The news from Iceland: þetta er búið (Updated) | FT Alphaville

The news from Iceland: þetta er búið (Updated)

Treat with some scepticism the reassuring sounds from Iceland’s banks, politicians and leading companies. Listen to my man in Reykjavik.

They are fighting powers that they are powerless to fight. It’s like tackling a storm raging in the sea with a teaspoon.

The main supermarket can’t get imported goods because they have no currency. The shops are half empty. One of the store managers has advised people to start hoarding. We’re running out of oil. And winter came last night – about a month early.

His advice to political leaders:

Apply international political pressure to get a few billion euros… dollars or pounds. We’ll take what we can get.

Rumours about the possible formation of an emergency government and the implosion of various companies are swirling around the capital. As is the first snow of the season.

UPDATE: A second, more sanguine, Icelander says stories of food and oil shortages are over-played. The Baugur-owned Bonus supermarket (logo: a jolly pink pig) in Reykjavik is seeing some evidence of panic-buying, but more because consumers are worried about fast-rising prices rather than any fundamental shortages. And Baugur, as we know, is fine.