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Macroprudential Bulletin

The ECB Macroprudential Bulletin provides insight into our ongoing work in the field of macroprudential policy. The aim of the Macroprudential Bulletin is to raise awareness of macroprudential policy issues in the euro area by bringing greater transparency to the ECB's ongoing work and thinking in this field, and to foster broader discussion on key macroprudential issues.

Transparency about our ongoing work is not an end in itself. It is also an opportunity for an exchange of views. We therefore invite you to share your views with us by sending an email with your feedback to ecb.macroprudential.bulletin@ecb.europa.eu. The same address can also be used if you want to receive notifications of future issues of the Macroprudential Bulletin.

MACROPRUDENTIAL BULLETIN

OCTOBER 2020 - ISSUE 11

Macroprudential capital buffers – objectives and usability

Capital buffers are intended to be used in a crisis as shock absorbers, but certain factors can prevent banks from drawing them down. The issue of buffer usability has been extensively discussed and is being continuously monitored during the coronavirus crisis. What does this imply for future policy?

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Buffer use and lending impact

Banks’ willingness to use capital buffers during the coronavirus crisis should help limit the decrease in lending and lead to better economic outcomes. It should increase lending, with positive effects on GDP and lower credit losses, but without a negative impact on banks’ resilience.

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Financial market pressure as an impediment to the usability of regulatory capital buffers

The capital relief measures introduced in the euro area since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis have so far not been fully reflected in the target CET1 ratios banks have announced. Market pressure from credit and equity investors can be a key explanatory factor for this.

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Enhancing macroprudential space when interest rates are “low for long”

It would have been easier to release capital in response to the coronavirus crisis if authorities had built up larger countercyclical capital buffers before the pandemic. This could have shielded economic activity better and complemented monetary policy more effectively.

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