The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Thursday that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, euro area banks under its direct supervision may exclude certain central bank exposures from the leverage ratio.

The virus fallout “has affected all euro area economies in an unprecedented and profound way,” said the ECB in a written statement.

It added that this has resulted in an ongoing need for a high degree of monetary policy accommodation, which in turn requires the undeterred functioning of the bank-based transmission channel of monetary policy.

“The condition of exceptional circumstances warranting the temporary exclusion of certain exposures to central banks from the calculation of banks’ total exposure measures is met for the euro area as a whole,” it said.

A total of 115 banks may benefit from this measure through June 27, 2021.

“Based on end-March 2020 data, this exclusion would raise the aggregate leverage ratio of 5.36% by about 0.3 percentage points,” it added.

It also said the ECB would have to take a new decision should it wish to further extend the exclusion beyond June 2021, when the 3% leverage ratio requirement will become binding.

“This would require an upward recalibration of the 3% leverage ratio requirement,” it concluded.

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