Europe’s EUR 500 Billion Ticking NPLTime Bomb

Europe’s EUR 500 Billion Ticking NPLTime Bomb

Tyler Durden on 05/17/2013 20:14 -0400

Europe’s non-performing loan problem is such an issue that there is increasing bluster that the ECB may take this garbage on to its balance sheet since policymakers realize that bad debts and non-performing loans (NPLs) reduce the capacity of banks to lend, hindering the monetary policy transmission mechanism. Bad debts consume capital and make banks more risk averse, especially with respect to lending to higher risk borrowers such as SMEs. With Italy (NPLs 13.4%) now following the same dismal trajectory of Spain’s bad debts, the situation is rapidly escalating (at an average of around 2.5% increase per year). As we discussed in detail here, the bottom line is that at its core, it is all simply a bad-debt problem, and the more the bad debt, the greater the ultimate liability impairments become, including deposits. As we answered at the time – the real question in Europe is: how much impairment capacity is there in the various European nations before deposits have to be haircut? With Periphery non-performing loans totaling EUR 720bn across the whole of the Euro area in 2012 and EUR 500bn of which were with Peripheral banks, it seems the Cyprus deposit haircut non-template may indeed become the key template. Simply put, the greater the unemployment the more the strain on banks to generate “profits” by any means possible (GGBS?) to cover the capitalization shortfall from NPLs until at some point liability haircuts have to begin… 

Non-performing loans as % of total loans across the Euro area; Unemployment rates across Euro area countries

20130517_NPL1_020130517_NPL2_0

Via JPMorgan: It is not surprising that the periphery is exhibiting a rising pattern in terms of NPL ratios. What is worrying is the speed of increase, at 2.5% per year. Within the periphery, Greece is the outlier with a NPL ratio of 25%, and no signs of abating yet. Ireland follows with a NPL ratio of 19%. Italy (at 13.4%) is above Spain and Portugal (at close to 10%)… The German divergence is making the task of the ECB very difficult both in terms of setting monetary policy for the whole region, but also in terms of dealing with an impaired transmission outside Germany. Draghi clarified in its latest press conference that it is not the ECB’s role to clean up banks’ balance sheets, meaning that the ECB is unlikely to deal itself with the €500bn large non-performing loan problem in periphery.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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