The Financial Times writes "Negative Rates Pose Corporate Conundrum." It says, "Life for companies in Europe has been turned upside down. Like individuals, corporate treasurers are accustomed to paying when they wish to borrow and being rewarded for building up cash piles. No longer. Companies, particularly large ones, are now able to borrow at historically low interest rates. But saving money has never yielded so little. Some banks have even imposed negative interest rates on deposits -- charging corporate clients for holding their cash. On Monday, HSBC became the latest to introduce a charge on cash held in a basket of European currencies. "Treasurers must now be questioning whether it makes sense to have substantial cash balances when you are not remunerated for it," says Myriam Durand, Emea managing director for corporate finance at Moody's, the credit rating agency. In Europe, in particular, low or negative interest rates bring a further worrying downside. Companies have been sitting on their cash for some years now, when investment is badly needed to drive lacklustre growth. However, even with rates at their current levels, companies' bosses -- and their investors -- find themselves in a Catch 22 situation: they hold high levels of cash on their balance sheets, on which they are earning almost no return, but remain puzzled about how to put it to better use. Among European companies, this conundrum is widespread -- unlike in the US, where large cash piles tend to be concentrated in a few companies and sectors. Cash piles at European non-financial companies stood at more than $1tn a year ago -- more than 40 per cent higher than in 2008. Analysts believe there has been little decrease since. "The desire to hold cash despite ever-lower returns reflects the high level of uncertainty that has been palpable since the financial crisis, particularly in Europe," Goldman Sachs points out." Also, the New York Fed updated its Reverse Repo Counterparties List, adding "Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle merged into Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, effective May 31."

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