Interdependencies between Leverage and Capital Ratios in the Banking Sector of the Czech Republic
In this paper we discuss the implications of the Basel III requirements on the leverage ratio for the banking sector in the Czech Republic. We identify the potential binding constraints from regulatory limits and analyze the interactions among leverage and capital ratios over the country’s economic cycle (during the period 2007-2014). The historical data confirm stronger capital ratios of the banks and an overall solid leverage level with only 5% of the total historical observations being lower than the regulatory recommendations. By analyzing the components of ratios, we conclude that the banks are focusing more on the optimization of risk weighted assets. Strong co-movement patterns between leverage and assets point to the active management of leverage as a means of expanding and contracting the size of balance sheets and maximizing the utility of the capital. The analysis of correlation patterns among the variables indicates that the total assets (and exposure) in contrast to Tier 1 capital are the main contributors to the cyclical movements in the leverage. The leverage and the total assets also demonstrate a weak correlation with GDP, but a strong co-movement with loans to the private sector.
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