Bundesbank Burns Through €20 Billion to Cover Losses!


Bundesbank, The German central bank, has made headlines recently for its significant financial losses, leading to a €20 billion cash burn to stay afloat. This substantial sum raises questions about the bank’s stability and its potential impact on the German and wider European economies.

The Losses:

The Bundesbank’s losses stem primarily from two factors: negative interest rates and its involvement in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing (QE) program. Negative interest rates, implemented by the ECB to boost lending and inflation, force the Bundesbank to pay commercial banks for holding their excess reserves. This significantly reduces the bank’s income, creating a financial burden.

Furthermore, the Bundesbank’s participation in the ECB’s QE program involved purchasing large amounts of government bonds from other Eurozone countries. While these purchases aimed to stimulate the Eurozone economy, they also exposed the Bundesbank to potential losses if the value of the bonds falls. This is precisely what happened when interest rates started rising globally, leading to a decline in bond prices and significant losses for the Bundesbank.

The €20 Billion Cash Burn:

To offset these losses and maintain its capital buffer, the Bundesbank tapped into its reserves, utilizing €20 billion in the past year. This move, while ensuring the bank’s financial stability in the short term, raises concerns about the sustainability of its financial position, especially if losses continue to mount.

What are the Potential Implications?

The Bundesbank’s financial woes have several potential ramifications:

  • Reduced Profitability: Lower profits could limit the bank’s ability to distribute dividends to the German government, potentially impacting public finances.
  • Impact on Eurozone Stability: The Bundesbank plays a crucial role in the Eurozone’s financial stability. If its losses continue, it could erode confidence in the Eurozone’s monetary system, potentially impacting the Euro’s value and financial stability across the region.
  • Future Policy Decisions: The Bundesbank’s financial situation could influence its future policy decisions. The bank might be hesitant to support future QE programs or negative interest rates, fearing further losses. This could limit the ECB’s ability to respond to future economic downturns.

Read: Euro Crushed After ECB Doves Take Flight: Can the Pound Soar Higher?

So what next for Bundesbank?

The Bundesbank’s financial situation requires close monitoring. While the €20 billion cash burn has stabilized the bank for now, the underlying causes of the losses – negative interest rates and exposure to QE-purchased bonds – remain. The future trajectory of interest rates and the Eurozone’s economic performance will significantly impact the bank’s financial health.

These factors could offer some solace:

  • Strong Capital Buffer: The Bundesbank boasts a robust capital buffer, providing a cushion against future losses.
  • Profitable Core Business: The bank’s core business operations, such as cash management and oversight of the financial system, remain profitable, offering a source of income.
  • Potential Policy Changes: The ECB is considering changes to its monetary policy, including potentially phasing out negative interest rates. This could improve the Bundesbank’s financial outlook.


The Bundesbank’s financial losses and subsequent cash burn raise concerns but do not necessarily signal an imminent crisis. The bank’s strong capital buffer and potential policy changes offer some reassurance. However, continued monitoring and potential adjustments to the bank’s strategies are crucial to ensure its long-term financial stability and its ability to fulfill its vital role in the Eurozone’s economic and financial well-being.