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Bank of England to study climate-related capital further

Bank of England rises intrest rate to 1.75% as inflation hits 13%

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England will carry out further study as it is not yet clear whether it needs to require banks and insurers to set aside longer-term capital buffers to provide for the consequences of climate change, it said on Monday.

The Bank was setting out its latest thinking on how climate change will impact the financial firms it regulates.

It may, for example, cause more flooding to destroy property financed by banks and insured by insurers.

Existing capital rules capture some of the longer-term fallout, but may be incomplete due to difficulties estimating risks from climate change, the BoE said.

"Existing capability and regime gaps create uncertainty over whether banks and insurers are sufficiently capitalised for future climate-related losses," the BoE said in a statement.

The short-term priority is for firms to get better at plugging the data gaps that prevent reliable estimates of how much capital is needed for a bank to withstand shocks.

The Bank said that existing time horizons over which risks are capitalised, usually covering a few years into the future, are appropriate for now given there is not yet sufficient justification for policy changes.

"The Bank will continue to explore how climate risks can be calibrated within the timelines embedded in existing capital frameworks," it said.

The BoE said it would also look at whether "macroprudential," or sector-wide buffers, could be needed, though this would be challenging.

"A macroprudential response may be justified by the fact that climate change creates foreseeable risks at the system level, but these risks are largely unquantifiable and the Bank is unable to identify which firms they will impact," it said.

"These issues would benefit from further research to inform ongoing policy work."

Global banking regulators are also looking at whether bespoke capital buffers are needed for climate risks.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)