European banks must raise additional $154B

Dec. 9, 2011 at 7:31 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- European banks must raise an additional $154 billion in new capital, results of the latest stress tests indicated.

Greek banks were told they must raise an additional $40 billion to boost their ability to weather losses while Spanish lenders were told to raise $35.1 billion to meet Europe's new capital standards, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The European Banking Authority said Germany's banks must raise $17.5 billion, prompting senior bankers to say the stress-test effort would aggravate the financial system's problems.

"The stress test hasn't contributed to market stabilization. The lengthy and seemingly chaotic process has also strengthened the impression that every result is possible," said Michael Kemmer, head of the German bank association BdB.

British banks passed the tests without having to raise additional capital, the Telegraph said.

The European Banking Authority said it didn't want to force lenders into a downward spiral of asset sales to meet new capital requirements.

"Both national supervisors and the EBA will seek to ensure that the actions taken to comply with the requirements do not lead to significant constraints on the credit flow to the real economy," the EBA said in a joint statement with the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

Analysts consider European bank deleveraging a major threat not just to Europe's stability, but also the global financial system.

Analysts at U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley warned that European banks trying to decrease their financial risk will be a key theme driving markets next year as lenders seek to sell off non-core and non-performing assets to improve their balance sheets.

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