European banks need to roll over €1 trillion (£877bn) of debt over the next two years at a much higher cost and in direct competition with hungry sovereign states, according to a report by Morgan Stanley.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The bank has advised clients to prepare for chillier times as monetary tightening begins in the US and China, causing major spill-over effects in Europe.
Roughly €560bn of EU bank debt matures in 2010 and €540bn in 2011. The banks will have to roll over loans at a time when unprecedented bond issuance by governments worldwide risks saturating the debt markets. European states alone must raise €1.6 trillion this year.
“The scale of such issuance could raise a significant ‘crowding out’ issue, whereby government bonds suck up the vast majority of capital,” said Graham Secker, Morgan Stanley’s equity strategist. “The debt burden that prompted the financial crisis has not fallen; rather, we are witnessing a dramatic transfer of private-sector debt on to the public sector. The most important macro-theme for the next few years will be how easily countries can service and pay down these deficits. Greece may well prove to be a taste of things to come.”
Lenders will have to cope with a blizzard of problems as new Basel rules on bank capital ratios force some to retrench. State guarantees are coming to an end, which entails a jump of 40 basis points in average interest costs. They must wean themselves off short-term funding as emergency windows close, switching to longer maturities at higher cost.