Kinda strange that markets should get all a-jitter just as the Cyprus crisis is moving towards a resolution.
Simon Derrick of BNY Mellon asked on Friday: “The red pill or the blue pill.” The answer — choose reality — seems pretty obvious, but let’s first run through Derrick’s handy re-cap…
What’s the problem?
That’s the result of Cypriot MPs’ vote on the current version of the bank deposit levy, rejecting it as a condition of the island’s bailout. Note that the ruling party abstained. Still, that is the first no, after all these years and the bailouts, to the Troika. Read more
To be perfectly honest, trying to second-guess Cyprus isn’t gonnna get us anywhere. The situation at pixel time was moving too fast at too great a distance. While we wait for a tiny bit of clarity — whether this evening’s vote on the bailout will go ahead is till unclear, let alone what the outcome will be — a question being asked by Credit Suisse’s William Porter and team seems apropos: What if they’re not “stupid”? Read more
The Cyprus bail-in is qualified good news, in the eyes of Citi’s chief economist Willem Buiter.
Sure, it would be better if insured depositors on the island had been spared and it would have been nice if losses of uninsured depositors had reflected the recapitalisation needs of each individual bank. But first and foremost Buiter sees this as a decisive step in restructuring excessive debt across Europe, which is a necessity if the euro area wants to grow again. Read more
Famous last words and all, but it is hard to see the fear flowing from Cyprus to the average depositor in a Spanish or Italian bank. Not in the short term. As for Lehman II, well, come off it.
After all, that’s probably partly why this inequitable tax on small depositors across Cypriot banks could be put on the Eurogroup negotiating table on Friday. The systemic danger is absent. Read more
A couple of years back, when Carmen Reinhart and Belen Sbrancia updated the concept whereby governments might deal with a problematic mountain of debt by confiscating the savings of their subjects, the discussion was all about the subtle, sleight of hand solutions that might be employed.
Artificially cheap rates of interest might be forced on the embattled sovereign’s debt, local banks might be obliged to buy mis-priced government paper, exchange controls may be erected, and so on. Ordinary people, it seemed, could be financially repressed without realising they were in fact the victims.
There was no discussion back then of outright expropriation or a “tax”, as insured (and uninsured) depositors at Cypriot banks are now being forced to bear. Read more
A “one-off” often isn’t. Calling something after “stability” isn’t very stable. Saying that something is not a precedent usually makes it one.
Presenting the Cyprus bailout’s “upfront one-off stability levy” for depositors in Cypriot banks: Read more
Mario’s presentation to EU leaders from Thursday night. Msg: ‘Mind the gap’…
William Porter at Credit Suisse has been mulling the market’s muted reaction to the Italian elections. Increased stress is no longer finding its way into widening spreads, thanks to the Draghi “put”.
This credit strategist is concerned. A dampened signaling mechanism increases the risk of something going badly wrong — a market crash, even. Read more
The EU’s Council and Parliament agreed on the text for two-pack laws on “enhanced surveillance” of sovereign bailouts on Thursday. It should be on the books soon.
So, if what happened in Greece last year was “exceptional and unique”… Read more
Let’s take a moment for a high level overview of public debt-to-GDP ratios in the eurozone. If that’s not your idea of fun, well, you probably wouldn’t be reading FT Alphaville.
Courtesy of a note by Lasse Holboell W. Nielsen of the Economics Research team at Goldman Sachs (we may have added some kittens)… Read more
So, you’re wondering what kind of crisis Cyprus is. And you’ve watched the success of Nicos Anastasiades in the presidential elections so far. Anastasiades is not the kind of guy to demonise creditors for the sake of it, but he will have tough negotiations ahead of him of he wins. Read more
Go on, pretend you’re on the governing council. Here are the data points you have to try to steer monetary policy with:
(Click to expand) Read more
Shortly after the new year, the Economics Research team over at Goldman Sachs published their outlook for growth in the euro area. Frankly, it doesn’t look all that hopeful, especially in the periphery (surprise!). We hope you weren’t holding out for something better than the growth rates associated with a “muddle through” strategy…
But hey, at least it’s several rungs higher on the ladder of economic happiness than the collapse of the currency union, eh? Read more
You really do wonder how long this trend can be allowed to continue. From Eurostat on Tuesday…
Some Praet-prattle in the WSJ last week has put a bit of a dampener on the idea that the ECB is gonna go for a negative deposit rate in the near term. Read more
We have a banking union, kinda, sorta. After another marathon summit that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning — with four hours apparently devoted to overcoming the differences between Paris and Berlin — a classic euro-fudge left everyone feeling relatively satisfied. From the FT:
While the compromise could permit all sides to declare political victory, it remains unclear whether the details effectively establish a two-tier regime or give the ECB ultimate responsibility for all banks.
Shocking. Read more
Greece paid up to 40 cents in the euro for one of the bond in its buyback. Average price: 33.8 cents in the euro.
Or rather wants to pay. It has “advised… official creditors” that it wants another €1.29bn in EFSF notes to purchase all of the bonds tendered, up from the original €10bn.
The results, in table form via this release (click to enlarge): Read more
It’s the clause that makes German officials’ faces look like they’re struggling to keep their lunches down when someone mentions the prospect of write-downs on Greece’s official loans. The no bailouts clause! Article 125 of the EU Treaty: Read more
While Lagarde and Juncker go at it in the policymaker equivalent of hammer and tongs over timetables, there’s a risk here of people forgetting the numbers involved. Because they don’t add up.
Consider these two tables from David Mackie at JP Morgan. Click to enlarge. Read more
It might look a little underwhelming but that’s US prime money market funds increasing their exposure to eurozone banks for the third month in a row. At the end of September they were 16 per cent more expoosed on a dollar basis compared to the month before, according to Fitch. Read more
It’s Eurozone flash PMI time again. It’s a sad time. From Markit:
The Eurozone sank further into decline at the start of the fourth quarter, with the combined output of the manufacturing and service sectors dropping at the fastest rate since June 2009.
Germany’s IFO survey didn’t help much either.
Or peripheral pain in terms of growth/shrinkage in compensation per employee. It offers a striking illustration of why both Greeks and Germans have reason to feel peeved… Read more
And we have some very small bits of progress. And, naturally, plenty of kinks. Here’s a handy run down from JP Morgan’s Alex White: Read more
Let’s go back to May 2005, to a lecture delivered by Bank of England governor Mervyn King at the Cass Business School… Read more
We just had to highlight this excellent cut-out-and-keep guide, from today’s print FT, to the tussle over banking union, fiscal union, and debt mutualisation:
Clearly, the sense that Greece has stepped away from the brink of getting kicked out of the eurozone is the key driver, coupled with expectations that Brussels will give Athens a loan repayment extension.
Recent comments by eurozone officials quoted by Reuters that Athens could use funds from privatisations of state-owned assets to retire debt also don’t hurt:
“The privatisation process is finally kicking in, the structure is ready,” the official said. “You could expect a few billion euros from privatisation to buy back debt. This could happen relatively quickly.”
The debt swap plan seems to be working, then, but we wonder for how much longer… Read more
Non-german speakers should be able to guess the meaning, especially if we add the words ‘Greece’ and ‘Wolfgang Schaeuble’ by way of context.
Yes, Staatsbankrott = ‘state bankruptcy.’
Not that it’s going to happen in the case of Greece, of course — at least not according to the German finance minister. Read more