Breakingviews-ECB must give bank sickness long-term cure

Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:08am BST

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By Neil Unmack

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The European Central Bank is flooding Europe with short-dated funds to ease money market tensions. But banks are still struggling to issue long-term debt, increasing the risks of a dangerous credit crunch. The ECB should ease the strain by setting up a longer-term facility.

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CONTEXT NEWS

-- The Markit iTraxx Europe index of credit-default swaps tied to senior bank debt was at 291 basis points on 21 Sept, more than 130 basis points higher than after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

-- No European banks have sold public senior unsecured bonds since early July, according to Societe Generale.

-- Euro zone banks borrowed 201 billion euros from the European Central Bank at its weekly refinancing operation on Sep. 20, this highest volume since early February.

-- Reuters story: Banks take 201 bln euros in ECB weekly tender [ID:nL5E7KK11R]

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

-- For previous columns by the author, Reuters customers can click on [UNMACK/]

(Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and David Evans)

((neil.unmack@thomsonreuters.com)) Keywords: BREAKINGVIEWS ECB/LIQUIDITY

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