Bailout raises bankers' mistrust

09:08, May 18, 2010      

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Money markets are showing rising levels of mistrust between Europe's banks on concern an almost $1 trillion bailout package won't prevent a sovereign debt default that might trigger a breakup of the euro.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Barclays Plc led financial firms punished by rising borrowing costs, British Bankers' Association data show. The cost to hedge against losses on European bank bonds is 63 percent higher than a month ago. Investment-grade corporate debt sales in the region plummeted 88 percent last week to $1.2 billion from the previous period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The rate banks say they charge each other for three-month loans in dollars rose to a nine-month high, even after a government-led rescue designed to prevent Greece from defaulting, and a new financial crisis. The euro fell to its weakest against the dollar since 2006, and stocks tumbled.

Bank lending "conveys a lack of trust in the system", said Robert Baur, chief global economist at Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Global Investors, which manages $222 billion. "Banks are a little reluctant to lend overnight as they don't know the full extent of what is on the bank balance sheets."

The three-month London interbank offered rate in dollars, or Libor, rose to 0.445 percent last week, the highest level since August, from 0.428 percent on May 7 and 0.252 at the end of February, according to the British Bankers' Association.

Concerns have spilled into the market for commercial paper, debt used by companies and banks for their short-term operating needs. Rates on 90-day paper are more than double the upper band of the federal funds rate, about twice the average in the five years before credit markets seized up in mid-2007.

"The list of banks able to tap the three-month market remains extremely limited with access spotty and expensive," Joseph Abate, a money-market strategist at Barclays in New York, wrote in a May 14 note to clients.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:黄硕)

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