Friday, April 19, 2013

19/4/2013: More from the IMF on Irish banks...

Getting back to the IMF GFSR report released earlier this week. Some nice charts worth a quick comment or two:

Two things worth noting in the above:

  1. Increase in covered bonds for Irish banks, absent, pretty much, any serious issuance between 2007 and 2012 and maturing of some bonds. This may be linked to the deteriorating quality of assets against which the bonds were secured, requiring 'top-ups' with new assets. In effect, this means that to maintain existent level of funding a bank will require more assets to be put aside.
  2. Massive, relative to GDP, exposure to MROs + LTROs for the Irish banks. Let's keep in mind that some Irish banks were precluded from participating in the second LTRO due to lack of suitable collateral. Even with that, Irish banking sector exposure to LTROs relative to GDP is the largest of all countries in the sample.
The next two charts plot relationship between banks' lending to households and corporates and the growth forecasts for the economies:

By both charts above, Ireland appears to be basically just on the borderline between the core and the peripheral countries. Of course, this means preciously little, since Irish banks basically are issuing no new loans and thus whatever rates they report are heavily, very heavily biased in favour of higher quality borrowers. Here's how this bias works: the bank in Ireland issues a loan to company A for the amount X and duration W. The rate on this loan is r=f(A,X,W)  such that if A quality is higher then rate r  is lower, if X is larger, the rate is higher, and if W is longer, the rate is also higher. We control all other variables that might influence the rate quoted. If the case of the same company looking for the same loan outside Ireland, the bias above would imply a lower rate quoted, or a smaller loan granted or for shorter duration, or all or any permutations of the above. 

Here is an interesting point. In the first chart above, Irish house loans rates went up during the crisis, but corporate loans rates went dramatically down during the crisis. Now, houses-related loans within the Irish banking system are currently in default at close to 20% rate, while SMEs loans are in default close to 50% rate. High quality corporates are probably in the same rate of default today as in 2007. Which means that corporate loans book of Irish banks should be posting default rates (NPLs) of similar or larger proportions as house lending book. Yet the rates for two types of loans have moved in the opposite direction and very significantly.

On foot of the above, question for our Dear Leaders: Are Irish banks, for purely political reasons (recall Government's repeated exhortations about the need for the banks to 'do their bit for the economy', 'lend to our SMEs' etc), using house loans pricing to subsidise corporate loans issuance?

Just in case you start harping on about Irish corporates having better debt loads than households, IMF has the following handy charts:

And more: Irish corporates have exceptionally poor interest coverage ratios:
Keep in mind - the above applies only to listed firms, not to privately held ones...
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