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A $20 Trillion Problem: More Than Half Of China’s Banks Fail Central Bank Stress Test

A $20 Trillion Problem: More Than Half Of China’s Banks Fail Central Bank Stress Test

In our latest look at the turmoil among China’s small and medium banks, which included not only the recent bailouts and nationalizations of Baoshang Bank , Bank of Jinzhou, China’s Heng Feng Bank, but also the two very troubling bank runs at China’s Henan Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank at the start of the month, and then more recently at Yingkou Coastal Bank. 

As we further explained, the reason why so many (for now) smaller Chinese banks have found themselves either getting bailed out or hit by bank runs, is that in a time when China’s interbank/repo rates have surged amid growing counterparty concerns, increasingly more banks have been forced to rely almost entirely on deposits to fund themselves, forcing them to hike their deposit rates to keep their funding levels stable.

Meanwhile, cuts in key lending rates since August to stimulate up a slowing economy have only exacerbated net interest margin pressures on banks.

In other words, with less income from lending and without the full suite of funding options available to much larger peers, the interest rates that China’s legion of small banks may have to offer to attract deposits could further undermine their stability. The irony is that to preserve their critical deposit base, small banks have to hike deposit rates even higher to stand out, in the process sapping their own lifeblood and ensuring their self-destruction, or as we dubbed it earlier, China’s own version of Europe’s “doom loop.

Dai Zhifeng, a banking analyst with Zhongtai Securities, told Reuters the funding difficulties risked distorting small banks’ behavior, making failure even more likely: “Lacking core competitiveness, some of them have turned to high-risk, short-sighted operations,” he said, adding that a liquidity crunch was possible at some institutions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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