European debt markets ‘face second credit crisis’
European debt markets could be hit by a second credit crisis within months as fears grow over the huge volume of new bonds that must be sold by governments and banks in 2011.
By Harry Wilson
02 Jan 2011
Banks alone must refinance about €400bn (£343bn) of debt in the first half of the year, but add in the more than €500bn European governments must replace over the same period, as well as further hundreds of billions of euros of mortgage-backed debt maturing and there is the potential for chaos in the credit markets.
“What we are looking at here clearly has the potential to become a second credit crunch. However, this time it would be much worse than before,” said Celestino Amore, founder of IlliquidX, which specialises in trading hard-to-price debt.
“Governments have been able to slow down the process, but the problems did not go away. There remains trillions of dollars of debt that must be refinanced or sold.”
Mr Amore predicts a rush to sell assets, much like that which kicked off the first credit crunch in the summer of 2007. However, many fund managers and other large institutional investors are looking to reduce their exposure to bonds, leading to warnings that there will not be enough demand to buy all the debt banks and governments will need to sell.