European Banks Take $56-B Hit Monday

European Banks Take $56-B Hit Monday


European banks took their deepest hit Monday since Y 2011, erasing more than EUR 50-B ($56 billion) in market value, after Greece imposed capital controls and shut lenders.

The Stoxx 600 Banks Index fell as much as 4.4%, the biggest intra-day decline since November 2011, with all 46 members declining. The gauge was down 3.4% at 12:55 pFrankfurt time.

Lenders in Italy, Portugal and Spain were among the biggest decliners, led by Banco Comercial Portugues.

Greece shut its banks and imposed capital controls to help avert the collapse of its financial system amid increasing concerns it will be forced out of the euro area. Banks will be closed at least until 6 July the day after Greeks vote in a referendum on proposals to restore bailout aid.

See a very negative mood on markets, sovereign bonds, banks of peripheral countries, will be the most affected by uncertainty.

The European Central Bank (ECB) froze the ceiling on ELA (Emergency Liquidity Assistance) to Greek lenders at just below EUR 89-B, refusing for the 1st time this year to maintain a buffer as deposits decreased. .

Spain’s Banco Popular Espanol SA fell 6.3% and Banco de Sabadell SA decreased 4.9%. Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA declined 7.1%, while Intesa Sanpaolo SpA dropped 4% and Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl fell 5.4%,  Banco Comercial fell 8.8%.

“We are witnessing the maximum level of concern about Greece today,” said the global chief investment officer of equities at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, which oversees about $284.7-B in assets.

While the risk of contagion has eased since Greece triggered a sovereign debt crisis in Y 2009, when foreign banks had larger direct exposures to the country, lenders remain vulnerable to the threat of a Euro breakup. Some also face swings in prices on their sovereign holdings.

Italian banks’ stock of their country’s sovereign debt stood at a near record high of EUR 415.5-B in April, Bank of Italy data show.

“The main impact on banks will be on their investment portfolios,” an analyst at Mediobanca SpA Monday.

Banks in the rest of Europe will also be affected through fixed-income trading, with Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), and BNP Paribas SA among the largest bond traders exposed to losses, he wrote.

HSBC Holdings Plc (NYSE:HSBC) and Credit Agricole SA had the greatest exposure to Greece at the end of Y 2014, at 5-B Euros and about 4.2-B Euros respectively.

Still, Greece leaving the Euro region would be a “blip” for British banks. The banks exposure to Greece is minimal. The UK banking sector is well-prepared for” Greece defaulting or leaving the currency region.

Stay tuned…


Paul Ebeling


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