Banks’ holdings of sovereign debt rise to a record as governments spend to cushion pandemic impact.
The pandemic has left emerging-market banks holding record levels of government debt, increasing the odds that pressures on public-sector finances could threaten financial stability. Authorities should act quickly to minimize that risk.
Governments around the world have spent aggressively to help households and employers weather the economic impact of the pandemic. Public debt has mounted as governments have issued bonds to cover their budget deficits. The average ratio of public debt to gross domestic product—a key measure of a country’s fiscal health—rose to a record 67 percent last year in emerging market countries, according to Chapter 2 of the IMF’s April 2022 Global Financial Stability Report.
Emerging-market banks have provided most of that credit, driving holdings of government debt as a percentage of their assets to a record 17 percent in 2021. In some economies, government debt amounts to a quarter of bank assets. The result: emerging-market governments rely heavily on their banks for credit, and these banks rely heavily on government bonds as an investment that they can use as collateral for securing funding from the central bank.
Economists have a name for this interdependence between banks and governments. They call it the “sovereign-bank nexus,” because government debt is also known as sovereign debt—a vestige of the Middle Ages, when kings and queens did the borrowing.
There is reason to worry about this nexus. Large holdings of sovereign debt expose banks to losses if government finances come under pressure and the market value of government debt declines. That could force banks—especially those with less capital—to curtail lending to companies and households, weighing on economic activity. As the economy slows and tax revenues shrivel, government finances could come under even more pressure, further squeezing banks. And so on.
The sovereign-bank nexus could lead to a self-reinforcing adverse feedback loop that ultimately could force the government into default. There is a name for that, too—the “doom loop.” It happened in Russia in 1998 and in Argentina in 2001-02.
Now, emerging-market economies are at greater risk than advanced economies for two reasons. For one, their growth prospects are weaker relative to the pre-pandemic trend compared with advanced economies, and governments have less fiscal firepower to support the economy. For another, external financing costs have generally risen, so governments will have to pay more to borrow.
What could trigger the doom loop in a country? A sharp tightening of global financial conditions—resulting in higher interest rates and weaker currencies on the back of monetary policy normalization in advanced economies and intensifying geopolitical tensions caused by the war in Ukraine—could undermine investor confidence in the ability of emerging-market governments to repay debts. A domestic shock, such as an unexpected economic slowdown, could have the same effect.
So far, we have discussed one channel of risk—banks’ exposure to sovereign debt. Chapter 2 of the GFSR outlines two other potential channels through which risk is transmitted between the sovereign and banking sectors.
One relates to government programs, such as deposit insurance, intended to support banks in times of stress. Strains on government finances could hurt the credibility of those guarantees, weaken investor confidence, and ultimately hurt banks’ profitability. Troubled lenders would then have to turn to government bailouts, further straining public-sector finances.
Another channel works through the broader economy. A blow to public finances could push economy-wide interest rates higher, hurting corporate profitability and increasing credit risk for banks. That in turn would limit banks’ ability to lend to households and other corporate customers, curbing economic growth.
Fiscal prudence, bank resilience
All of this could put some emerging-market governments in a tough spot. On one hand, a sluggish recovery means they should continue to spend to support growth. But rising returns in advanced economies as central banks start to normalize monetary policy could make emerging-market debt less attractive and put upward pressure on borrowing costs. So fiscal prudence is needed to avoid a further intensification of the sovereign-bank nexus. Governments can also bolster investor confidence in their own finances by drawing up credible plans to narrow deficits over the medium term.
Strengthening banking-sector resilience by conserving loss-absorbing capital buffers is also important. This can be done by limiting the amount of money that banks distribute to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks, given heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook. In addition, asset quality reviews to guide adequate levels of capital may be necessary to quantify hidden losses and identify weak banks once forbearance has ceased.
What else can policymakers do to protect themselves? Solutions will have to be tailored to the circumstances of each country, which vary widely. But broadly, they should:
- Develop resolution frameworks for sovereign domestic debt to facilitate orderly deleveraging and restructuring in case they are needed;
- Improve transparency on all banks’ material sovereign exposures to assess the risks from possible sovereign distress;
- Conduct bank stress tests by taking into account the multiple channels of risk transmission in the nexus;
- Consider options to weaken the nexus—such as capital surcharges on banks’ holdings of sovereign bonds above certain thresholds—once the economic recovery is more firmly established and depending on market circumstances;
- Strengthen procedures to wind down banks in an orderly fashion if needed and to provide liquidity in a crisis;
- Promote a deep and diversified investor base to strengthen market resilience in countries with underdeveloped local currency bond markets.
With the right policies, emerging-market economies can lessen the sovereign-bank nexus and reduce the risk of a financial or economic crisis.
default pandemic economic recovery economic growth bonds government bonds monetary policy government debt currencies transmission recovery interest rates russia ukraine
U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July
U.S. regulators plan to decide by early July on whether to change the design of COVID-19 vaccines this fall in order to combat more recent variants of…
U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July
June 28, 2022, 9:58 AM EDT
By Michael Erman
“The better the match of the vaccines to the circulating strain we believe may correspond to improve vaccine effectiveness, and potentially to a better durability of protection,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at a meeting of outside advisers to the regulator.
The committee is scheduled to vote on a recommendation on whether to make the change later on Tuesday.
The updated shots are likely to be redesigned to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, experts say. read more The exact composition of the retooled shots and whether they also will include some of the original vaccine alongside new components will be considered at the meeting.
Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Novavax Inc. (NVAX.O) are scheduled to present data at the meeting. All three companies have been testing versions of their vaccines updated to combat the BA.1 Omicron variant that was circulating and led to a massive surge in infections last winter.
Both Moderna and Pfizer with partner BioNTech (22UAy.DE) have said that their respective redesigned vaccines generate a better immune response against BA.1 than their current shots that were designed for the original virus that emerged from China.
They have said that their new vaccines also appear to work against the more recently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, even though that protection is not as strong as against BA.1.
Experts also want to know if the new shots will boost protection against severe disease and death for younger, healthier people or merely offer a few months’ additional safeguard against mild infection.
Scientists who have questioned the value of booster shots for young and healthy people have said a broad campaign is not needed with an updated shot either.
Other experts have championed any additional protection new vaccines may offer.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Edge Higher; Trip.com Stock Surges From China Covid Easing
Markets opened in the green today as they rebound from Monday’s losses.
The post Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Edge Higher; Trip.com Stock…
Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by 270 points as it followed modest losses on Wall Street. Investors are still weighing the risks of red-hot inflation as rates continue to rise. Aside from the U.S., European Central Bank Leader Christine Lagarde downplayed recession concerns in the eurozone, already being destabilized by Russia’s war on Ukraine. She also says that her team is ready to raise rates at a faster pace if needed, in order to combat inflation.
Shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) raised their dividends after passing their annual stress tests. For instance, Goldman Sachs is boosting its dividend payout by 25% to $2.50 per share. On the other hand, shares of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) are up today after China announced that it will be easing Covid-19 quarantine rules for international arrivals.
Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are up by 0.13% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is down by 0.79%. Meanwhile, Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) are trading mixed on Tuesday. Among the Dow financial leaders, Visa (NYSE: V) is up by 0.17% while JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) is also up by 1.67%
Shares of EV leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are up by 0.83% on Tuesday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) are down by 0.17%. Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) is down by 1.09% today as well. However, Chinese EV leaders like Nio (NYSE: NIO) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) are trading mixed today.
Dow Jones Today: U.S. Treasury Yields Inches Higher; House Price Increases Slows Down In April
Following the stock market opening on Tuesday, the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq are trading higher at 0.68%, 0.89%, and 0.31% respectively. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) is up by 0.28% while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is also up by 0.67%.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield currently hovers around 3.22% as the market continues to push against a bear market. Oil prices rallied for the third day today as major producers like Saudi Arabia looked unlikely to be able to boost output significantly. This comes as the West agreed to explore ways to cap the price of Russian oil. Brent crude, for instance, currently trades at around $116 per barrel.
Home prices increased slower than before in April and could be a potential sign of a cooling in prices. Diving in, prices rose by 20.4% nationally in April compared with a year earlier. This is according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. For comparison, home prices increased by 20.6% year-over-year in March. Cities like Tampa, Miami, and Phoenix continue to lead the pack with the strongest price gains. Tampa home prices, for instance, are up by a whopping 35.8% year-over-year.
[Read More] Top Stock Market News For Today June 28, 2022
Trip.com Stock Gains Following Better-Than-Expected Quarterly Performance On Travel Rebound; China Covid Easing
Trip.com Group (NASDAQ: TCOM) seems to be among the top gainers in the stock market now. Evidently, TCOM stock is now up by over 14% at the opening bell today. Overall, this likely stems from the company’s latest financial update. Getting straight into it, Trip.com reported a quarterly loss per share of $0.01. Furthermore, the company’s total quarterly revenue is $649 million. For reference, consensus figures on Wall Street are a loss per share of $0.08 on revenue of $575.04 million. With these commendable results, investors looking to bet on the return of travel would be considering TCOM stock.
According to Trip.com, the company has recovering travel demand in global markets to thank for its latest quarterly performance. In particular, Trip.com highlights a bump in activity from consumers across its Europe and Asia Pacific user bases. This, the company believes, is a result of easing travel restrictions amidst countries in these regions. Moreover, Trip.com also notes that staycation-related travel in China is another notable contributor to growth for the quarter. Accordingly, its local hotel bookings are now up by 20% year-over-year.
On the whole, travel firms like Trip.com continue to thrive as consumers book their vacations. For its latest quarter, the company’s air-ticket bookings on global platforms are now up by a whopping 270% year-over-year. As mentioned earlier, this is mainly led by a rebound in demand from its European and Asian Pacific operations. Looking forward, CEO Jane sun notes that Trip.com will “remain adaptive to embrace the changing environment and be flexible with our strategies to swiftly seize growth opportunities.” With all this in mind, I could understand if TCOM stock is turning some heads in the stock market today.
Occidental Petroleum On The Rise Following Latest Berkshire Hathaway Stake Increase
Meanwhile, the likes of Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) seem to be gaining attention in the stock market now. For the most part, this is likely a result of the latest regulatory filing from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A). Namely, Berkshire disclosed a purchase of an additional 794,000 shares of Occidental. This adds up to a $44 million transaction, bringing its total stake to about 16.4%. In total, Berkshire currently holds about 153.5 million shares of OXY stock, worth $9 billion.
All in all, Buffett’s focus on Occidental would likely draw attention to the energy firm’s shares. This is apparent as OXY stock is currently gaining by over 6% in the stock market now. According to Berkshire’s filings since March, the company’s average purchase price per share of OXY stock is $53. Following this investment, Berkshire would be bolstering its position as Occidental’s largest stakeholder. In second place on this front is investment firm Vanguard with an almost 11% stake. As a result of all this, it would not surprise me to see OXY stock making the rounds in the stock market now.
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Royal Caribbean Shares Huge News on Covid Testing, Vaccine Rules
President Michael Bayley gave some straight answers on pre-cruise covid testing and potentially dropping vaccine requirement at a Q&A during the cruise…
President Michael Bayley gave some straight answers on pre-cruise covid testing and potentially dropping vaccine requirement at a Q&A during the cruise line's President's Cruise.
Being on a cruise has largely returned to the same experience it was before the pandemic. Mask requirements have been dropped, capacities have returned to normal, and social distancing requirements have been dropped.
In fact, aside from crew members still having to wear masks and some stray passengers opting to do so in certain indoor situations, there's really no sign of covid rules once you board your cruise.
Before you board, however, the pandemic still has an effect on cruising. Every passenger 12 and older must be vaccinated (and must prove so before getting on board) and all passengers must produce a negative covid test taken no more than two days before getting on the ship.
And, while covid remains a problem, the cruise industry sees some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to pre-cruise protocols. Executives from the major cruise lines -- Royal Caribbean International (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report, and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report -- have said very little about plans to drop pre-cruise testing and vaccination requirements,
Now, however, Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley has spoken out on both issues and has given cruise fans some real answers.
When Will Covid Tests and Vaccinations Get Dropped?
The major cruise lines have largely stayed quiet about covid protocols because they remain somewhat beholden to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The current CDC rules are voluntary, but voluntary is sort of a relative term when it comes to the power the federal agency has over the cruise industry.
It makes sense that the industry has been cautious in commenting on when covid protocols may change, but with the end at least seeming feasible Bayley answered questions about both the end of pre-cruise testing and potentially dropping vaccination requirements during the 2022 Royal Caribbean President's Cruise on Ovation of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean Blog reported.
"I think pre-cruise testing is going to be around for another couple of months," Bayley said. "We obviously want it to go back to normal, but we're incredibly cognizant of our responsibilities to keep our crew, the communities and our guests safe."
Bayley was less hopeful about the end of vaccinations, according to the blog, which has no connection to Royal Caribbean.
"The no vaccine question is is a huge question that none of us know the answer to," he said. "I'm skeptical that's going to change in the in the real short term. Many and most of the destinations that we visit require a high degree of vaccination, and they expect our crew to be vaccinated."
Cruise Lines Covid Protocols Are Working
Covid has not gone anywhere, but the cruise industry has been very successful at controlling the impact of the virus. Bayley noted that the CDC shares some information with him about the "millions" of people who have sailed from U.S. ports over the past 12 months.
"And the number of people who died from COVID who'd sailed on ships over the past year was two," the Royal Caribbean Blog reported. "Two is terrible. But against the context of everything we've seen, that's it's truly been a remarkable success."
Vaccine requirements remain a touchy issue as some people have chosen not to be vaccinated and that means they cannot cruise. That seems unlikely to change anytime soon given the destinations Royal Caribbean visits and the CDC information which shows that the current protocols are working.cdc disease control pandemic vaccine testing social distancing
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