Bank Credit Risk Flashes Red As Libor-OIS Spike Spooks Global Funding Markets

The last few days have seen the credit risk of the world's largest prime brokers (and SIFIs) cracking wider, breaking above key technical levels and trendlines, to their widest (most risky) level in six months.

 

And on average, the big financial firms are at six-month wides, breaking downtrends and critical technical resistance...

 

This is happening as US financial stocks rebound hopefully (despite a collapsing yield curve), completely ignoring the fact that the market is pricing their business risk in the credit markets dramatically deteriorating...

 

And it is becoming very clear that the blowout in Libor-OIS that we have been detailing...is starting to spread contagiously into bank credit risk as short-term funding stress sparks a lagged response...

The move will not come as a surprise to regular readers, as we have been covering it extensively since late 2017:


However, while the overall move wider was expected, the speed of the blow out has taken most analysts by surprise, and the result has been a scramble to explain not only the reasons behind the move, but its sharp severity.

While this is a simplification of the various catalysts behind the spike in Libor-OIS, here is a quick summary of what is going on - the expansion of Libor-OIS and basis swaps have been impacted by a complex array of factors, which include:


  1. an increase in short-term bond (T-bill) issuance

  2. rising outflow pressures on dollar deposits in the US owing to rising short-term rates

  3. repatriation to cope with US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and new trade policies, and concerns on dollar liquidity outside the US

  4. risk premium for uncertainty of US monetary policy

  5. recently elevated credit spreads (CDS) of banks

  6. demand for funds in preparation for market stress


In recent posts (see above) we have taken a detailed look at each of these components, of which 1 thru 3 are the most widely accepted, while bullets at 4 through 6 are within the realm of increasingly troubling speculation, and suggest that not all is well with the market, in fact quite the contrary.


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