Opinion

Japanese banks and US$ liquidity: Squeezed between expensive deposits and the BoJ

For the last few years, Japanese banks have aggressively expanded their assets overseas, which has helped increased their stubbornly low profitability even after the introduction of negative interest rates by BoJ. Such a successful overseas strategy, profitability-wise, may be at risk due to US$ liquidity developments at a global level.

By: Date: November 28, 2016 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

This op-ed was originally published in Asian Banking & Finance.

asian-banking-finance

In fact, US$ liquidity has been ebbing towards tightness, partially because of the reform of the US money market fund and more is to come as the FED hikes rates.

The major source of US$ funding for Japanese banks used to be the US money market funds (MMF), but with its reform last year, the liquidity has dried up massive so that Japanese banks have turned to other sources of US$ liquidity. The reason for the increase in the cost of funding is not only that the LIBOR is already discounting incoming FED hikes but also that the cost of Yen-US$ cross-currency swaps has surged.

The most important source of US$ liquidity for Japanese banks now is wholesale US$ deposits but the cost of funding has also gone quite rapidly. Against such background, the Bank of Japan has been offering limited amounts of US$ liquidity through different facilities.

The first one is the BoJ’s Growth Program, which is designed to offer US$ liquidity to Japanese banks to expand their overseas operations but within a limit and only for growth-enhancing lending. The demand has been so large that the BoJ has had to double the ceiling of US$ to be granted since July 2016.

The second program is the US$ Funds Supplying Operations, under which Japanese banks can borrow US$ up to three months, which is funded through a US$-JP¥ swap agreement between the BoJ and the Fed. In July 2016, the BoJ even introduced a new securities lending facility so that banks can borrow JGBs from the BoJ to use them as collateral for the US$ Funds Operations.

Although the outstanding amount is clearly lower than the peak of the European debt crisis in 2011, banks have actively borrowed US$ from the BoJ before the US MMF reform took place.

The outlook is certainly not brighter for Japanese banks, not only because of the expected tightening by the FED but their liquidity requirements will become tighter with the introduction of the Net Stable Funding Ratio by 2018. Beyond the liquidity issues, there are two additional risks related to their overseas asset growth strategy, namely maturity and interest rate risks.

In conclusion, the combination of tighter liquidity regulations together with higher US$ funding costs, Japanese banks might be forced to review what has so far been quite a successful business model to push a stubbornly low profitability, namely that of expanding their US$ assets.

 


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint.

Due to copyright agreements we ask that you kindly email request to republish opinions that have appeared in print to communication@bruegel.org.

View comments
Read article

Blog Post

The Iran nuclear deal crisis: Lessons from the 1982 transatlantic dispute over the Siberian gas pipeline

A US president taking a unilateral decision that affects European interests; European policymakers outraged at US interference in their affairs; European businesses fearing losing access to some international markets – sound familiar? This is the story of a crisis that took place in 1982 regarding the Siberian gas pipeline project; its outcome should inspire optimism in the Europeans’ capacity to counteract Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear deal.

By: Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol and Angela Romano Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 23, 2018
Read article Download PDF

External Publication

Central banking in turbulent times

Central banks came out of the Great Recession with increased power and responsibilities. Indeed, central banks are often now seen as 'the only game in town', and a place to put innumerable problems vastly exceeding their traditional remit. These new powers do not fit well, however, with the independence of central banks, remote from the democratic control of government.

By: Francesco Papadia and Tuomas Valimaki Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: May 22, 2018
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

The EU should not sing to Trump’s tune on trade

The US threat of trade sanctions has put the EU in a difficult position. Nevertheless, the EU must respond decisively – not just to protect its own interests but those of the multilateral trading system, and to demonstrate to the US and other partners that trade is not a zero-sum game.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: May 17, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

The importance of being financially literate

This event focused on the importance of financial literacy and the possible policies that could be developed to improve it.

Speakers: Lidia del Pozo, Maria Demertzis, Annamaria Lusardi and Jean-Paul Servais Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 15, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

European income inequality begins to fall once again

Following almost a decade of relative stability, income inequality within the EU recorded a sizeable decline in 2016, reaching its lowest value since 1989. The fall of both within- and between-country inequality contributed to the 2016 reduction in overall EU inequality.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 30, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Opinion

Germany’s export-oriented economic model is caught in a US-Chinese squeeze

The new Merkel government has to reduce the dependencies on exports by stimulating domestic growth forces in Germany and Europe. At the same time, Berlin should push for a more ambitious national and European innovation policy as well as a robust European foreign trade policy.

By: Sebastian Heilmann and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 30, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Central banking in turbulent times

This event looked at fundamental questions about the central banking systems and how the Great Recession might have prompted a reassessment of the old central banking model.

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Paul De Grauwe, Marianne Nessén and Francesco Papadia Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 25, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Trade Wars: what are they good for?

Following the US announcements in early March of their intent to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, and the subsequent threats from China to retaliate with their own tariffs, the global trade picture remains uncertain. The IMF and the World Bank Spring Meetings set off amid US-Japan bilateral negotiations and Trump’s hot-and-cold approach to the TPP. This week we review blogs’ views on tensions over international trade and how they can impact world economic growth.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: April 23, 2018
Read article More on this topic

External Publication

Europe in a new world order

The EU is a relatively open economy and has benefited from the multilateral system. We argue that the EU should defend its strategic interests. The Singapore ruling has offered a useful clarification on trade policy. Addressing internal imbalances would also increase external credibility. Finally, strengthening Europe's social model would provide a counter-model to protectionist temptations.

By: Maria Demertzis, Guntram B. Wolff and André Sapir Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 26, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Bank assets and business models: addressing complexity

At this event, we discussed the lack of transparency and problems in valuing correctly significant parts bank assets in the euro area based on an extensive study by the Bank of Italy.

Speakers: Simon Ainsworth, Paolo Angelini, Josina Kamerling, Martin Merlin, Alexander Lehmann and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 21, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Central banks in the age of populism

Two years of elections have shown that we live in an age of increasing political and economic populism. What are the consequences of that for central banks? We explore opinions about it, from both 2017 and more recently.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: March 19, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Are we steel friends?

The U.S. administration is considering to impose tariffs on steel (25%) and aluminium (10%), based on a national security argument. We review economists’ views about this major shift in U.S.’ trade policy.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 12, 2018
Load more posts