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22nd Jan 2022

France's Lagarde: Bank stress test results out 23 July

The results of ongoing tests on European banks to ascertain their viability will be published on 23 July, French finance minister Christine Lagarde has said.

Speaking at a conference on Sunday (4 July) in Aix-en-Provence, France, Ms Lagarde said the results would show the region's banking sector to be in good condition.

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  • Chritine Lagarde is confident the results will be largely positive (Photo: Adam Tinworth)

"Around 23 July, the results of the stress tests will be published," she told journalists on the sidelines of the 'Rencontres Economiques' conference in the southern French city.

"You will see that banks in Europe are solid and healthy," added the centre-right politician.

Faced with pressure from the United States and market doubts over the solidity of European banks, EU leaders last month agreed to publish the stress test results after initial reluctance from a number of states including Germany.

But a Spanish push to have the results published led a number of national capitals to perform a series of dramatic u-turns, with Madrid convinced the new data will help dispel negative speculation regarding Spain's banking sector.

The Spanish government has been plagued by a steady trickle of media reports suggesting it is on the verge of applying to the eurozone's €750 billion emergency support mechanism, adding to investor unrest and higher government borrowing costs.

Initial plans to test between 20 and 30 banks were broadened recently, with the results later this month set to show the ability of around 100 of the continent's largest banks to withstand future financial shocks.

Concerns that the banks may be over-exposed to sovereign bonds from countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain have contributed to investors' doubts.

These bonds have lost considerable value in recent months, with tighter EU regulation, a potential bank levy and an ongoing credit shortage also among the litany of pressures faced by Europe's financial firms.

European policy makers have urged banks to prepare for the publication of results by increasing their capital levels, much in the same way as US firms did last year before similar test results were published.

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