Germany pushes on with Basel rules


Germany's cabinet has agreed to push ahead quickly with the introduction of stricter capital requirements for banks under international Basel III rules, despite the misgivings of German banks about how they will be implemented across Europe.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said in a statement that the rules were aimed at "toughening banks' capital requirements and providing German bank supervisors with tougher options for control and sanctions".

"It is our firm conviction that the implementation of Basel III is a central part of bank regulation that we cannot subject to delay," said Mr Schauble, adding that the German cabinet's action was "a sign of how seriously we take this issue".

"I hope our partners in Brussels share this sense of urgency," he said.

The G20 leading economies agreed at s summit in late 2010 to introduce the Basel III rules from January next year, while EU leaders and the European Parliament are due in October to seek consensus on their implementation in the region.

Germany's financial sector is pressing for the introduction of the rules to be pushed back until 2014 because of the failure of EU authorities and member states so far to reach consensus on how to implement them.

The country's biggest banks have warned that introducing the new requirements too quickly risks disruptions to the economy, pointing to examples like Commerzbank's decision in June to withdraw from shipping finance because of the new rules.

Deutsche Bank co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen said in June the impact on liquidity of Basel III would have "indirect consequences" and in areas such shipping and aircraft finance, Europe could lose business to Asia.