The banking sector now has better capital buffers than it did last year, as lenders gear up for tougher stress testing

 
Hayley Kirton
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The Bank of England also revealed the scenarios for the next round of stress tests yesterday (Source: Getty)

The UK's banks now have slightly larger capital buffers to play with than they did this time last year, safeguarding the financial sector should the economy turn south.

Figures from the Bank of England, which were released this morning, reveal the common equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital ratio for the UK banking sector increased to 15.1 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2016, up 0.3 percentage points on the third quarter and up 1.1 percentage points on the year before.

The announcement comes just one day after the Bank of England revealed its scenarios for the 2017 round of stress testing, thought by some commentators to be one of the toughest rounds to date.

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The next set of stress tests will aim to assess how prepared the country's lenders are for Brexit. The central bank will also be examining how the lenders will cope if global growth tanks, interest rates stay lower for much longer and smaller banks eat the bigger players' market share.

Royal Bank of Scotland failed the last stress test last November, with Barclays and Standard Chartered both failing on one of the measures.

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