January-December 2013


Structural risks

The Assets and Liabilities Management unit in BBVA’s Financial Area is responsible for managing overall liquidity and structural interest-rate and foreign-exchange positions.

Liquidity management helps to finance the recurring growth of the banking business at suitable maturities and costs, using a wide range of instruments that provide access to a large number of alternative sources of finance. A core principle in the BBVA Group’s liquidity management is the financial independence of its subsidiaries abroad. This principle prevents the propagation of a liquidity crisis among the Group’s different areas and guarantees correct transmission of the cost of liquidity to the price formation process.

In the last three months of 2013, the situation in the wholesale financial markets was very similar to the previous quarter. The long-term wholesale financial markets in Europe were notably stable, as a result of the positive trend in sovereign risk premiums, as growth expectations improved in the euro zone. Against this background, BBVA has continued to have constant access to the market, although the liquidity contributed by the euro balance sheet has meant that no issuance was needed on the long-term wholesale markets.

Similarly, short-term finance in Europe has also performed well, in a context marked by a high level of market liquidity. Worth mentioning too is the outstanding performance of BBVA’s retail franchise in Spain, which managed to improve its liquidity gap again, as a result of its customer-centric focus and the Bank’s financial soundness.

The environment outside Europe has also been very positive. BBVA has once again strengthened its liquidity position in all the jurisdictions in which the Group operates. In the franchises where BBVA is present, its capacity to gather deposits has meant the absence of the need to access the international financial markets and also a further improvement in the Group’s financing structure.

To sum up, BBVA’s proactive policy in its liquidity management, the growth in customer funds in all geographical areas, its proven ability to access the market, even in difficult environments, its retail business model, the lower volume of maturities compared with its peers and the relatively small size of its balance sheet, all give it a comparative advantage against its peers. Moreover, the increased proportion of retail deposits continues to strengthen the Group’s liquidity position and to improve its financing structure.

Foreign-exchange risk management of BBVA’s long-term investments, basically stemming from its franchises abroad, aims to preserve the Group’s capital adequacy ratios and ensure the stability of its income statement.

In the last quarter of 2013, BBVA maintained a policy of actively hedging its investments in Mexico, Chile, Peru and the dollar area, at close to 50% in aggregate terms. In addition to this corporate-level hedging, dollar positions are held at a local level by some of the subsidiary banks. The foreign-exchange risk of the earnings expected from abroad for 2013 is also strictly managed. The impact of variations in exchange rates in 2013 has been partly offset by the hedging positions held, which have counteracted a possibly more negative effect on the Group’s income statement and capital ratios. For 2014, the same prudent and proactive policy will be pursued in managing the Group’s foreign-exchange risk.

The unit also actively manages the structural interest-rate exposure on the Group’s balance sheet. This aims to maintain a steady growth in net interest income in the short and medium term, regardless of interest-rate fluctuations.

In 2013, the results of this management have been very satisfactory, with extremely limited risk strategies in Europe, the United States and Mexico. These strategies are managed both with hedging derivatives (caps, floors, swaps and FRAs) and with balance-sheet instruments (mainly government bonds with the highest credit and liquidity ratings).