TARGET (IM)BALANCES AT RECORD LEVEL: SHOULD WE WORRY?

16-11-2017

TARGET balances are the claims and liabilities of euro area national central banks (NCBs) with the ECB. TARGET balances add up to zero but the sum of the absolute value of these balances has grown substantially since 2008. The levels of TARGET balances within the Eurosystem has never been so high. In September 2017, Germany’s positive TARGET balance equalled €879 billion, which is over 25 percent of current German GDP. Luxembourg, Netherlands and Finland have also built up large claims relative to their levels of GDP. On the other side, Italy (€432 billion) and Spain (€373 billion) have built up large negative balances. The ECB itself had a negative TARGET balance of €215 billion in September 2017.

TARGET balances are the claims and liabilities of euro area national central banks (NCBs) with the ECB. TARGET balances add up to zero but the sum of the absolute value of these balances has grown substantially since 2008. The levels of TARGET balances within the Eurosystem has never been so high. In September 2017, Germany’s positive TARGET balance equalled €879 billion, which is over 25 percent of current German GDP. Luxembourg, Netherlands and Finland have also built up large claims relative to their levels of GDP. On the other side, Italy (€432 billion) and Spain (€373 billion) have built up large negative balances. The ECB itself had a negative TARGET balance of €215 billion in September 2017.