Even before they are published on Sunday, speculation over who is going to pass or fail the European bank stress tests and criticism of the healthcheck of the region's banking sector has reached fever pitch.
European banking shares edged lower on Friday, with traders citing a reports that 25 banks within the euro zone would fail a European Central Bank "stress test".
The European Banking Authority has been testing 123 banks in the European Union – the 18-member euro zone and the 10 non-euro countries -- measuring how well lenders can weather differing degrees of economic downturn. The EBA tests are checked by the ECB in the case of euro zone banks, or the country's own central bank when it is outside the euro zone.
Simultaneously the ECB has been focusing on the quality of 130 banks' assets.
On Sunday, the two sets of results – the ECB's Asset Quality Review (AQR) and the EBA stress tests – will be released as a Comprehensive Assessment (CA).
One hundred and five banks would pass the ECB's review, according to reports. Of the lenders that failed, about 11 or 12 will still face capital shortfalls they need to plug.
Asked to comment on the report, the ECB said: "The ECB can't comment on individual institutions or speculation. Any inferences drawn as to the final outcome of the exercise would be highly speculative until the results are final on the 26 October."
The EBA stress tests involve running banks' books through shocks like a 14 percent drop in house prices from current predictions. However, they do not involve deflation, or a sustained period with higher or lower prices for commodities such as oil – both of which the euro zone is potentially facing.
There is also disagreement over how certain assets may be classed. In weaker economies like Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy, the governments have passed laws allowing banks to convert deferred tax assets (DTAs), which are tax payment deferrals generally awarded during times of weaker profitability, into more capital-enhancing deferred tax credits (DTCs).
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