Any other week the ongoing collapse in Deutsche Bank stock, which dropped to a fresh all time low, sliding below €7.00 per share and closing at €6.97 on Friday, dragging its market cap to just under $16.5 billion or below that of Expedia, would have been the primary topic of conversation.
However, in light of the numerous market "distractions" of the past week, it is understandable that the latest DB stock collapse would pass largely under the radar. And yet, for the bank with the €48 trillion in gross notional derivatives, when the market is signaling that something is wrong - which it clearly is with DB's stock which has tumbled 56% in 2018 - it is worth paying attention.
So in an attempt to frontrun a new wave of investor concerns over the relentless implosion of the largest German lender, Chairman Paul Achleitner said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Deutsche Bank is "well-positioned to weather a crisis" without state help, i.e., without nationalization.
With a "very strong" capital base and "record" liquidity levels, "we are very well prepared, if something external happens," Achleitner told the German weekly according to Bloomberg, adding that the bank's new CEO Christian Sewing has the team and the personality to lead Germany’s largest lender into a “new growth phase.”
Perhaps... on the other hand it is still unclear just what new skeletons in the bank's vault the local police found after their raid of DB's headquarters in late November, triggered by concerns the bank, which has been implicated in virtually every possible financial scandal, was also facilitating money laundering. Indeed, amid the bank's miserable turnaround which has seen hundreds of employees laid off, the dramatic images of police officers descending on the company’s Frankfurt headquarters last month in a money-laundering probe was just the latest dark cloud.
Still, despite all the trials and mounting investor criticism, the Chairman plans to stick it out. “The shareholders trusted me with a mandate until 2022. I stand by that responsibility,” Achleitner said in the interview.
And speaking of surviving a crisis, last week Deutsche Bank's chief global economist Torsten Slok published a list of what he thoughts were the 30 biggest risks to the market in 2019. Not surprisingly, it was missing what some believe could be the biggest crisis catalyst: the collapse of Deutsche Bank itself.