Wednesday 27th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: TUESDAY, MAY 26th: The National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, today announced that Alexander Nazarov has been appointed director of research and development Department. Nazarov will be coordinating the issues of product range development and NSD service improvement. His new responsibilities will also include developing the company’s correspondent and international relations - The UK’s Personal Finance Society (PFS) has called for greater control of non-regulated savings and investment activity, by bringing it under ‘the same umbrella’ as regulated advice. PFS chief executive, Keith Richards, said there needs to be greater clarity in the mind of consumers, on the distinction between regulated investment advice and non-regulated activities. The value of bridging loans written in the year ended March 2015 have grown by almost a half on last year’s results, according to Association of Short Term Lenders ASTL's quarterly figures - The UK’s Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) has revealed in its quarterly figures that £2.35bn worth of loans were written by members in the year ended March 2015, where the overall loan book expanded by 43%compared to the same period in 2014. While bridging loan applications are still increasing with a 29% year-on-year rise, the figures showed that the pace has slowed from 63% growth. A 19% drop from Q4 2015 to the first quarter of this year was also highlighted, albeit “not considered to be a concern” – According to press reports, Richard Pyman has taken a leave of absence from his role as Chief Executive Officer at Shawbrook Bank due to illness. Pyman, who was appointed as CEO of the challenger bank in April 2014 after joining the group two years before, is taking temporary leave from his role after following medical advice. Pyman’s leave of absence was announced just as the group released its Q1 2015 results; and the bank began to bed down the proceeds from its early-April IPO, which raised £90m. Tom Wood, the lender’s Chief Financial Officer, will be filling in for Richard during his absence as interim Chief Executive Officer, while still continuing his normal role with support from Stephen Johnson - Cordea Savills, the international property investment manager has sold Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on behalf of a corporate pension fund client for £34.25m. The 163,000 sq ft shopping centre comprises 34 retail units and 666 car parking spaces. It is located in the centre of Enniskillen, the largest town in the region, and the dominant retail location. The centre, which is more than 97% let by floor area, is anchored by Marks & Spencer and Next which is currently being extended to include both their fashion and homeware formats. The asset was acquired by the Fund in 1995 and has evolved with two comprehensive phases of extension and remodelling in 1998-2000 and 2006-2008 -

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The European Review

By Patrick Artus, chief economist at Natixis

Target 2 accounts: The equivalent of currency interventions, and a very good indicator of the risk that the euro may break up

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 Written by 
Target 2 accounts: The equivalent of currency interventions, and a very good indicator of the risk that the euro may break up When the Bundesbank’s (Germany's) Target 2 account (which is positive) increases while another euro-zone country’s Target 2 account becomes more negative, this is equivalent to a German currency intervention aimed at stabilising the exchange rate between Germany and this other country, and therefore at preventing a break-up of the euro. In a completely similar manner, when China accumulates foreign exchange reserves in dollars to prevent an appreciation of the RMB, the People's Bank of China accumulates an asset and the United States a liability, and there is monetary creation (in RMB). So the size of the Target 2 accounts of the national central banks in the euro zone corresponds to the size of the foreign exchange reserves that the euro-zone countries with a strong currency have to accumulate to prevent a break-up of the euro; it is therefore a very good indicator of the risk of a break-up. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

When the Bundesbank’s (Germany's) Target 2 account (which is positive) increases while another euro-zone country’s Target 2 account becomes more negative, this is equivalent to a German currency intervention aimed at stabilising the exchange rate between Germany and this other country, and therefore at preventing a break-up of the euro. In a completely similar manner, when China accumulates foreign exchange reserves in dollars to prevent an appreciation of the RMB, the People's Bank of China accumulates an asset and the United States a liability, and there is monetary creation (in RMB). So the size of the Target 2 accounts of the national central banks in the euro zone corresponds to the size of the foreign exchange reserves that the euro-zone countries with a "strong currency" have to accumulate to prevent a break-up of the euro; it is therefore a very good indicator of the risk of a break-up.

The size of the Target 2 accounts held by national central banks in the euro zone

Germany and the Netherlands hold substantial Target 2 assets (respectively EUR 650bn and EUR 140bn), while Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland have substantial Target 2 debts (respectively EUR 98bn, EUR 285bn, EUR 280bn and EUR 117bn).



Fundamentally, these are currency interventions

Let us take, for example, the Germany/Spain pair. If the Bundesbank lends to the Bank of Spain, there is an increase in Germany's positive Target 2 account and in Spain’s negative Target 2 account. This corresponds to a loan from Germany to Spain, or to a purchase of Spanish assets by the German central bank.

If this purchase had not taken place, Spain would be unable to finance its external deficit, and would be forced to pull out of the euro and let its currency depreciate to the point where capital inflows covered its external borrowing requirement.

Therefore, this is the exact equivalent of a currency intervention aimed at ensuring the stability of the exchange rate between Germany and Spain: the country with a "strong currency" buys assets of the country with a "weak currency" to stabilise the exchange rate.

Similarity with the China/United States pair

When China accumulates foreign exchange reserves in dollars to prevent an excessive appreciation of the RMB against the dollar, the People's Bank of China holds US assets and the United States, conversely, has a debt to China.

This operation increases the size of the balance sheet of the People's Bank of China, and therefore leads to monetary creation.

Likewise, when the Bundesbank lends to central banks in the Southern euro-zone countries, and these central banks subsequently lend these funds to the banks in their own countries, there is a creation of monetary base in euros.

Target 2 accounts measure the risk of a break-up of the euro

The size (positive or negative according to the country) of the Target 2 accounts held by the central banks in the euro zone therefore represents the size of the foreign exchange reserves that the euro zone countries with a "strong currency" have to accumulate to ensure the euro’s sustainability ("exchange-rate stability" between euro zone countries). The more the size of these accounts increases, the higher the risk that the euro may break-up.

Positive Target 2 accounts surged from the summer of 2011, and this went hand in hand with a period of pressure on the interest rates on peripheral government bonds and on risk premia on banks.

Patrick Artus

A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, of Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Adminstration Economique and of Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, Patrick Artus is today the Chief Economist at Natixis. He began his career in 1975 where his work included economic forecasting and modelisation. He then worked at the Economics Department of the OECD (1980), before becoming Head of Research at the ENSAE. Thereafter, Patrick taught seminars on research at Paris Dauphine (1982) and was Professor at a number of Universities (including Dauphine, ENSAE, Centre des Hautes Etudes de l'Armement, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and HEC Lausanne).

Patrick is now Professor of Economics at University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. He combines these responsibilities with his research work at Natixis. Patrick was awarded "Best Economist of the year 1996" by the "Nouvel Economiste", and today is a member of the council of economic advisors to the French Prime Minister. He is also a board member at Total and Ipsos.

Website: cib.natixis.com/research/economic.aspx

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