BoE chief promises long-term easier credit
The Bank of England will provide easier credit to the country's banks to help them cope with the scaling back of current liquidity measures, governor Mark Carney announced Thursday.
"Banks can be confident that, when they want to use our facilities, they will be allowed to access them," he said in a speech marking the 125th anniversary of the Financial Times.
"Because we are both the supervisor and the central bank, the strong presumption is now that, if a bank meets the supervisory threshold conditions to operate and has signed up to our framework, it will be able to use our facilities."
Carney revealed that the central bank would offer banks longer-term loans and would broaden the range of assets accepted as collateral.
The bank is currently providing the markets with liquidity through its quantitative easing (QE) programme, in which it buys government bonds with freshly minted money.
But with the British economy recovering, speculation is mounting that this will soon be scaled back, raising concerns of another liquidity crunch.
The bank's Funding for Lending Scheme was also set up last August, giving banks access to cheap credit in an effort to stimulate lending to households and businesses. This is due to run until January 2015.
Strict new regulations introduced in the wake of the financial crisis will make it more difficult for banks to borrow on the open market, and Carney stressed that banks should not see the BoE's measures as a signal for irresponsible borrowing and lending.
He said banks need "to manage their balance sheets prudently", but added: "More exacting liquidity requirements mean the conditions for using central banking facilities can be less stringent.
"In the markets of today, initial usage of these facilities is likely to be limited. The MPC (Monetary Policy Committee)'s stock of asset purchases (QE) and the Funding for Lending Scheme currently provide all the liquidity and collateral that the sterling system needs.
"But as these operations are wound down over time, we expect to see the banks making increasing use of our new permanent facilities," said the Canadian banker, who took over as the BoE chief in July.
"The Bank of England today is the friend of resilient banks, continuous markets, and good collateral; and we are the enemy of taxpayer bailouts, fragile markets and financial instability," he added.
Carney also hinted that the central bank could open up its liquidity reserves to foreign currency borrowing and to non-bank financial companies.
© 2013 AFP