The European repo market has recovered to levels not seen since before the financial crisis, according to the International Capital Market Association. At just under €7bn, the value of outstanding repurchase agreements between European banks at mid-year pipped its June 2007 peak.
But the underlying details, released by the ICMA last week, show that it is not business as usual. Take the collateral pledged by borrowers in return for short-term loans. European government debt fell as a share of total collateral over the past year, and not just the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese debt that have generated the most hysterical headlines. British government bonds were much more reluctantly pledged as collateral and even German debt fell modestly as a share of the total.