ECB: Comprehensive assessment in advance of the Single Supervisory Mechanism

Press release here.

Information note here.

38 replies on “ECB: Comprehensive assessment in advance of the Single Supervisory Mechanism”

The margins set for the macro-economic imbalances “scoreboard” are;

“3 year backward moving average of the current account balance as a percent of GDP, with the a threshold of +6% of GDP and – 4% of GDP; ”

Germany has been consistently above the 6% although this figure was clearly chosen to accommodate it and other core countries.

What is sauce for the periphery goose is clearly not sauce for the core gander.

The debate must, one assumes, centre on the definition of the imbalances in question. The relevant legislation states;

“(1) ‘imbalances’ means any trend giving rise to macroeconomic developments which are adversely affecting, or have the potential adversely to affect, the proper functioning of the economy of a Member State or of the economic and monetary union, or of the Union as a whole;

(2) ‘excessive imbalances’ means severe imbalances, including imbalances that jeopardise or risks jeopardising the proper functioning of the economic and monetary union.”

It is hard to see how much longer the triggering of a procedure with regard to excessive surplus current account imbalances can be delayed. It should lead to an interesting debate in which the paper linked to above may be the first salvo.

You join a club with few if any rules but over time some of the members start to misbehave and so the wealthier patrons draw up new rules which are agreed by all. A few start to break them and are reprimanded but over time the wealthier members also start to misbehave and the rules are quietly ignored for a while. Eventually, though, more and more members get into serious debt and cannot afford their subs and the tab is picked up by the few wealthier members. They contemplate a few expulsions but leaving is seen as such a bad move that all agree to far more rigorous rules drawn up by the wealthy members, who are now creditors, and call them names like ‘six-pack’ and ‘two-pack’ to make them sound less bureaucratic. The rules are also asymmetrical, with creditor members allowed greater leeway, but the wealthier members feel that is Ok as they are funding the whole club.The debtor members are resentful but feel they have no choice and even avoid each other’s company.

At what point do the 5 day members decide that it is far better to leave and join other clubs. They must be getting peed off with the big guy stomping all over the place with his cronies wagging the finger, hogging the good tee times and rigging the competitions . Of course, if the 5 days or lady members decamped it would then be obvious that all the gregarious and good looking members were gone and the bar receipts had plummeted.

““(1) ‘imbalances’ means any trend giving rise to macroeconomic developments which are adversely affecting, or have the potential adversely to affect, the proper functioning of the economy of a Member State or of the economic and monetary union, or of the Union as a whole;”

The definition of imbalances would then, of necessity, include ‘flight to safety’ , mentioned by the paper was ‘disappeared’ from the Commission website. Is it not peculiar that measures to deal with the ‘flight to safety’ have never found their way into the ‘austerity’ programs of program countries, except of course in the case of Cyprus and only then to keep the fish in the barrel, so that they could be shot more more easily.

re: The disappeared EC paper: Non Technical version

Jan in ‘t Veld, European Commission.

It seem that the reality is that the ‘The European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro’ , Mr Wren has been implementing EZ policies that his leading economics advisor believes are going to have a significant negative impact on GDP.

Why is he doing this? Who is he taking instructions from that run counter to the advise of his experts.

It is time for the Commissioner to publicly state on whose behalf he is working. Is it for the creditor nations or for the whole EZ.

The Commissioners department should be shut down. They are not needed. They are taking their instructions from certain EZ capitals anyway, so we might as well have policies directly implemented from Berlin.

The ECB document still requires (Section 8) ‘national backstops’ for dodgy banks that cannot raise market capital, without reference to the fiscal capacity of the countries concerned. The rest is mostly harmless stuff.

Allowing such important businesses to operate with almost no equity cushions encourages dangerous conduct. Banks are not special, except for what they are allowed to get away with. The problem is bigger than that banks are “too big” or “too interconnected” to fail. It is that they are so complex and so grossly undercapitalised. The model is intellectually bankrupt. The reason that this is not more widely accepted is that bankers are so influential and the economics are so widely misunderstood. Read this book ” The Bankers New Clothes: Whats Wrong with Banking and What to Do About It”by Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig. You will then understand the economics. Once you have done so, you will also appreciate that we have failed to remove the causes of the crisis. Further such crises will come.

Below is the link to the podcast of Professor Anat Admati’s lecture at the LSE,describing her new book ” The Banker’s new clothes:what’s wrong with banking and what to do about it; the solutions are here;

As LBS points out in the FT, while Europe fiddles with the banking controls, events in the US may have a much wider impact.

The euro “pain threshold” – in terms of a tolerable euro level for export competitiveness for different countries, notably France – seems certain to come back into focus. The solidarity of the creditor members of the club may be tested again.

The structure set up to conduct the German coalition negotiations confirms that mistaken policies can only be corrected in creditor countries as a result of domestic not external political pressures, the opposite being the case in debtor countries. The German press is reporting that the CDU/CSU is ready to concede, finally, the introduction of a statutory, i.e. legislative and countrywide, minimum wage of €8.50 an hour. One may be certain that the bigger German craft unions will see their interests protected. (The change in the political landscape seems also to have allowed the Commission to put its head above the parapet).

@ Joseph Ryan

There is nothing particularly new in the economics paper being discussed.

The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs published a report in 2012 to which Jan in ‘t Veld contributed. It said:

An increase in German demand would mainly benefit the exports of its closest trade partners, such as the neighbouring economies. Since a 1 per cent increase in German domestic demand will primarily benefit domestic production, its effect on the German trade balance will be lower: it amounts to roughly 0.2 per cent of GDP. Other countries’ trade balances will benefit through increased ..The overall improvements in trade balances are thus the strongest for the Czech Republic with close to 0.1 per cent of GDP, followed by Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and the Netherlands. The exports of the euro area deficit countries would increase by considerably less and the effect on their trade balances would be more muted: the trade balance of Spain, Italy and Portugal would improve by around 0.02 per cent of their GDP, and the Greek balance even less.

The reversal of cross-border flows dwarf’s this issue.

Cross-border capital flows rose from $0.5tn in 1980 to a peak of $12tn in 2007 and down to less than $5tn in 2012. Western Europe accounted for 70% of the decline. Eurozone banks have cut such cross-border lending and other claims by almost $4tn since 2007, and central banks now account for more than 50% of capital flows within the region.

@ colm mccarthy

As that nice Mr Mao said in 1949: “To win countrywide victory is only the first step in a long march of ten thousand li.”

There is likely a better chance of a compromise in Europe than in the US.

Does the Eurozone have any of the attributes of a single currency
-independent CB- arguably no, BUBA runs i
-single regulator – no
– some large cross border or super regionals – no Wells Fargo here.
-free movement of cash -,ask the Cypriots
And the notes have no identity either- no Hamiltons or Franklins.
Like the EU it is all a bit makey- uppy.


Good article by Bloomberg. The following quote from the article puzzles me:

“UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy’s biggest lender, is constrained in moving funds from its German and Austrian units to Milan, where it’s based, because of objections by national regulators, according to a person with knowledge of the firm’s operations who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The Austrian unit faces similar barriers moving funds to Eastern Europe, where it’s the biggest lender.
‘Market Fragmentation’

Deposits and bonds issued by the bank held by customers in Germany and Austria — 166 billion euros ($228 billion) at the end of June — comprise about one-third of UniCredit’s total.”

Are these regulations based on objective criteria, or are they capital controls for banks, through the back door.

Its seems like Unicredit is being required to back the liability side of its German subsidiary balance sheet with cash or cash equivalents?
Banken-StresstestsWenig Stress für die Banken : No Stress for the Banks via FAZ.
Deutsche Gretchenfrage Schiffskredite : how the risky Shipping interests are assessed : HSH Nordbank 27 Billion Euro, Nord LB and Commerzbank each 18 Billion Euro. ca. 25 % of Shipping debts.
Because the Stresstest runs over a period of 12 months, Banks can improve in certain areas. The tests are designed in a fashion that not all Banks will pass, but with a low enough threshold such that the system as a whole will leave an impression of stability.

@ All

FYI an analysis by Brendan Keenan which advances an entirely credible explanation for the current stand-off with regard to the conditions for Ireland’s exit from its bailout.

The problem with regard to establishing conditions of the trust to which he refers is that it requires a mutual reciprocal effort. Ignoring the recommendations of a fiscal advisory council established as part of the multilateral effort to deal with the euro crisis, and other expert advice, does not meet that criterion.

@DOCM-WSJ-Moodys/Fitch take.
“However, Michael Noonan, the country’s finance minister, unexpectedly raised doubts about Ireland’s desire for a new line of credit last week. He said many of his EU colleagues believe Ireland’s €25 billion cash reserves are already large enough for it to proceed alone, without needing support. Prime Minister Enda Kenny appeared to add to those doubts, saying Wednesday that the debate on Ireland’s best options post-bailout were “finely balanced.” The government insists it is in no rush and will only decide after Mr. Noonan has taken advice from the country’s bailout partners.”

@DOCM-interview,interesting on ‘models’

everything you ever want to know bout….Comprehensive Assessment in advance of the Single Supervisory Mechanism..and were not afraid to ask.
“Ed O’Brien” looks like you guys have your man deeply embedded kudos,way more stealth and cool that tapping a fecking phone!

“Ben Marco: You said the army implants, they were for emergency medical data, right?
Delp: The ones they publicized were. There was a parallel project of all kinds of scary implantables. The Clinton watch dogs finally freaked out about it, closed down.
Ben Marco: Parallel project? How’d you know about that?
Delp: Manchurian Global funded me to make some of this scary shit. Heard of them? Imagine not just a corporation, Marco, but a goddamn geopolitical extension of policy for every President since Nixon.”
The Manchurian Candidate

ECB SSM Press briefing.

@ JG

Thanks for the links. The blowing hot and cold by Irish ministers is, one assumes, a negotiating ploy. The only point on which I would part company with Brendan Keenan is in relation to the significance of Ireland’s exit from its bailout. The weight of the Irish economy is insufficient to make success or failure a make or break issue for the euro.

It is clear that what now dominates the thinking of both government coalition parties is how best to get re-elected, an entirely legitimate objective in democratic terms. Unfortunately, the shambles in which the Irish budgetary process is still enmeshed is part and parcel of this. The main difficulty lies with spending in the health area. There is every possibility that the budget sums will be seen as not adding up in the New Year, just after the country’s exit. This seems to me to be the major stumbling block, especially as the end of year outcome cannot be predicted with any certainty.

On the Lautenschlaeger interview, the evasive nature of her reply on the core issue of leverage speaks volumes. That and the failure to address the issue of the rating of government bonds and the extent to which banks are buying those of their own sovereigns.

On the broader developments, the retreat from any great European leap forward is to be welcomed. The European electorate is, if anything, desirous of heading in the other direction. The equation “political integration = success for the euro” never added up in any case. As Schaeuble put it some months, “all would be fine if everyone cleaned up their own doorstep”. (He failed, however, to recognise that this advice also includes Germany in terms of the conduct of its domestic economic policy).

It is not just a question of German reluctance but of political common sense. The EU is made up of sovereign states sharing some functions in a federal manner but remains the executive even of most of these functions. There is no “Brussels” that is the equivalent of the federal government in “Washington”. It is the the European System of Central Banks that is ultimately responsible for the conduct of monetary policy, although the ECB, inevitably, given the exceptional independence which it enjoys, gains all the limelight.

@ JG

Read “but the states remain the executive”.

The US, as a federal state, has millions of employees (not to mention a military which dwarfs those of the rest of the world). The EU must make do with a staff equivalent to that running a medium-sized city.

@DOCM,hi DOCM much has been made off the ‘improvement’ in bond yields,it can also be looked at as a ‘euro’ play,not simply a bet on Irl. but weight of money and all that.Lots people have been chasing returns,but some that money is kinda ‘hot’ and will move quickly.

Over here,exactly when you don’t need credit it gets throw at you,mailers phone calls telling you that such and such line has been increased.But if you skip/miss any payments your toast,lines get pulled down or pulled -often too fast to draw them.

BK does mention the negative vig on the NTMA cash pile,but i have not come across anything on any costs with an LC-also assume until or if not drawn down no impact on debt levels,so i cant understand it,always grab ‘free’ credit always.
Naturally the terms will be a bit they should be.

If you have not already this is worth a ..slighly dated but quite clear.

@ JG

On credit lines, precautionary or otherwise, I have no view as to what should be agreed as there is insufficient public information available to make a judgement.

On the Dombret speech, it toes the party line to such an extent as to be difficult to take seriously. It also contains some blatant examples of tunnel vision, notably in ignoring the elephant in the room i.e. the enormous build-up of private debt due to an uncontrolled credit boom across the EA.

Neither is Germany being asked to reduce her competitiveness but to contribute to a level playing field in terms of government action which favours the export sector of her economy over others to the detriment of the other economies in the EA, the health of the euro and, last but far from least, the disadvantaged and low-paid in Germany. Only domestic political pressure will change this. It seems to be happening, if at a snail’s pace with extreme reluctance on the part of the vested interests likely to be affected.

@ MH

He has? And there was such a promise? If so, by whom?

If the IT is to be believed, he has written urging leaders to live up to the commitments they undertook in June 2012, the key elements being in the paragraph that you helpfully mention in your link.

@DOCM-low pay is all relative,the unions over here have been agitating to increase it but so far no luck.Tried some vote in Seattle did not get much traction.
Dombret’s analogies make his speech’s worth reading,last time was good too,the cat and tail quite witty.
As ‘francis’ is on a hiatus and i’m just having a bit off fun,here is the latest on the red haired step child of german banking…

“The irony of the firm German position, as former ECB executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi sees it, is that the recapitalization of German banks in the wake of the financial crisis was among the largest in Europe. The Germans “have never ‘bailed-in’ anybody,” Bini Smaghi says, “their banks have always been bailed out.” He faults Germany for its insistence on a “system they have never tried at home and writing rules that put you in a straight jacket,” which he suggests could create conditions that ultimately trigger a run on banks.
Without agreement on a forceful backstop, or resolution mechanism, many analysts and economists question whether the upcoming ECB assessments can actually be meaningful. “The backstop is the key thing for this test,” says Krahnen. The ECB is in a tight corner. If the bank does not conduct a “serious” review of banks, it will not be able to operate effectively as a banking supervisor down the line, Krahnen says. But if it does operate a genuine comprehensive test with no resolution mechanism in place, many banks “will be in trouble soon,” he explains.”

here is link to ‘yank’ stress tests,they embedded in the article,good description on liquidity/capital.

@ JG

Amusing quotations do not a good speech make!

On LBS, the Germans can afford to bail out their banks. That is what separates from most everybody else.

On the quandary identified by Krahnen, the EU approach can best be compared to a game of chicken in which the parties join, usually in the context of some ill-thought out course of action agreed to deal with an imminent crisis.

Not very elegant! But it usually gets results.

@ JG

Megan Greene is right on target with this comment in Der Spiegel Online

“Ultimately, she argues, Germany will get its way regarding the joint backstop. National supervisors will continue to have a large role in the bank resolution process, which, Greene says, will make the new system more of a “banking confederation” than a banking union.”

@DOCM,call me old fashioned but in life and business,its quite normal if you picking up the tab to get your own way….
“Germany is very clear about this…
The banking union is also about democracy. The voters say: we do not want to save the banks for a second time with taxpayer money. And that’s why we also need a bail-in system where it is first and foremost the banks’ shareholders and creditors that foot the bill. We should not wait until the bail-in instruments are available in 2018. The Commission can already impose it now when state aid is given. Everything is linked: bail-in is important but also bail-out. But a European bail-out – now only possible via an indirect bank recap through the ESM – only comes as the last line of defence and is rather hypothetical. But because of its availability it will provide an element of certainty to the markets and that’s why it’s important. In such a case, the European emergency fund ESM can lend indirectly to a country for a bail-out.”

again and last yank one,Fed meeting on QLR-Ben and Janet !

@ JG

The relevant extract from your ECB (Mersch) link.

“And at the end you know per bank how much capital is missing?

At the end you have one figure. The question is what you do with that figure. That’s why we keep on stressing all the time that credible backstops need to be put in place in time. We want to create certainty, transparency and credibility. That in itself will already help banks to attract capital. But they might not be able to attract everything they need from the markets. That’s why extra backstops are necessary. The first one that comes to mind is a national backstop because we’re dealing with legacy burdens. Some countries however do not even have a national resolution system. And there are countries that have limited means. Should we then jeopardise the whole exercise, an exercise which is supposed to restore confidence in the system?

Germany is very clear about this…

The banking union is also about democracy. The voters say: we do not want to save the banks for a second time with taxpayer money. And that’s why we also need a bail-in system where it is first and foremost the banks’ shareholders and creditors that foot the bill. We should not wait until the bail-in instruments are available in 2018. The Commission can already impose it now when state aid is given. Everything is linked: bail-in is important but also bail-out. But a European bail-out – now only possible via an indirect bank recap through the ESM – only comes as the last line of defence and is rather hypothetical. But because of its availability it will provide an element of certainty to the markets and that’s why it’s important. In such a case, the European emergency fund ESM can lend indirectly to a country for a bail-out.

Direct recapitalisation is not available?

That is only possible if supervision by the ECB has started. The problem of indirect recapitalisation is that the debt of the country in question would increase. Not every country can afford this. However, the European Commission has already said that countries can increase their deficit for this purpose without being sanctioned. This is a step in the right direction.”

Will the markets live with this fudge?

The answer, it seems to me, will lie in their assessment of how much fudge there is to digest. Or, as one disabused German commentator put it, “paying for the bodies in the cellar without knowing how many there are”.

As I said, a game of chicken!

One think I found remarkable today, is that you have irish travellers with dark hair and blonde children, as proven by DNA,

another, I enjoyed John Gallaher (JG)’s link to the open board meeting.

I showed James Ryan here recently, that we are pretty relaxed about tax changes he contemplates.

I gave JG a pretty detailed, quantitative break down of the very relaxed german media response of the irish involvement in US tax cheating, we do not really care about.

But spying, treason is a capital offence. And any involvement of Irish based entities, government, corporations, individuals, whatever, will not be met with any humour.

We would welcome a very fast and determined response from Ireland on this point, because this will have consequences.

@francis,hi francis I hope my joke about Ed O’Brien did not cause too much confusion,he was at the press conf.
As you have some interest in “Ireland” I highly recommend this tv show,RTE player,Looking After No 1.
“Documentary following five politicians as they travel to their constituencies to address local concerns and get a taste of the public mood at the midway stage of the current Dail.”

Not sure bout links,typos mbl apols.

On Friday October 25,2013, The stock market bubble of all times has formed as is seen in the leverage off stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds over debt

World Stocks relative to Aggregate Credit, VT:AGG

Eurozone Stocks relative to EU Credit, EZU:EU

Nation Investment relative to World Treasury Bonds, EFA:BWX

Vice Stocks relative to Distressed Debt, VICEX:FAGIX

The chart of the S&P 500, $SPX, shows an Elliott Wave V High Top at $,1759

A summary of this week’s trading presents the following trading activity

World Stocks, VT, +0.6; a market top on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Naton Investment, EFA, +0.6; a market top on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Global Financials, IXG, -0.4; a blow off market top on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Please consider The Dispensation Economics Manifest, … … which is based upon Ephesians 1:10, the biblical revelation that Jesus Christ, is operating in dispensation, that is the household management plan of God to complete and fulfill all things in every age, epoch, era and time period.

The Dispensation Economics Manifest presents Fifteen Corollaries, that is Fifteen New Things, which are coming by the Economy of God to establishing the New Normal.

On Wednesday October 23, 2013, Jesus Christ pivoted World Stocks, VT, Nation Investment, EFA, Global Financials, IXG, Major World Currencies, DBV, and Emerging Market Currencies, CEW, lower from their recent rally highs, on fears that the world central banks’ monetary policies are no longer able to stimulate global growth and trade, nor able to maintain corporate profitability, nor secure ongoing democratic nation state treasury values, and is so doing pivoted the world out of the paradigm of liberalism, which featured the democratic nation state banker economy, and into the paradigm of authoritarianism, which features the regional governance and totalitarian collectivism beast economy. In so doing he destroyed the fiat money system and introduced the diktat money system.

The ANSAMed Anna Foundation report Italy’s Debt Hits Record High Of 133.3% Of GDP In 2nd Quarter, indicates the true nature of Italy’s sovereign capability. Its level of Treasury Debt, suggests that it is an insolvent sovereign. Its seigniorage does not come from risk appraisal between bond buyers and sellers, but rather from the ECB’s monetary policies of LTRO 1 and 2, as well as OMT. And the only reason why it has fiscal capability is because of what amounts to seigniorage aid from the word, will and way of central banker Mario Draghi.

The reality is that the periphery European nations, specifically the PIIGS, that is Portugal, Italy, EWI, Ireland, EIRL, Greece, GREK, and Spain, EWP, are insolvent sovereigns, and the European Financials, EUFN, are insolvent banks. These cannot provide stable governance; it is only through regional integration and regional governance, with a footprint of supervised banking, leading to a banking union, as well as fiscal union, and statist economic governance overseeing the factors of production, as well as commerce and trade, that regional security, stability, and sustainability can be achieved.

News reports herald the development of Eurozone regional governance. Eventually a One Euro Government, that is a European Super State, featuring a fiscal union, led by nannycrats will provide fiscal policy governance, based upon schemes of debt servitude, where money and credit will closely controlled through a banking union.

Bloomberg reports the development of the Eurozone of a fiscal union relating Euro Capitals Tighten Fiscal Leash as EU Starts Austerity.

And Reuters reports the foundation of a banking union relating The ECB names 130 European Banks for supervision.

Liberalism’s banker regime is being replaced by authoritarianism’s beast regime; as foretold in bible prophecy of Revelation 13:1-4, and the only two forms of sovereign and sustainable wealth are diktat, and the physical possession of gold and silver bullion.

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