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TARGET2 and Central Bank Balance Sheets

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  • Karl Whelan

Abstract

The Eurosystem’s TARGET2 payments system has featured heavily in academic and popular discussions in recent years. Much of this commentary had described the system as being responsible for a “secret bailout” of Europe’s periphery which has led to huge credit risks for the Bundesbank should the euro break up. This paper discusses the TARGET2 system, focusing in particular on how it impacts the balance sheets of the central banks that participate in the system. It concludes that the TARGET2 is largely innocent of the charges that have been levelled against it. Arguments that TARGET2 facilitated a bailout of the periphery or that the system is playing a key role in facilitating peripheral current account deficits turn out to be wide of the mark. Risks to Germany due to the loss of TARGET2?related revenues for the Bundesbank after a euro break?up turn out to relatively small because these revenues are limited and because there are potentially large gains from new seigniorage revenues in this scenario. Many criticisms involving TARGET2 turn out, on closer examination, to be criticisms of the ECB’s core principle of treating credit institutions across the euro area in an equal manner. Proposals that the ECB adopt procedures that discriminate between banks in different countries (or that restrict the operation of payments systems in certain countries) are likely to be incompatible with the continuation of the euro as a common currency.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl Whelan, 2012. "TARGET2 and Central Bank Balance Sheets," Working Papers 201229, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201229
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3919
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Whittaker, John, 2011. "Eurosystem debts, Greece, and the role of banknotes," MPRA Paper 38406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Cardacci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Sciences Po publications 30, Sciences Po.
    2. Eichengreen, Barry & Mehl, Arnaud & Chitu, Livia & Richardson, Gary, 2015. "Mutual Assistance between Federal Reserve Banks: 1913–1960 as Prolegomena to the TARGET2 Debate," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(03), pages 621-659, September.
    3. M. Vari, 2014. "Implementing monetary policy in a fragmented monetary union," Working papers 529, Banque de France.
    4. Alberto Cardaci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2017-30, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    5. E. Mengus, 2014. "International Bailouts: Why Did Banks' Collective Bet Lead Europe to Rescue Greece?," Working papers 502, Banque de France.
    6. repec:eee:poleco:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:40-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Philippine Cour-Thimann, 2013. "CESifo Forum Special Issue April 2013: Target Balances and the Crisis in the Euro Area," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 0, pages 05-50, 05.
    8. Pablo G. Bortz, "undated". "The Greek “Rescue†: Where Did the Money Go? An Analysis," Working Papers Series 29, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    9. Kleczka, Mitja, 2015. "Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, and Secular Stagnation at the Zero Lower Bound. A View on the Eurozone," MPRA Paper 67228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Constantin ANGHELACHE & Madalina Gabriela ANGHEL & Marius POPOVICI, 2016. "Financial-monetary analysis model," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(7), pages 19-23, July.
    11. Jakob Korbinian Eberl, 2016. "The Collateral Framework of the Eurosystem and Its Fiscal Implications," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 69, November.
    12. Pitsoulis, Athanassios & Schwuchow, Soeren C., 2017. "Holding out for a better deal: Brinkmanship in the Greek bailout negotiations," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 40-53.
    13. Francesco Purificato & Caterina Astarita, 2015. "TARGET2 Imbalances and the ECB as Lender of Last Resort," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-28, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    TARGET2; ECB; Euro crisis; TARGET Project; European Central Bank; Interbank market--European Union countries;

    JEL classification:

    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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