IMF published a working paper that measures the performance of different metrics in assessing banking system vulnerabilities. The study finds that metrics based on equity market valuations of bank capital are better than regulatory capital ratios and other metrics in spotting banks that failed. The paper proposes that these market-based ratios could be used as a surveillance tool to assess vulnerabilities in the banking sector.
The approach of the study presented in this paper was to test and calibrate different metrics using the banks that both failed and survived the global financial crisis. The out of sample performance of these metrics was then assessed using the banks that have since run into trouble (as well as those that have continued operating). The results show how the metrics can be implemented in practice and what they suggest about the risk of bank failures in the current environment. The paper has confirmed results of certain previous studies, which suggest that equity market-based capital ratios would have been better at signaling bank distress in the run-up to the global financial crisis than regulatory capital ratios—particularly the tier 1 capital ratio. In addition, the study tested the market-based capital ratios against other market and balance sheet indicators and found that the market-based capital ratios would have been better at predicting bank stress than these other metrics in the pre-crisis period. The analysis showed that the market-based capital ratios also performed well in the post-crisis period. This further supports the case for using these augmented capital ratios in assessing vulnerabilities in the banking sector.
The equity market-based capital ratios suggest there are still vulnerabilities in euro area banks, some years after the end of the euro area crisis. Additionally, there are some banks in the Asia-Pacific and Other European regions that are flagged by these metrics. These measures inevitably provide a somewhat fuzzy signal, where one can expect false alarms and perhaps overshooting in its predictions in periods of market turbulence. They also do not provide a sense of exactly when problems might arise in banks and may only provide a few months, or even weeks, of advance warning of distress. They are also, obviously, only available for banks that are traded on stock markets. However, these metrics are a valuable surveillance tool for financial stability authorities assessing vulnerabilities in the banking sector.
Related Link: Working Paper
Keywords: International, Banking, Regulatory Capital, Market-based Ratios, Tier 1 Capital, Stress Testing, Capital Ratios, Research, IMF
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