Bloomberg News

ECB Financing for Portuguese Banks Rose to Record in March

April 09, 2012

The European Central Bank’s financing for Portuguese lenders rose to a record in March, the Bank of Portugal said.

ECB financing climbed to 56.3 billion euros ($74 billion) from 47.6 billion euros in February, the Bank of Portugal said today on the BPStat portion of its website. ECB financing previously peaked at 49.1 billion euros in August 2010.

In April last year, Portugal became the third euro-area country after Greece and Ireland to require aid and will receive 78 billion euros under its agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The aid plan earmarks 12 billion euros for Portugal’s lenders, if needed.

As part of the plan, those lenders were required to raise core Tier 1 capital ratios to 9 percent by the end of 2011 and 10 percent by the end of 2012.

The Frankfurt-based ECB awarded 529.5 billion euros to 800 financial institutions, it said on Feb. 29. The central bank’s second round of three-year loans was designed to avert credit paralysis and ease concern that Europe’s banks would run out of cash or curb lending as the region’s sovereign-debt crisis drove up borrowing costs.

Ricardo Salgado, the chief executive officer of Banco Espirito Santo SA (BES), Portugal’s biggest publicly traded lender by market value, said March 6 that the bank obtained 5 billion euros of three-year ECB loans. The same day, Fernando Ulrich, the CEO of Banco BPI SA (BPI), the country’s fifth-biggest bank, applied for 2 billion euros of three-year loans.

European lenders tapped the ECB for 489 billion euros in the first longer-term refinancing operation in December.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anabela Reis in Lisbon at areis1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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