Sunday, December 11, 2011

ECB, NCBs, collateral, capital key, Target2, and intra-eurosystem credit

Two comments on The Money View. One on Perry Mehrling's The IMF and the Collateral Crunch and the other on Daniel H. Neilson's Is there an ECB?

Neilson links to the erroneous Tornell/Westerman piece. My comments on this are in a previous post. In short, Karl Whelan's Worse than Sinn clarifies the issue. Sterilization by the Bundesbank is not happening. 

Merhling and me discuss the nature of the transactions conducted between borrowing NCBs and the lending ECB.

Perry, I can't find any explicit reference to whether intra-Eurosystem credits are collateralized or not.

But I still think not. Collateral is posted by a borrower to a lender to protect the lender should the borrower default. Then the lender can collect the collateral instead.

But ECB losses are dealt with in a specific way. See bottom of

In short, if the ECB suffers a loss on a loan to an NCB then that loss is allocated to all NCBs according to the ECB's capital key.

The March 2011 Bundesbank report describes this:

"An actual loss will be incurred only if and when a Eurosystem counterparty defaults and the collateral it posted does not realise the full value of the collateralised refinancing operations despite the risk control measures applied by the Eurosystem. Any actual loss would always be borne by the Eurosystem as a whole, regardless of which national bank records it. The cost of such a loss would be shared among the national banks in line with the capital key."
So it would be redundant or unecessary for an NCB to post collateral to the ECB for ECB credit, since in the case of non-payment the ECB has a claim on all NCBs to make up the loss.

That being said, I don't think this necessarily changes the thrust of your post.

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