Again, it has not been a happy day for people working at French banks. Although shares in SocGen and BNP Paribas have recovered recently, earlier it was looking sad, particularly for BNP Paribas.
The immediate cause was an article in the Wall Street Journal quoting an unnamed French banker as saying: "'We can no longer borrow dollars. US money-market funds are not lending to us anymore."
BNP promptly denied this, insisting it's funding itself completely normally. Its share price recovered.
Interestingly, BNP's maiming at the hands of the Wall Street Journal has parallels to SocGen's at the hands of the Daily Mail last month. The Mail was forced to issue an apology to SocGen for publishing an article that cast aspersions on its solvency; the bank is reportedly now pursuing a defamation claim against the paper.
French banks unquestionably have issues. Breaking Views cites a study by analysts at Espirito Santo suggesting the percentage of truly liquid interest bearing assets at SocGen and Credit Agricole is half the level at UBS. SocGen's equity is exceeded by its exposure to the European periphery; for BNP and Credit Agricole it's exceeded three times.
Nevertheless, in the short term it's the Anglo-Saxon press that is moving French banks' share prices. And it's doing so for reasons that don't always appear valid. French bankers will know who to blame if they lose their jobs before Christmas.
"French bankers are among the rudest individuals I have encountered." (BBC)
Even during difficult times such as now Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, wants a 13 per cent return. But then how else, I suppose, could he justify his vast pay package? (Financial Times)
"The UK debt crisis was not caused by banks- it was also caused by retail outfits thinking they were investment banks." (Fintag)
EU banks will be able to operate branches in the UK bypassing the ring-fence. (CityAm)
The average hedge fund manager has lost 4.1% in the past four weeks. (Financial Times)
"I work on the assumption that I'm intellectually superior to 99 people out of 100 and I'd give the other man a good run for his money." (Evening Standard)