by Daniel Lacalle
The measures implemented by governments in the eurozone have one common denominator: a massive increase in debt from governments and the private sector.
Loans lead the stimulus packages from Germany to Spain. The objective is to give firms and families some leverage to pass the bad months of COVID lockdowns and allow the economy to recover strongly in the third and fourth quarters. This bet on a speedy recovery may put the troubled European banking sector in a difficult situation.
Banks in Europe are in much better shape than they were in 2008, but that does not mean they are strong and ready to take billions of higher-risk loans. European banks have reduced their nonperforming loans, but the figure is still large at 3.3 percent of total assets according to the European Central Bank. Financial entities also face the next two years with poor net income margins due to negative rates and a very weak return on equity.