Bloomberg, FT on Wednesday’s sinking of banking index at ASE

3 October 2018
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A mini-crash of the banking index at the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) on Wednesday more-or-less expressed international investors’ concerns over the four Greek systemic banks’ recent lackluster results, as well as their “tightrope act” of aggressively reducing “bad debt”, avoiding new provisions and possibly seeking new capital from the market to accomplish the previous two feats.

Sluggish rates of new lending have also been cited, as the day’s losses, including to a lesser degree non-systemic Attica Bank, generated international press attention.

The benchmark FTSE Athex index fell by nearly 9 percent at the end of Wednesday’s trading, after losses of as much as 18 percent during the day.

According to a Bloomberg dispatch from Athens, which quoted two sources “with knowledge of the matter” Piraeus Bank must raise about 500 million euros by selling tier 2 bonds under a plan agreed with the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism, and all amid current market turbulence caused by Italian bond jitters.

Bloomberg also reminded that Greek bank shares have seen roughly 97 percent of their capitalization evaporate since 2015, when the mostly radical leftist SYRIZA party and Alexis Tsipras came to power.

In its dispatch, FT said “… some of Greece’s biggest banks suffered steep share price falls on Wednesday as investors worried they may not have enough capital to meet fresh targets on reducing their large portfolios of bad debts.”

FT referred to an announcement by Piraeus Bank, Greece’s largest lender based on assets, that “its plan to boost capital by issuing €500m of subordinated bonds was still on track.”

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