Effects of Covid-19 on the banking sector: the market's assessment

BIS Bulletin  |  No 12  | 
07 May 2020

Key takeaways

  • Banks' performance on equity and debt markets since the Covid-19 outbreak has been on a par with that experienced after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
  • During the initial phase, the market sell-off swept over all banks, which underperformed significantly relative to other sectors. Still, markets showed some differentiation by bank nationality, and credit default swap (CDS) spreads rose the most for those banks that had entered the crisis with the highest level of credit risk.
  • The subsequent stabilisation, brought about by forceful policy measures since mid-March, has favoured banks with higher profitability and healthier balance sheets. Less profitable banks saw their long-term rating outlooks revised to negative. And the CDS spreads of the riskiest banks continued increasing even through the stabilisation phase.