The European Central Bank is “closely monitoring financial markets” as stocks across the eurozone have fallen sharply and the euro has weakened on the back of the UK’s decision to quit the EU.
In a statement following a telephone conference call by the ECB’s governing council earlier this morning, the central bank said it “stands ready to provide additional liquidity, if needed, in euro and foreign currencies”.
It said it has “prepared for this contingency in close contact with the banks that it supervises and considers that the euro area banking system is resilient in terms of capital and liquidity”, reports Claire Jones in Frankfurt.
There were, as yet, no signs of liquidity stress anywhere in the region, according to a senior Eurosystem official. In general, markets were functioning, the official said.
The ECB is one of six central banks — among them the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve — involved in a network of swap lines, set up eight years ago during the early days of the financial crisis.
Through the lines, banks across the world can access euros. Since the crisis began in 2007, the ECB has provided euro liquidity to banks in the single currency area in unlimited amounts.
The senior Eurosystem official said there were no plans for emergency overnight auctions at present.
Supervisors in the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism have been speaking to the eurozone’s biggest banks about how they would handle a Brexit.
Earlier today, the Swiss central bank became the first major monetary authority to intervene in the currency markets, after a shock ‘Leave’ vote was announced in the early hours of this morning.
The Bank of England also announced an additional £250bn of liqudity for commercial banks as it braces itself for market jitters.