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Banks and Sovereign Risk: A Granular View

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  • Buch, Claudia M.
  • Koetter, Michael
  • Ohls, Jana

Abstract

We identify the determinants of all German banks' sovereign debt exposures between 2005 and 2013 and test for the implications of these exposures for bank risk. Larger, more capital market affine, and less capitalised banks hold more sovereign bonds. Around 15% of all German banks never hold sovereign bonds during the sample period. The sensitivity of sovereign bond holdings by banks to eurozone membership and inflation increased significantly since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Since the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis, banks prefer sovereigns with lower debt ratios and lower bond yields. Finally, we find that riskiness of government bond holdings affects bank risk only since 2010.This confirms the existence of a nexus between government debt and bank risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Buch, Claudia M. & Koetter, Michael & Ohls, Jana, 2015. "Banks and Sovereign Risk: A Granular View," IWH Discussion Papers 12/2015, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:iwh-12-15
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sovereign debt; bank-level heterogeneity; bank risk;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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