For years, many – and certainly this website – had mocked both European and US stress tests as futile exercises in boosting investor and public confidence, which instead of being taken seriously repeatedly failed to highlight failing banks such as Dexia, Bankia and all the Greek banks, in the process rendering the exercise a total farce. The implication of course, is that regulators, thus central bankers, openly lied to the public over and over just to preserve what little confidence in the system has left.
Now we know that far from merely another “conspiracy theory”, this is precisely the policy intent behind the “stress tests” – as Reuters reports citing a paper co-authored by a Bundesbank economist, “banking supervisors should withhold some information when they publish stress test results to prevent both bank runs and excessive risk taking by lenders.”
In other words: lie. Continue reading
The Bank of England is to impose a series of tests on major UK banks to establish whether they are able to withstand a dramatic slowdown in China, a contraction in the eurozone, the worse deflation since the 1930s along with a fall in UK interest rates to zero.
The Co-operative bank – which failed last year’s tests – is no longer included in the annual assessments of the industry’s financial strength as it is too small, leaving six banks and the Nationwide building society to be tested. Continue reading
An objective stress test of the eurozone’s biggest banks could reveal a capital shortfall of more than 770 billion euros (US$1 trillion) and trigger further public bailouts, a study by an adviser to the European Union’s financial risk watchdog and a Berlin academic has found.
The study and others published ahead of the EU stress tests, whose results are due in November, are important because they set the expectations against which markets will judge the credibility of the European Central Bank’s attempt to prove its banks can withstand another crisis without taxpayer help. Continue reading