Sunday, October 3, 2010

Economics 3/10/10: The real stress in Euro area banks

"A picture's worth a 1,000 words" an old proverb goes. So here's a couple of pictures from the latest GFSR analytical papers issued by the IMF last week:

Remember the favourite EU leadership myth: "The Americans caused this crisis". Ok, if so, one would assume that EU banks are in a better position through the crisis than their US counterparts.
If the assertion above was correct, why would the demand for CB financing be so much greater in the EU both in terms of banks demand for liquidity prior to the crisis and after the crisis?

Charts above are confirmed by the even more dramatically divergent case of the banking sectors exposure to the repo operations:
The magnitude of European banks internal sickness in structuring funding - from their chronic dependence on CB funding even at the times of plentiful liquidity, to their massive exposures to repo operations in general is stunning.

If you want to see the really frightening summary of this analysis, here it is, courtesy of the GFSR:
Notice the disproportional over-reliance of Euro area banks on short-term funding (the infamous maturity mismatch) and non-deposits-based long-term funding (the infamous liquidity and counterparty risk-linked bit). Now, check out the healthy US side of deposits finance - you'd think that the picture should be inverted, given Europe's demographics, but no - heading into the massive explosion of retirement age population in EU, our savings play so much smaller of a role in funding our banks, one must wonder: What happens when German consumers start drawing down their deposits to finance their retirement consumption? Will there be anything else left for the future of the continent other than sales of Mercs and BMWs to China?

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