February 14, 2012 / 6:28 PM / 6 years ago

French banks' central bank liabilities hit

PARIS (Reuters) - French banks' liabilities with the Bank of France hit a record high of 218 billion euros in December, of which 119.6 billion was used for monetary policy, the central bank said on Tuesday.

The Bank of France said its claims on the banking sector, which reflect not only loans for monetary policy purposes but also market operations, rose to 218.2 billion euros in December, from 166.6 billion euros in November.

The sum topped the previous record of 215.3 billion euros registered in December 2008 at the height of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, figures from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.

"The amount of 218 billion euros ... covers not only monetary policy but also all the Bank of France's market operations," a Bank of France spokeswoman said. "The operations of monetary policy ... totaled 119.6 billion euros in refinancing operations."

The European Central Bank injected 489 billion euros of three-year liquidity into the banking system on December 21 in order to fend off a credit crunch and keep loans flowing to the euro zone economy.

According to separate figures from the Bank of France, French banks held some 107 billion euros in long-term refinancing from the Bank of France as of January 17.

Other data on Tuesday showed Spanish lenders borrowed record sums from the ECB in January.

The ECB will give banks a second chance to take extraordinary three-year loans on February 29. A Reuters poll this week showed traders expect another bumper uptake of 400 billion euros.

Government bond yields in southern Europe have fallen sharply since the December offer of cheap liquidity, suggesting that banks have used the money to buy sovereign bonds.

French 10-year government bond yields have eased from slightly more than three percent in December to 2.95 percent on Tuesday even though credit rating agency Standard & Poor's stripped France of its AAA rating in the interval.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Daniel Flynn/Anna Willard)

This story corrects borrowing throughout to liabilities with the Bank of France

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