Bundesbank: Low interest rates can endanger financial stability


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Bundesbank: Low interest rates can endanger financial stability

Frankfurt / Main – The historically low interest rates assessed the German Bundesbank in its financial stability report as danger for “exaggerations”.

Picture: Diagram in the business section 

“The longer the period of low interest rates, the greater the risk that it will lead to exaggeration in certain market segments,” said Bundesbank Vice President Claudia Buch at the presentation of the annual financial stability report of the central bank on Tuesday in Frankfurt.

“Excessive desire for returns”

Because there are few alternatives, recently, for example, higher-yield corporate bonds were in high demand. Buch sees signs of “excessive craving for returns”, such as corporate bonds or large loans issued jointly by several banks. In contrast, the Bundesbank sees in the real estate market, despite the price increases in houses and condominiums, especially in metropolitan areas no danger for dangerous price bubbles. “So far, rising residential property prices in Germany do not pose excessive risks to financial stability,” said Buch.

The Bundesbank will monitor the development in the real estate market but very closely. Survey data indicated that falling house prices and rising loan default rates could cause banks trouble. “Especially in metropolitan areas, there are many objects that are fully funded by credit,” said Buch. Defaults could become a “significant burden on banks”.

German banks have stabilized

Overall, the situation of the German banks has improved in the Bundesbank’s assessment last year: contaminated sites were reduced and capital buffers strengthened. The latest tests by the European Central Bank (ECB) have shown that German banks could withstand even greater burdens, according to Bundesbank Chairman Andreas Dombret.

However, Dombret also warned: “A sharp and abrupt rise in short-term interest rates would leave a significant mark on banks’ income statements.” The industry in Germany is suffering from weak earnings. “In the long term, German banks have to earn more to compete,” said Dombret. But mergers should not be taboo.


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