Worsening crisis: Banks hoarding cash could double corporate default rates in Europe

Thursday, January 26, 2012
By Paul Martin

TheExtinctionProtocol.com
January 26, 2012

BRUSSELS – Corporate defaults may almost double in Europe as companies struggle to refinance debt and banks hoard cash borrowed from the European Central Bank or use it to buy government bonds. Europe’s default rate may soar to 8.4 percent or more, from 4.8 percent at the end of 2011 as the recession bites and company financing dries up, according to Standard & Poor’s. Petroplus Holdings AG (PPHN) became the latest victim of the tough stance banks are adopting when the region’s biggest independent oil refiner said this week it will file for insolvency after losing access to $2.1 billion of credit lines. “It’s very challenging for anyone to raise money from lenders right now,” said Andrew Cleland-Bogle, a Frankfurt- based director at corporate finance specialist DC Advisory Partners. “Combine that with increased bank capital requirements and you can see that although banks are getting money they’re very selective when it comes to lending it. 2012 is going to be a very, very tough year.” Speculative-grade companies have to refinance about 230 billion euros ($300 billion) through 2015, according to S&P. At the same time, banks and loan funds that provided the initial funding are scrambling for capital or reaching the end of their reinvestment periods and may be unwilling to extend loans. Banks are using the 489 billion euros they borrowed at 1 percent from the ECB under its three-year longer-term refinancing operation to scoop up government bonds yielding more than 2.5 percentage points extra instead of lending the money to companies. -Bloomberg

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