Banks 'would not survive sovereign debt devaluations'

Josef Ackermann
Image caption Josef Ackermann warned the profitability of European banks would be weak for some years

A number of European banks would not survive a cut in the value of their sovereign debt investments, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank has warned.

Speaking at a gathering of bank bosses in Frankfurt, Josef Ackermann said he was "stating the obvious".

His comments come as Greece is asking private investors to swap their current Greek bonds for others that pay less interest over a longer term.

This has raised concern that other eurozone nations may do the same.

'Limited growth'

Mr Ackermann said: "It's stating the obvious that many European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels."

He added that the continuing sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone would limit bank profits for a number of years.

"The outlook for the future growth of revenues is limited by both the current situation and structurally," he said.

Mr Ackermann also said he was opposed to the idea of eurozone-wide bonds replacing those of each national government.

This has been suggested by some economists as a way to stabilise the debt crisis by sharing out the debt of the most debt-laden nations, such as Greece and Portugal, across the 17-nation strong eurozone region.

The German and French governments have also both expressed their opposition to the euro bond idea.

Balanced budgets

Speaking at a separate conference in Paris, the incoming president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, also ruled out euro bonds.

Instead, he said the eurozone needed a "quantum" leap towards further economic integration, with tougher rules on budget discipline.

There is a proposal led by France and Germany that eurozone countries should be required to balance their budgets.

Mr Draghi also said nations must ensure that the fund set up to bail out any eurozone countries in financial difficulty - the European Financial Stability Facility - had sufficient money to allay any concerns about its funding levels.

Currently the governor of the Bank of Italy, Mr Draghi is due to replace Jean-Claude Trichet in the top job at the ECB on 1 November.

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