Bank share prices tipped to decline

Chris Joye at the AFR warns that increased capital requirements could cause an 18.5 percent fall in bank stocks:

….APRA warns that because the report makes several assumptions that are unrealistically favourable to the majors, and the majors’ CET1 ratios have fallen behind global peers since June 2014, it believes they “are likely to need to increase their capital ratios by at least 200 basis points … to be comfortably positioned in the fourth quartile”.

In dollar terms, UBS’ No. 1 ranked analyst Jonathon Mott estimates that this represents a CET1 shortfall of about $24 billion today, accounting for the extra equity the majors have started sourcing since June 2014 (the short-fall would otherwise have been $30 billion). That’s consistent with the lower bound of estimates I previously canvassed here.

Yet this number may be a low-ball for two reasons. First, APRA has yet to respond to the FSI’s recommendation of introducing a minimum average residential mortgage “risk-weighting” of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent. Second, the majors are likely to be slugged with higher risk-weights on their non-residential assets as a consequence of the new Basel 4 rules.

UBS’ research implies that the combined impact of this will be another $16 billion in CET1 on top of the $24 billion shortfall, which gives a total CET1 capital deficiency of $40 billion.

The Australian Financial Review’s Chanticleer column says the majors will only be given 12 months to boost CET1 in response to APRA’s looming decision on residential mortgage risk-weights, which the regulator says it will make “shortly”.

Bank share prices tipped to decline

From a shareholders’ perspective, higher equity means lower leverage and associated returns. Whether that translates into a fall in the majors’ valuations is an open question and depends on whether reduced returns on equity are offset by repricing of deposits and loans and cheaper overall funding costs. As I have explained before, there are arguments for and against. My base-case is that we see a 200 basis point dilution in returns on equity from current world-beating marks that results in a circa 18.5 per cent reduction in major bank valuations.

I would expect APRA to soften the blow by phasing in increased capital ratios and risk-weighting of residential mortgages over time. The impact this will have on valuations depends on several factors. Lower perceived risk could lead to lower cost of funding as well as higher earnings multiples. Also, a BIS study has shown that banks with stronger balance sheets are likely to experience stronger growth — which would again raise the earnings multiple. But I agree with Joye that we are likely to witness some softening of major bank stocks.

Read more at Big banks still short $40b on APRA's terms |

3 thoughts on “Bank share prices tipped to decline

  1. Graham says:

    Increase in bank capital to the extent indicated here cannot really be used to justify share price reductions of the 18.5% magnitude stated, sorry.
    Higher capital =lesser risk=greater PE, ceteris paribus

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