The Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) has welcomed the move by UK authorities to help restore confidence in banks. They also support the move by the US Federal Reserve in announcing a new commercial paper (CP) lending facility to jump-start lending for companies. The US CP market is important for the largest European companies and the association hopes that, with other measures, this is successful. European companies also use the European CP markets, where disruption has paralleled the US market in reducing the size and period for which CP can be issued; the consequence has been increasing demands on the banks. More confidence in the US market and general confidence building by the authorities in Europe should help restore the market over here. As the UK’s move works its way through and encourages an effective inter-bank market, we hope that banks themselves will make more effective again the wholesale markets on which investment-grade large and medium sized companies depend. While the Bank of England no longer has the old ‘industrial finance’ brief, we expect that, as banking markets recover, it will give some attention to the broader wholesale money markets as part of its wider financial stability brief. The ACT’s chief executive, Richard Raeburn, said: “The actions overnight in the UK and the US represent sound and stabilising steps to restore the financial markets on which companies depend for their funding; we hope that market participants will now work together to help restore systemic confidence. The initiatives by the authorities should play an important part in shortening the period of necessary adjustment in the wider economy.”
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