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European bank recovery continues, but balance sheet growth is still lacking

December 15, 2017
The Basel Committee’s recent agreement on final capital rules for global banks is set to have only limited effect on overall capital requirements, but will impact EU banks more strongly than their peers. In recent quarters, European banks have already strengthened their capital ratios substantially and have become more profitable, thanks to moderately better revenues, lower costs and lower loan losses. Balance sheet size and risk-weighted assets have declined, underscoring the continuing lack of growth momentum in the industry. This might change somewhat next year, as European banks could benefit from the strong performance of the economy via a pickup in lending, which so far has remained sluggish. Further tailwinds from declining loss provisions and falling expense levels are less likely though. [more]

More documents about "Europe"

126 Documents
March 19, 2018
The major European banks have seen their revenues stabilise in 2017, and through further cost-cutting and improvements in asset quality, their profitability rebounded strongly to the second-best figure in the past decade. However, banks continued to shrink, and both total assets and risk-weighted assets fell substantially. This helped capital and leverage ratios to reach new record highs, finally laying questions about the sector’s capitalisation levels to rest, at least on aggregate. Large European banks lost ground versus smaller competitors and also remained far behind their US peers, although they were able to catch up somewhat on this front. [more]
February 28, 2018
2018-2019 will be crucial for the future of EU finances. Compared to previous MFF negotiations, this time the challenges ahead are disproportionally larger, including a large annual budget gap of above EUR 10 bn to be left by the UK's exit from the Union. Our scenario analysis illustrates that Western and Northern European members would see their net contributions deteriorate most in case of a substantial budget expansion in order to cover the UK shortfall as well as additional spending needs. Eastern European members would be hurt most by the alternative of harsh spending cuts to close the Brexit gap in the budget. To complicate matters further, the abolishment of the UK rebate and probably all "rebates on the rebate" will lead to a redistribution of costs among members. Profound discussions will therefore be necessary regarding the prioritization, efficiency, subsidiarity and cost sharing. [more]
January 23, 2018
Economic policy uncertainty in Europe has risen to extraordinarily high levels. This stands in stark contrast to conventional measures of financial market uncertainty which are at historical lows. Uncertainty surrounding economic policies has negative spillover effects to the rest of the economy. It tends to be transmitted to capital markets and to result in higher financing costs for companies. Significant cross-country transmission of economic policy uncertainty is observable within the EU, with the UK being a net exporter. In addition, banks could turn out to be a central channel through which economic policy uncertainty is transmitted to the real economy, via subdued lending to non-financial corporations, in particular to SMEs. [more]
December 8, 2017
No real surprises hidden in the “Saint Nicholas” reform package from Brussels, a detailed set of reform proposals and communications that the European Commission published as a “roadmap” for deepening EMU. The proposals build on Commission President Juncker’s September State of the Union speech and, in essence, match closely with the French vision of more stabilization and risk-sharing in the EU, while they also try to meet German demands for better supervision of fiscal rules. The strong focus on anchoring any further integration of the Monetary Union - such as the reform of the ESM and the introduction of a Eurozone budget - in the institutional framework also illustrates the wariness in Brussels of being sidelined in its fiscal competencies and to allow the euro area to further develop on its own. [more]
December 5, 2017
The EU Commission proposed new mandatory CO₂ targets for passenger cars. These targets cannot be achieved with combustion engines alone. Stricter regulation thus enforces the electrification of the power train. However, the average car buyer currently does not play to the tune of regulatory policy and turns a cold shoulder on most alternative fuels. There are other climate policy instruments that outperform the CO₂ targets for passenger cars in terms of meeting the environmental targets and economic efficiency. [more]
December 1, 2017
Beyond the Catalan referendum, independence movements in Europe seem to enjoy a revival. But calls for greater autonomy or even secession are not just about cultural identity - financial discrepancies between regions also play a major role. Unsurprisingly, most of the regions with strong separatist tendencies are amongst the wealthiest in their respective countries. Calls for (more) independence seem to be loudest when national financial equalization mechanisms lead to results that are perceived as disproportional, such as in Spain or Italy. [more]
December 1, 2017
The fluid political situation in Germany threatens to stall EU policymaking in a number of fields, above all the build-out of the euro area. The EU summit on Dec 14/15 is unlikely to yield an agreement on a potential roadmap for reforming the monetary union making it even more difficult to take final decisions in June 2018 as envisaged by the EU Commission. This will in return dampen optimism that a French-German tandem will provide a fresh impetus to the EU as a whole before the European Parliament elections in 2019. [more]
September 13, 2017
Money market funds in the euro area managed assets worth EUR 1.16 trillion in mid-2017. Low interest rates did not hamper the impressive growth by EUR 260 billion during the past three years. But new EU regulation taking effect in 2018 will impose stricter rules on fund managers. However, the measured regulation will probably not cause a major restructuring of the euro area market, in contrast to the reshuffling seen in response to the US money market fund reform. In the future, Brexit could lead to competition for non-EUR denominated money market fund business between the EU and the UK. [more]
September 4, 2017
Optimism about Europe’s future surged after the French elections, while the EU is increasingly losing patience with British “divorce tactics”. Franco-German initiatives will be key to set the path for European reforms but the debate is expected to only gain speed after the formation of a new German government towards the end of the year. Meanwhile, the refugee challenge and EU external relations will remain on top of Europe’s political agenda. [more]
August 30, 2017
It is remarkable what and how much has changed in the European banking industry since the global financial crisis erupted almost exactly ten years ago: comparing H1 2017 to the peak of the boom in H1 2007, revenue composition has shifted towards more sustainable sources, with the share of net interest income up to more than half of the total and trading income much diminished. Expenses are down, but only moderately, resulting in a fall in profits to just half of the pre-crisis level. Both the absolute amount of capital and capital ratios have risen dramatically. On the other hand, total assets have declined substantially over the past decade, contributing to a massive de-risking of the sector. [more]
August 14, 2017
Yields on German government debt securities have fallen rapidly in the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis and provided a considerable relief to the public sector budget. At the moment, federal government securities have negative yields for maturities up to 6 years and the yield on 10 year German Bunds stands at just roughly 0.4%. [more]