency funds, triggering a debate about how policymakers can beef up crisis resolution frameworks.
Greece sovereign debt restructuring was a "success" - Lemierre
Jean Lemierre, the current advisor to the chairman of BNP Paribas, struck a contrarian tone when he branded the Greek deal a "success" while the IIF sounded the alarm over the precedent set by the subordination of private creditors in favour of the official sector, in comments at its spring conference
All change at the IIF
Charles Dallara, the departing managing director of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), has transformed the institution into a truly global pressure group that has shaped the global banking landscape. His departure - along with key IIF officials – raises the question as to whether a new generation of banking champions will exert the same influence.
Bankers cool on European banking union plan
For all the grandiose rhetoric of a banking union as a way to resolve the eurozone crisis, bankers at the Institute of International Finance meeting feared the EU''s single market in financial services is disintegrating before their very eyes.
LTRO 3 or bust, Italian bank deleveraging edition
Without a third round of the ECB''s long-term refinancing operation, Italian banks will deleverage by up to €444 billion over the next two years - triggering regional contagion if, as is likely, sovereign spreads jump.
Asian bankers shrug off China risk as eurozone fears come to the fore
The recent skittishness of Asian equity markets reflects mounting concern across the region about the impact of the eurozone crisis
Against the tide: Beyond the euro
None of the policy responses, monetary or fiscal, addresses the real global sickness: debt.
Inside investment: Solon(g). And good riddance
Grexit or not, the selective default of Greece has already changed everything for both bond and equity investors in Europe.
There’s one problem with a European deposit guarantee scheme: it won’t work
Deposit insurance schemes offer scant consolation amid systemic bank runs and currency redenomination fears.
Germany’s price for backing Barroso on ESM bank recapitalization
Transforming the European Stability Mechanism into a direct banking intervention fund could prove, in relative terms, the least costly option for Germany - but the rest of the eurozone will have to pay the price if Berlin says ''ja'', says Société Générale.
Former ECB official slams Spain bank plan; calls for banking union
Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, a former ECB board member, says Spain should cede partial control over Bankia to the ECB in order to receive further extraordinary monetary support
How Greece can leave the euro without leaving the euro
Deutsche Bank’s Mayer has a plan for Greece to take a ‘temporary breather’
Banks’ contingency plans in the spotlight as eurozone crisis deepens
The failure of EU summit leaders to craft a new rescue package has heightened fears that multinational banks with peripheral European exposures are ill-prepared for a Greek exit
ECB: Don’t hold your breath for LTRO 3
ECB’s Praet says liquidity provision “a delicate balancing act”
EUR positioning leaves door open to euro slide
The latest CFTC data showed EUR short positioning was at record levels, but proprietary positioning trackers of leading FX banks tell a different story.
Eurozone divorce: sizing up deposit outflow risk
Urgent steps are needed to craft an EU-deposit guarantee scheme that has teeth, analysts have said, as market attention turns to deposit outflow risk in peripheral Europe.
Eurozone's future hangs in the balance amid Spanish crisis
Fears over Greece’s exit from the eurozone shines the spotlight on Spain.
Fear of capital controls threatens corporate debt
Anxiety is likely to increase in the run up to the Greek election amid fears over bank runs and euro break-up
Spain is the new Ireland, subordinated bank debt edition
Investors trying to understand recent developments in the troubled Spanish banking sector could do a lot worse than looking to Ireland as a comparison, according to Barclays Capital.
How to hedge amid Grexit, Europe edition
While markets crumble, Credit Suisse has dished up some hedging strategies, including underweight credit - such as Bunds.
Grexit regional contagion watch
Sell-side analysts have had at least two years to hypothesize the likely impact of a Greek exit from the eurozone – here''s Nomura''s latest take on the likely spill-over effects.
In focus - Emerging Europe: hostage to Eurozone fortune
As the markets digest the impact of the eurozone woes on eastern Europe, here''s a round-up on the region's debt, banking and capital market challenges.
Greece proving to be sideshow for German-powered euro
The chance of a Greek exit from the euro is on the rise, and so the question for investors has turned from why is the single currency so strong, to how low can it trade and how fast.
Spanish (banking) bombs
As markets tumble amid the eurozone crisis, Spain''s proposed reforms for the banking sector are looking more and more deficient, say Nomura analysts.
Against the tide: Bleak midwinter in euroland
Europe’s leaders aren’t giving the currency what it needs: reform, fiscal discipline and international support.
S&P downgrade is nail in the coffin for EFSF
Agency's action could deliver final blow to the struggling bailout fund
ECB: The end of the last resort
Politicians and market participants, seeing investors turn their backs on the EFSF and abandon the European government bond markets, are pressing the ECB to save the day and increase its buying. That will require a dramatic change of heart. And could an already stressed ECB balance sheet even cope with the demands that such a programme would entail?
Euro break-up is plausible and Eurozone downgrades could push EU into a recession
Experts warn that if S&P were to downgrade six of the AAA EU countries, including Germany and France, the eurozone might be pushed into a deeper recession as further austerity measures could be implemented, and a break-up of the euro currency is plausible.
The ECB can't do this forever. Or can it?
Newswire reports reveal French banks European Central Bank borrowing rises to €158.5 billion
EFSF: How not to structure a CDO
The EU’s plans for the EFSF are a retrospective masterclass in everything that went wrong with structured credit
Funding freeze pushes banks closer to the edge
Despite a handful of deals from top-quality issuers, the senior unsecured FIG market in Europe remains on life support. Some institutions will soon have to swallow their pride and issue at record spreads. For others it could already be too late.
Why nothing can prevent the next global financial crisis
For all the policy decisions of the past three years, nothing has been done to address the fundamental problems facing the economies of the developed world. Four key issues will continue to keep the world in a prolonged period of stagnation. If they all get worse at the same time, the consequences are painful to contemplate.
Even unprecedented central bank intervention can’t save the global economy now
For three years, policymakers have failed to address the root problems of the financial crisis. Only one tool is left – for central banks to buy up and thereby reduce the amount of debt outstanding. David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff bemoans the failure of leaders to tackle the debt problems head on.
It's the debt, stupid
European governments are layering new levels of debt onto their stricken economies in a doomed attempt to solve a problem that was created by debt in the first place. Their measures are little more than confidence tricks. Widespread sovereign debt restructuring looks increasingly likely. Peter Lee counts down to the inevitable day of reckoning.
How Europe's governments have enronized their debts
Europe''s government bond markets are built on a lie. Ministries of finance have adopted corporate financing techniques to give a false impression of their true debt levels. Regulators appear unwilling or unable to do anything about it. Investors and taxpayers ought to know.
SS Euro - sinking the unsinkable
This is the risk they won't talk about in Brussels, Bonn or Paris - that monetary union, once entered into, goes horribly wrong, scuppering the SS Euro. Prudent financial management demands that the risk of failure, exit by one country or dissolution should be considered. Research suggests it isn't negligible and that its consequences for financial contracts and exposures will be devastating.
Don't say we didn't warn you...