ECB Further Eases Collateral Terms

Tyler Durden's picture

Two weeks ago, the ECB, which is now largely expected to cut rates by at least 25 bps imminently, announced it was aggressively expanding the eligible collateral pool of worthless "stuff" it would accept at face value in exchange for fresh EUR bills, in essence engaging in clear cut money printing with the footnote that it was really a loan. The only problem is the loan quality is absolutely worthless and the ECB knows this. Hence money for nothing. Today, the ECB has released another announcement on collateral eligibility, saying that "counterparties participating in Eurosystem credit operations should be allowed to increase current levels of own-use of government-guaranteed bank bonds subject to the ex-ante approval of the Governing Council in exceptional circumstances." However, lest it be seen as merely the latest confirmation that Europe no longer has money good assets, and the ECB is merely encouraging banks to pledge anything they can get their hands on in order to obtain a short-term liquidity injection, it also added the following rider: "[counterparties] may not submit such bonds or similar bonds issued by closely linked entities as collateral for Eurosystem credit operations in excess of the nominal value of these bonds already submitted as collateral on the day this Decision enters into force." But before someone takes this to mean that the ECB actually cares what "assets" on its balance sheet make back its now record €3+ trillion in liabilities, it added Rider B: "Governing Council may decide on derogations from the requirement laid down in paragraph 1." Translated: the free for all rehypothecation race is on, and probably in its last lap, as once any and all collateral is already pledged, the ECB's only hope will be to allow already hypothecated collateral to be rehypothecated. Something which in a non-banana republic would have cost Jon Corzine his job.

From Market News

The European Central Bank Governing Council on Tuesday adopted a further change to ECB rules on the eligibility of collateral for Eurosystem refinancing operations.

In its preamble to the new rule, the Governing Council said “counterparties participating in Eurosystem credit operations should be allowed to increase current levels of own-use of government-guaranteed bank bonds subject to the ex-ante approval of the Governing Council in exceptional circumstances.”

As a result, the Governing Council adopted the following change to its collateral rules, effective immediately:

“The following Article 4b is inserted in Decision ECB/2011/25:

Acceptance of government-guaranteed bank bonds

1. Counterparties that issue eligible bank bonds guaranteed by an EEA public sector entity with the right to impose taxes may not submit such bonds or similar bonds issued by closely linked entities as collateral for Eurosystem credit operations in excess of the nominal value of these bonds already submitted as collateral on the day this Decision enters into force.

2. In exceptional cases, the Governing Council may decide on derogations from the requirement laid down in paragraph 1. A request for a derogation shall be accompanied by a funding plan.”

Source: ECB