France lifts short-selling ban

French regulatory body the AMF has announced the end of the short selling ban regarding French securities of the financial sector.

The ban prohibited taking a net short position or increasing an existing one in certain French equity securities of the financial sector.

Companies affected include April Group, Axa, BNP Paribas, CIC, CNP Assurances, Crédit Agricole, Euler Hermès, Natixis, Scor and Société Générale.

France was one of four countries, including Italy, Spain and Belgium, to temporarily ban short-selling of financial stocks last August. The ban was initially a response to sharp share price falls across Europe and was only meant to last for 15 days.

The AMF extended the ban to protect French banks which saw share prices plummet over the course of the summer.

There is debate about how effective short-selling bans are.

A Data Explorers paper published shortly after France implemented the ban concluded: “in contrast to the regulators’ hopes, the overall evidence indicates that short-selling bans have at best left stock prices unaffected, and at worst may have contributed to their decline.”

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