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商业 - 金融

8家欧洲银行抗压测试不过关

Colin Barr 2011年07月19日

欧洲金融管理机构称,如果经济严重不景气,这8家银行共需25亿欧元(35亿美元)才能维持生计,其他16家已通过的银行则需继续融资。

    根据欧元区银行监察机构公布的结果显示,抗压测试不及格的银行,也就是所谓的核心资金低于5%的银行,其中5家来自于西班牙,两家来自于希腊,一家来自于奥地利。即使有些银行过关了,但由于他们的核心资本只有5%-6%,因此也是岌岌可危。这些银行中的近半数,也就是7家,都来自于西班牙。

    上周五欧洲银行管理局(European Banking Authority)公布了这一最近涉及德国、西班牙、爱尔兰等欧洲国家共计90多家金融机构的抗压测试结果。决策者们希望藉此打消公众对于银行实力的疑虑。过去的两年当中,欧洲经济危机使得经济总产值下滑了四个百分点。在这期间,欧洲银行由于先天性的资金不足,大多是靠从市场借贷过日子。

    但是抗压测试没有起到立竿见影的减压效果。欧洲银行股价在美国股市略有下滑。欧洲实力较弱的经济体,例如希腊、葡萄牙、爱尔兰和西班牙的债务问题也是略呈扩张态势,一切都表明压力依然存在。

    Of the failing banks -- those whose so-called core capital fell below 5% -- five are from Spain, two from Greece* and one from Austria, according to results released by euro area banking watchdogs. Of those that passed but could stand to bulk up, with core capital of 5%-6%, nearly half -- seven -- are from Spain.

    Friday's announcement from the European Banking Authority concludes the latest round of stress tests for 90 big institutions from Germany to Spain to Ireland. Policymakers are hoping to dispel worries about the capacity of Europe's banks, which historically carry less capital and rely more on money borrowed in the markets, to survive a recession that slashes economic output by 4% over two years.

    But any relief wasn't immedately visible. European bank stocks traded modestly lower in the United States, and the spreads on the debt of weaker countries such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain widened modestly, indicating sustained stress.

压力不算太大

    欧洲经济的复苏急需一个资本高度充足的银行系统。在最近发表的一篇文章中,经济合作发展组织(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)估计银行在欧洲的授信是其总量的3/4——这个数字是美国的3倍,而且主要是政府抵押。

    舆论普遍认为,实力强劲的大型上市银行,例如德国德意志银行(Deutsche Bank,DB),英国巴克莱银行(Barclays,BCS)和西班牙国际银行(Banco Santander,STD)将轻松过关。

    上周,欧盟首脑们表示将为无法自行融资的银行提供援助,这一举措借鉴了美国2009年春天的做法。欧洲银行管理局表示,有十几家银行之所以能通过测试是因为他们已在今年早些时候完成了融资。

    目前公众的忧虑主要集中在德国特别是西班牙的区域性银行,这些银行在资金方面捉襟见肘,而且问题贷款多为政治性贷款而非商业贷款。测试合格的银行中,爱尔兰的银行曾于过去三年获得过巨大的援助贷款,这也使得爱尔兰对欧洲中央银行(the European Central Bank)和国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)养成了衣来伸手的习惯。

    在此次压力测试之前,去年的一轮压力测试遭到市场唾弃,因为测试最终发现只有七家银行机构(其中以小银行居多)资金短缺。本月,穆迪评级(Moody’s)认为26家银行仍“处于高风险状态,需要大量的外援”。

    因此,本轮测试发现24家银行缺钱,标准显然更严格,因此也更可信。即便如此,很多人仍然质疑测试的效果。眼下购买高赤字、高债务和经济低迷的国家的债券存在很大的风险,投资者要求得到更多的补偿。

    各国的银行系统最终还是以国家作为后盾,因此,一旦连意大利这样规模的经济实体(欧元区第三大经济实体)的发展前景也出现问题,银行系统资金充足这样简单的论断显然无法平息投资者的恐慌。

    最近抗压测试的设计之所以遭到质疑的原因是,该测试并未检验主权债务人,例如希腊,发生违约后银行将受到的冲击。然而,这正是过去18个月以来投资者之所以忧心忡忡的焦点所在,因此这也算得上是本轮测试的小疏忽。

    欧洲银行管理局表示将测试主权债券价格下跌后所带来的影响。

    欧洲管理局测试官员还说,“测试还将包括特定的欧洲主权债务抗压测试。它将以2010年低迷的价格水平为基础,进一步评估一些欧盟国债券价格下跌后所带来的影响”

    更让人疑惑的是,西班牙中央银行表示,由于一般贷款损失准备以及各家银行可转债(还没有转换成股票)的发行,该国银行无需进行额外融资。按照欧洲各国的监管安排,西班牙央行的职责是确保其银行资金充足。

    这与欧洲银行管理局的要求背道而驰。欧洲银行管理局曾要求各国管理者敦促这些“核心资本接近5%和因国债明显透支的问题银行采取具体措施进一步融资 ”。这一点似乎适用于很大一部分西班牙银行,但是西班牙银行(Bank of Spain)似乎并不买账。

    A well capitalized banking system is crucial for a European economic recovery. A recent paper by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that banks provide three-quarters of credit extension in Europe – three times as much as in the United States, with its government-backed mortgages.

    The biggest, publicly listed banks such as Deutsche Bank (DB) of Germany, Barclays (BCS) of the U.K. and Banco Santander (STD) of Spain have been widely seen as sufficiently strong to pass the test.

    Leaders of the European Union said this week they will stand behind those banks that aren't able to raise capital privately, in a replay of the exercise the United States ran in the spring of 2009. The EBA said a dozen more banks would have failed the test if they hadn't raised capital early this year.

    Concern has centered on the regional banks in Germany and especially Spain, where the cajas are widely viewed as undercapitalized and chock full of questionable loans made for political rather than economic reasons. Among those passing were the Irish banks whose massive bailout over the past three years has left the Irish state addicted to support from the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

    The latest tests come after a round last year was hooted down in the market after only seven, mostly smaller institutions were found wanting. Moody's said this month it viewed 26 banks as bearing a "heightened risk of needing extraordinary external support."

    So the finding that 24 institutions need more money is definitely tougher and therefore more credible. Even so, many have questioned the utility of the tests at a time when investors are demanding much more compensation for the risk of buying bonds issued with large deficits, heavy debt loads or shrinking economies.

    。

    Every country's banking system is ultimately backed by its national government, and when there are questions about the viability of economies as large as Italy (the euro area's third-biggest), the mere observation that the banks have plentiful capital is not apt to ease investor fears.

    The design of the latest stress tests drew further eye-rolling because they fail to assess what would happen to banks if a sovereign bond issuer such as Greece defaults. Since that is the very scenario investors have spent the past 18 months fretting over, it seems like a bit of an oversight.

    But the EBA says it will test instead what will happen if the value of sovereign bonds are reduced.

    "The adverse scenario also includes a specific sovereign stress in the EU leading to further falls in the price of some EU bonds from the already stressed levels seen at end 2010," an EBA stress test explainer notes.

    Further adding to the confusion, Spain's central bank -- which under the national regulatory arrangements in Europe is responsible for making sure its banks are adequately capitalized -- said its banks won't actually need to raise any more money, because of general loss provisions and their issuance of bonds that convert to stock in a failure.

    This despite the fact that the EBA says it has urged local regulators to urge banks with capital "above but close to 5%, and which have sizeable exposures to sovereigns under stress, to take specific steps to strengthen their capital position." That seems to apply to numerous Spanish lenders, but the Bank of Spain doesn't appear to agree.

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