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G w u o o t m 15949 :  Banks shares hit as investor nerves return

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03/24/2023 | News

Bank shares across Europe have fallen sharply as worries over the financial strength of the sector return.

Shares in Germany's Deutsche Bank saw the biggest fall, dropping 14% at one point on Friday, with other lenders also seeing big losses.

Investors have already been spooked by the collapse of two US banks and the rushed takeover of Swiss giant Credit Suisse by its rival UBS.

Stock markets in London, Germany and France were all lower.


The three major exchanges in the US were also down in opening trade, dragged lower in part by falls in shares of financial firm, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

In Europe,other banks to see hefty share falls included Germany's Commerzbank and France's Societe Generale, both down about 6%. In the UK, Barclays was the biggest faller, down by about 5%.


Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, told the BBC that the drop in Deutsche Bank's share price, and a sharp jump in the cost of insuring against a possible default by the bank, was "indicative of a wider loss of confidence in the banking sector".

"There's a gathering fear that central banks may have overdone it with interest rate increases, having left them too low for too long," he said.

Central banks slashed interest rates during the 2008 global financial crisis and again when the pandemic hit in 2020 as part of efforts to encourage economic growth.

But over the past year or so banks have been raising rates sharply to try to tame soaring price increases.

These rate rises have hit the value of investments that banks keep some of their money in. This has unnerved investors, triggering share price falls across the sector.

Higher interest rates have also raised the possibility of recession, Mr Mould said, and if that happens, "banks will generally find it pretty hard going".


Joachim Nagel, president of Germany's Bundesbank, said still rampant inflation meant central banks should continue to raise rates.

He declined to comment on Deutsche Bank, but said market turmoil was to be expected after the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US and the UBS takeover of Credit Suisse.

"In the weeks after such interesting events, it is often a bumpy road," he said.

Central banks and governments have been trying to calm investor worries

In a speech on Tuesday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said "the situation is stabilising, and the US banking system remains sound".

On Friday, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told the BBC that the UK banking system was "safe and sound".


But signs of strain have kept investors on edge.

Use of an emergency lending programme for banks that the US central bank created this month has increased over the past week, the Federal Reserve reported.

Bloomberg News also reported that UBS and Credit Suisse were being investigated by the US Department of Justice into whether they had helped Russian oligarchs avoid sanctions.

With the economic outlook uncertain and investor confidence fragile, there is increasing risk that panic will spread, analysts from Moody's Investor Service said in a report on Thursday.

"The longer that financial conditions remain tight, the greater the risk that stresses spread beyond the banking sector, unleashing greater financial and economic damage than we anticipated," they wrote.




Main activity : Finance
Description : Bank shares across Europe have fallen sharply as worries over the financial strength of the sector return.
Keywords : Banks, investor, BBC NEWS
Link : https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65064378

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