Breakingviews

Guest view: Euro zone needs workable banking union

By Guest Contributor
January 12, 2016

The 19 member states have so far failed to put in place a full regime of bank oversight, argues former Citi exec William Rhodes. As U.S. and euro zone interest rate policies diverge, this is a big risk. To complete banking union, agreement on proper deposit insurance is a must.

Giants of central banking will be cut down to size

December 30, 2015

The limited power of the Draghis and Yellens of the world is evident. They can’t conjure up inflation and the market impact of unorthodox monetary policies has waned. Rate-setters did their bit to support the global economy. It’s time fiscal and wage policies did more work.

Mario Draghi is central banking’s tragic hero

December 3, 2015

Despite new easing measures, the ECB chief’s fight to revive inflation looks doomed. Forces beyond his control, such as oil prices, are too strong. Markets are moving against him. Draghi is admirably determined, but will probably be remembered for trying rather than succeeding.

ECB has bright idea for targeted bank-bashing

November 26, 2015

Imposing a staggered penalty on banks that hoard cash is one of many ways to ease policy being discussed by the European Central Bank. Such levies have drawbacks. But at least a split-level charge would encourage the biggest hoarders to boost cross-border lending.

Portugal’s ropey bank rescue comes home to roost

November 16, 2015

The “good bank” part of bust lender BES needs another 1.4 bln euros, EU regulators say. If it ends up being sold cheaply, fellow banks that part-financed its rescue could suffer. Had Lisbon taken a tougher line with senior creditors last year, it would be in less of a mess.

ECB hits European banks where it doesn’t hurt

November 11, 2015

Europe’s banking supervisor wants to fast-track the phasing out of bogus capital like deferred tax assets. Greater harmonisation is exactly what Frankfurt should be pushing. But the ECB’s inability to tell national governments what to do will limit the fallout for most lenders.

Hefty ECB rate cut might do more harm than good

November 10, 2015

Some European Central Bank policymakers want to push the floor for policy rates deeper into negative territory. This may depress the euro and bond yields for a while. But Nordic evidence of the price banks pay when rates are so low suggests an outsized cut may be self-defeating.

Greek banks get marginally more investable

November 2, 2015

ECB stress tests revealed a 14 bln euro capital hole. The tests were doubly tough: the pass mark was high, and the state will not prevent shareholder dilution. Yet banks are stuck with bad loans and the economic outlook is unclear. Greek bank equity is still a bet for the brave.

Dixon: Tsipras’ biggest stress tests yet to come

By Hugo Dixon
November 2, 2015

A central bank verdict that the top Greek lenders must raise only 14.4 billion euros is welcome news for the prime minister. But he has to implement more tough measures before he can secure debt relief from his euro zone creditors. Until then, he faces political risks.

Hugo Dixon: Greek bank recap is race against time

By Hugo Dixon
October 5, 2015

Capital must be injected by year-end to avoid a disastrous bail-in of uninsured depositors. To meet the deadline, Europe’s central bank must finish its stress test and decide how much capital is required. The banks then need time to see if private investors will take part.