Central Banks Reduce US Dollar Swap Lines to Weekly Auctions Amid Moody’s US Banking Sector Downgrade
After the tumultuous downfall of three major banks, namely Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank, several central banks made a collaborative announcement of a swift, coordinated emergency response. The intervention aimed to furnish U.S. dollar liquidity, with the intention of alleviating the impact of such severe shocks on the flow of credit to households and businesses. As per the joint statement published on Tuesday, the central banks have decided to curtail these newly introduced swap line arrangements, switching them from daily auctions to weekly operations.
Central Banks Cut Back USD Liquidity Backstop; Moody’s Downgrades U.S. Banking Sector and 11 Regional Banks
According to a joint statement from several central banks, including the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Swiss National Bank, and the U.S. Federal Reserve, the recently created U.S. dollar swap line arrangements will be reduced from daily to weekly.
The announcement cites “improvements in U.S. dollar funding conditions and low demand at recent 7-day maturity” as the reason for the auction cuts. However, the central banks say that the “liquidity backstop to ease strains in global funding markets” could adjust the operations rate provision depending on “market conditions.”
The original coordinated emergency response announcement was made 37 days ago on March 19, 2023. The decision was made after the fall of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and Signature Bank. The demise of SVB’s UK branch and the fall of Credit Suisse followed with the Swiss National Bank urging UBS to acquire Credit Suisse. While the central banks cite U.S. dollar funding conditions improving, the world’s leading credit rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, downgraded the U.S. banking sector five days ago.
“There are negative credit implications for the U.S. banking sector that extend beyond immediate funding challenges to downward pressure on banks’ earnings, combined in some cases with weaker capitalization and risks related to commercial real estate (CRE),” Moody’s disclosed on Friday.
Western Alliance CEO: The Waters Are Now Calmer
Amid the U.S. banking sector downgrade, the credit rating agency that evaluates and assigns a credit rating to each bank also downgraded 11 U.S. banks, including First Republic Bank, U.S. Bancorp, Comerica Inc., Zions Bancorporation, and Western Alliance Bancorp.
*FIRST REPUBLIC BANK PLUNGES 29% TO TRADE AT RECORD LOW
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 25, 2023
In a statement issued on behalf of Zions Bancorporation to the Wall Street Journal, the recent assessment provided by Moody’s was contested. Disagreeing with the agency’s conclusions, James Abbott, the bank’s director of investor relations, expressed disappointment that Moody’s had overlooked the “tremendous value” inherent in Zions’ inexpensive deposit foundation.
Several market observers believe that the banking crisis is ongoing, with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon stating in early April that it is not over. Economist and gold investor Peter Schiff has also warned of a significant recession this month, indicating that the banking issues are far from resolved.
Furthermore, Lynette Zang, the chief market analyst at ITM Trading, recently told Kitco News in an interview that a banking fallout could trigger the onset of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), suggesting that there may be more to come. However, Huw Roberts, head of analytics at Quant Insight, believes that the banking crisis is “largely contained,” while Western Alliance CEO Ken Vecchione noted that “the waters are now calmer.” On Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, First Republic Bank’s (NYSE: FRC) shares slid more than 40%.
What are your thoughts on the joint decision by several central banks to reduce U.S. dollar swap line arrangements from daily to weekly auctions, and Moody’s recent downgrade of the U.S. banking sector and 11 regional banks? Do you believe the banking crisis is far from over, or do you think the waters are now calmer, as some experts suggest? Share your views in the comments section below.
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