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Opinion

Coronavirus: US banks may need regulatory relief for capital markets to function

The Fed has provided abundant financial support to the core government bond markets to little effect and may now need to ease rules on dealer banks.

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On Friday, after president Donald Trump’s rose garden press conference with corporate chief executives to announce he was taking coronavirus seriously and declare it a national emergency, Bank of America’s share price shot up 17.8%.

Then, on Sunday, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 100 basis points, encouraged banks to use the discount window at an even further reduced cost and announced a $700 billion quantitative easing (QE) programme.

On Monday, Bank of America’s share price fell 15.3%.

These are not normal moves, but then these are not normal times.

The recession that is coming from the economic sudden stop to repress the coronavirus makes fundamental analysis of company values impossible. That’s not what these share price movements are about. They are about panic.

But they also show that this real economy shock, even though it did not start in the banking industry or in the financial markets, still threatens to overwhelm both.




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