The countercyclical capital buffer is intended to protect the banking sector against losses that could be caused by cyclical systemic risks. Countercyclical capital buffer requirement requires banks to add capital at times when credit is growing rapidly so that the buffer can be reduced when the financial cycle turns. Banks can use the additional capital buffers they have built up during the growth phase of the financial cycle to cover losses that may arise during periods of stress and to continue supplying credit to the real economy.

Eesti Pank has been given the responsibility for setting the levels for the countercyclical capital buffer in Estonia. Eesti Pank bases its assessments of the capital buffers and their levels on the principles agreed by the European Union in the Capital Requirements Directive and also considers the specific nature of the Estonian economy and credit cycle.

Eesti Pank assesses the need for the countercyclical buffer and decides on the rate for it once a quarter.

Quarter 4, 2018

Eesti Pank decided on 10 December 2018 to keep the countercyclical capital buffer rate for credit institutions at 0% of the credit risk exposures located in Estonia.

  • The applicable countercyclical capital buffer rate: 0%
  • The standardised credit-to-GDP ratio: 116%; its deviation from the long-term trend: –15 percentage points
  • The buffer guide: 0%
  • Reasoning for the buffer rate: although the yearly growth in non-financial sector debt has accelerated to close to the level of long-term nominal economic growth, this has not led to any substantial increase in indebtedness. This means there is currently no reason to raise the countercyclical capital buffer rate. The growth in total debt has come from borrowing by companies, which has increased in recent quarters. With investment levels low however, no major increase in the rate of growth of corporate debt is expected. The risk remains though that borrowing by the non-financial sector is increasing, raising the risks that come from the credit cycle. For this reason Eesti Pank monitors the growth in debt and indicators that affect it, and can if necessary raise the countercyclical capital buffer rate above 0%.

Indicators and assessment for the countercyclical capital buffer rate



Quarter 4, 2018.pdf
Quarter 3, 2018.pdf
Quarter 2, 2018.pdf
Quarter 1, 2018.pdf
Quarter 4, 2017.pdf
Quarter 3, 2017.pdf
Quarter 2, 2017.pdf
Quarter 1, 2017.pdf
Quarter 4, 2016.pdf
Quarter 3, 2016.pdf
Quarter 2, 2016.pdf
Quarter 1, 2016.pdf
Quarter 4, 2015.pdf


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Decrees of the Governor of Eesti Pank

Countercyclical capital buffer rates in other countries: