In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Credit Stress Indicators: Little Spillover to US from Europe

by Calculated Risk on 1/17/2012 12:05:00 PM

As we've discussed, there are several possible channels of contagion from the European financial crisis. The most obvious is the trade channel. The recession in Europe appears to already be negatively impacting U.S. exports. The most recent trade report showed exports to eurozone countries declined 6.9% in November. Although Europe is a major U.S. trading partner, exports only make up a small portion of U.S. GDP, and the drag from lower exports will be minimal.

A more significant channel would be tightening of U.S. credit conditions in response to the European crisis. I will look closely at the Fed’s January Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices that will be released at the end of the month. The October survey showed “considerable” tightening on lending to European banks, and some tightening to European firms, but the survey showed no significant additional tightening in the U.S.

Since the most significant channel will probably be credit stress, here are a few indicators of credit stress:

• The three month LIBOR has decreased:

Data from the British Bankers' Association showed the three-month dollar London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, was fixed at 0.56230%, down from 0.56490% Monday. ... The spread between the three-month dollar Libor and overnight index swaps, a barometer of market stress, was unchanged at 48 basis points.
The three-month LIBOR rate peaked during the crisis at 4.81875% on Oct 10, 2008. This increased last year, but has mostly been sideways since then.

• The TED spread is at 0.537. The TED spread is the difference between the three month T-bill and the LIBOR interest rate. This peaked in December at 0.581 and has declined slightly since then. The 5 year graph shows that recent increase in comparison to the U.S. financial crisis in 2008.

Ted SpreadHere is a screen shot of the TED spread from Bloomberg.

Click on graph for larger image.

The peak was 4.63 on Oct 10, 2008. A normal spread is around 0.5.

• The A2P2 spread as at 0.39. This spread is mostly moving sideways, and is far below the peak of the financial crisis of 5.86.

This is the spread between high and low quality 30 day nonfinancial commercial paper. Right now high quality 30 day nonfinancial paper is yielding close to zero.

Two Year Swap SpreadThe two year swap spread screen shot from Bloomberg. This spread has declined to 34.3.

This spread peaked at near 165 in early October 2008.

So far there hasn't been much spillover to the U.S.