Deutsche Bank shares plunge, default insurance at highest since 2018

·3 min read
A worker walks past Deutsche Bank offices in London

By Amanda Cooper

LONDON (Reuters) -Deutsche Bank shares tumbled on Friday after the cost of insuring the bank's debt against the risk of default shot to more than four-year highs, highlighting concerns among investors about the stability of Europe's banks.

The region's banking sector has had a rough ride in the last week, with a state-backed rescue of Credit Suisse and turmoil among regional U.S. banks fuelling concerns about the health of the global banking sector.

Deutsche shares, which have lost more than a fifth of their value so far this month, fell by as much as 14.9% on Friday to their lowest in five months. The shares were last down 13% at 8.13 euros ($9.16).

Germany's largest bank has seen $3 billion wiped off its market value in the space of just week.

Deutsche Bank's credit default swaps (CDS) - a form of insurance for bondholders - shot up above 220 basis points (bps) - the most since late 2018 - from 142 bps just two days ago, based on data from S&P Market Intelligence.

On Thursday, Deutsche CDS had their largest one-day gain on record, based on Refinitiv data. But they remain well below highs of close to 300 bps logged during the euro zone debt crisis in 2011.

CDS for major European banks rose across the board on Friday, reflecting investors' reluctance to carry any risk on their portfolios going into the weekend.

"Deutsche Bank has been in the spotlight for a while now, in a similar way to how Credit Suisse had been," Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital, said. "It has gone through various restructurings and changes of leadership in attempts to get it back on a solid footing but so far none of these efforts appear to have really worked."

Deutsche Bank declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

German finance industry regulator BaFin had no comment.

Some of Deutsche Bank's bonds meanwhile sold off too. Its 7.5% Additional Tier-1 dollar bonds fell nearly 6 cents to 70.054 cents on the dollar, pushing the yield up to 27%.. That yield is almost triple what it was just two weeks ago, based on Tradeweb data.

NOT A RERUN OF 2008

Despite the turbulence, market watchers highlight that European regulators and central banks have reiterated their intention to keep markets stable, and that the banks themselves are more strongly capitalised and regulated than they were back in 2007 just before the global financial crisis.

"We have no concerns about Deutsche's viability or asset marks. To be crystal clear - Deutsche is NOT the next Credit Suisse," a report from Autonomous, an independent researcher, said.

"Judging from the movements in Deutsche's CDS, AT1s and share price, investors are worrying about the health of the bank. We are relatively relaxed in view of Deutsche's robust capital and liquidity positions," it said.

AT1s issued by banks have come under pressure since Credit Suisse was forced to write down $17 billion of its AT1s as part of a forced takeover by UBS at the weekend.

"The fallout from the wipe out of AT1 bonds in the CS rescue has raised questions about a key part of bank funding, which makes the problems DB has been facing that much more difficult to overcome," Cole said.

The STOXX 600 index of European banks - which does not include shares of Credit Suisse or UBS - has seen one of its most volatile weeks of trading in a year. The index was last down 5.1%, heading for a monthly decline of nearly 20%.

Separately, Deutsche Bank said it would redeem $1.5 billion in a set of tier 2 notes due in 2028. The bank had already issued similar new notes in February, which were designed to replace the notes that the bank is now redeeming.

($1 = 0.9273 euros)

(Reporting by Amanda Cooper and Chiara Elisei in London, additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Singapore and Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Jane Merriman)