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Counterparty Risk Increasing

Counterparty Risk Increasing

Courtesy of Rom Badilla, CFA – Bondsquawk.com

Due to the European debt crisis, counterparty risk is increasing as banks are reluctant to lend to each other, which is remiscient of the bank freeze at the beginning of the fiancial crisis of 2008. The LIBOR-OIS spread which is a gauge of banks willingness to lend, widened 2 basis points today to a spread of 26. Despite the unveiling of the near one trillion dollar Stabilization Fund last week, it continues to drift higher.  The spread has now increased 20 basis points from the most recent low achieved on March 15.

As mentioned last week here at Bondsquawk, the spread inched higher from 13 basis points in late July 2007 to 19 basis points the following week. As market conditions deteriorated, the widening accelerated. By late August, the spread widened to 73 basis points and the route was on. During the height of the financial crisis which is marked by the fall of Lehman Brothers, the spread reached a high of 364 basis points by October of 2008. While it remains to be seen if this will turn into another credit crunch as we have warned several days ago and as Bank of America’s Jeff Rosenberg had suggested earlier today, today’s action is certainly a growing concern and deserves further monitoring. 


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