One of the key uncertainties surrounding the situation in Greece is the relationship between the Greek banks and the ECB. Lots of press coverage is suggesting the ECB has a set of well-established rules that mean it will not be able to lend to Greek banks in March unless the government negotiates a new EU-IMF program to replace the one expiring at the end of this month. (...)
Well the ECB has almost complete discretion over which banks it lends to. I have written about the ECB’s Risk Control Framework before and it’s been rolled out regularly in the years since I wrote that post. The bottom line is that the ECB can single out specific institutions and decide to not lend to them for pretty much whatever “risk-related” reason they feel like putting forward. Still, this approach, if taken, isn’t based on any hard and fast rules. (...)
Other reports suggest that the key issue is that the ECB is planning to refuse to accept Greek government bonds as collateral for loans. (...)
If Vice President Constancio is referring to cutting off eligibility of specific bonds as collateral, that argues against the ECB’s’s current “official” approach being one of threatening a full cut-off of funds. Still, the idea of “junk-rated bonds are only eligible if a country is in a program” being part of “the ECB’s rules” is an over-statement. In truth, the ECB makes up these rules as it goes along and the “in again, out again” routine with Greek government bond eligibility is a long-standing one at this point. (...)
An implicit assumption underlying lots of reporting on this topic is that the Greek banks are heavily dependent on using Greek government bonds as collateral for loans from the Eurosystem. But actually this isn’t true. (...)
[T]he Greek banks were using at most €8 billion in Greek government debt in December as collateral for loans from the Eurosystem. Set against the total loans of €56 billion owed to the Eurosystem this is fairly small beer.
So The Greek Banks Are Cool With The ECB?
Alas, no. The ECB and the Greek banks have some pretty serious issues.
Monday, February 02, 2015
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 18:37