In our view, the Spanish banking system is in need of wholesale recapitalisation to deal with the sizeable losses in the country’s property market. This will likely include a bad bank provision. Before that happens, the ECB’s open market operations will mainly buy time in the form of liquidity as well as provide banks with money to exchange bad loans for lending to the government.
Since early September the ECB’s balance sheet has expanded by 589 billion euros (about 750 billion USD) and the Fed USD swap lines are currently sitting at around 100 billion USD. The second LTRO to be conducted towards the end of February is then very likely to take this number well past 1 trillion USD of liquidity to the European banking system.