Is The ECB Masking Accelerating Deposit Flight In Italy And Spain?

Tyler Durden's picture

While LTRO may have slowed the need for immediate asset sales and larger deleveraging in European banks, the two most significantly worrying trend concerns remain front-and-center - those of deposit flight and lending cuts. The latter remains a concern for the BIS, who note in their recent report, that lending curtailment by European banks focused primarily on risky (non-sovereign) and USD-denominated (EM mostly) debt as banks sought to reduce risk-weighted assets (RWA) to meet Basel III capital rules. It would appear though that banks remain in deleveraging (asset sale) mode, in anticipation of the end of ECB facilities down the road, which will become increasingly troublesome given the encumbrance of so many of their assets already by the ECB itself. What is most concerning though is the dramatic and accelerating deposit outflows from not just Greece but Italy and Spain (which just happen to be by far the largest 'takers' of LTRO loans).  

 

Spanish and Italian (SPIT) banks dominated the use of the ECB's LTRO facilities, while Finland/Germany/Luxembourg (FINGEL) banks took only modest amounts...

 

but the rise in the ECB's deposit facility shows that FINGEL dominated the additions while SPIT increased only very marginally...

 

As most importantly - Deposits are flooding out of SPIT banks...

 

In other words, as more and more deposits outflow from these two major sovereign nations' banking systems (notably to Finland, Germany, and Luxembourg apparently), the only way to fund bank liabilities (as long as the interbank market remains dead - which is likely given everyone's self- and projected-knowledge) will be the ECB.

And as deposits fall, the need to reduce assets can only accelerate problems within these large Spanish and Italian banks - especially as they replace liabilities with their own sovereign bonds in the reacharound carry trade - leading to an increasingly concentrated systemic risk concern in these banks. Should we see any more macro pain in Italy and Spain (which seems a given), the steepness of their bond curves will accelerate (anchored at the short-end by LTRO-fed carry trades and ECB SMP) until it becomes uncontrollable and the front-end snaps leaving margin calls and collateral damage for the ECB and the banks...

Charts: BIS