Futures Plunge As Fed Discloses New Stress Test: Fears US Banks Will Need To Raise Tens Of Billions In New Capital

It appears that the key news of the day was not the fluff about the IMF which as we said was total non-news, but adverse news from the Fed which just announced that it is launching its 2012 bank stess test which unlike previous iterations may actually demand capital raises from US banks. Reuters reports: "The U.S. Federal Reserve plans to stress test six large U.S. banks against a hypothetical market shock, including a deterioration of the  European debt crisis. The Fed said it will publish the results next year of the tests for six banks with large trading operations. Those banks are Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The Fed said its global market shock test for those banks will be generally based on price and rate movements that occurred in the second half of 2008, and also on "additional stresses related to the ongoing situation in Europe." The heightened stress test for those six banks are part of a larger supervisory test the Fed will conduct on 19 firms' capital plans. The Fed's review of those plans will determine whether the banks can raise dividends or repurchase stock. The banks must submit their capital plans by Jan. 19, 2012." Incidentally, this is a clever way for the Fed to wrap up all the loose ends regarding European exposure: considering each and every day news appears about one bank or another having excess exposure to Europe, it stock punished, this may be the best comprehensive package. The problem is that next steps will certainly involve tens of billions in capital raises demanded of the above six banks (and probably Jefferies) by the Fed. Not surprisingly, ES has collapsed on the news to just over 1180.

Some more details:

  • Fed asks 31 U.S. banks to project revenues, losses and capital positions through end-2013 using four scenarios.
  • Two scenarios from Fed, two provided by bank
  • Scenarios to start in 4Q and go through last quarter of 2014; cover benchmarks for economic activity, consumer and asset prices, financial conditions, interest rates

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