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Eurozone Banks Stop Lending To Each Other

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The eurozone banks have stopped lending to each other in a clear sign that mistrust has entered the system. We already know that Deutsche Bank is 60 times over leveraged with a massive derivative exposure. As Irish economist Karl Whelan put it best “At any point in time, this thing can blow up”.

euroEUROZONE banks are refusing to lend to peers in other countries in the common currency bloc, signalling a worrying fall in confidence that appears to have worsened since the Cyprus bailout earlier this year, data analysed by Reuters shows.
European Central Bank data shows the share of inter-bank funding that crosses borders within the eurozone dropped by one-third, to just 22.5pc in April from 34.5pc at the start of 2008.

The silent retreat to within national borders is most pronounced in the troubled economies of southern Europe, but is even seen in Germany.

Cross-border inter-bank funding of German banks was down by 11.2pc year-on-year in March, equivalent to banks elsewhere in Europe withdrawing €29.5bn from its biggest economy.

Eurozone banks’ stock of lending to their Greek peers was a startling 68pc lower in April than in the same month a year earlier, equivalent to €18bn withdrawn. In Portugal, the decrease was roughly a quarter.

The ECB figures include lending between separate banks in different eurozone countries and within a single banking group to its cross-border units.

CYPRUS

Faltering confidence may be responsible for the reduction in cross-border lending, due in part to a bailout of Cyprus that closed one of its two main banks.

Lobbyists for the banking industry also say a soon-to-be-finalised EU law making it possible to impose losses, or “haircuts”, on bank creditors could hurt confidence.

“At any point in time, this thing can blow up,” said Karl Whelan, an economist at University College Dublin, warning of a potential spillover on to regular savers.

“We are relying on an absence of panic among depositors while we sit around and work out who to haircut. There is a risk of large-scale deposit withdrawals in Spanish banks, in particular. They are the obvious tinder box.”

A spokesman for the European Central Bank countered that the trend was due to a general shift towards secured lending and funding via retail deposits. Banks were deleveraging, which increases the importance of stable retail deposits. (Reuters)

Source: Irish Independent

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3 Eurozone Countries With Debt-to-Income Ratio Over 300%

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Forget the usual Debt-to-GDP ratio that is thrown about when discussing a countries ability to pay. A more realistic ratio is between its debt and its income since debt is paid from a governments income. When you consider this comparison, then 3 countries in the eurozone have  a ratio greater than 300%. Worse still is the US with a debt-to-income of 304% in 2012.

Ireland, Greece and Portugal are labouring under debt-to-income ratios of more than 300%, according to figures that expose the indebtedness of eurozone governments in relation to their government revenues.

The measure, intended to show governments’ abilities to pay debts, shows Ireland’s total debt in 2012 was €192bn (£163.1bn), or 340% of the government’s income. Ireland came a narrow second in the table to fellow bail-out recipient Greece, which has amassed an even worse debt-to-revenue total of 351%. Portugal – which has also received aid from the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European commission and the European Central Bank – came third with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 302%, while Britain was sixth last year on the list of 27 European Union member states, with a debt-to-revenue ratio of 212%, according to calculations based on European commission figures.

 Debt figures are usually calculated as a ratio of a country’s national income and expressed as a proportion of GDP. But national income figures reflect activity across the whole economy, in both the public and private sectors. governments must pay debts from tax receipts and other government income, not the income for the economy as a whole. Some analysts argue a government’s debt-to-revenue ratio provides a clearer picture of its ability to fund annual debt payments once interest rates are taken into account.

The US is in even worse shape than Greece. Its $16tn (£10tn) debt is the equivalent of 105% of GDP, but more than 560% of government revenues. Washington’s debt payments are cheap after a plunge in the interest it pays on government bonds, but with revenues of only 14% of GDP compared with about 40% across much of the EU, its ability to pay is weakened.

Ireland, which is often commended for its recovery from the banking crash, has seen a sharp rise in its debt-to-revenue ratio in the last four years. In 2009 the ratio was 187%. A year later it had jumped to 262% before reaching 340% in 2012. However, the country appears to be in better shape when debt-to-GDP figures are used. It ranks fourth, with a 117.6% ratio, after Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Greece’s performance, by contrast, has improved. It has pushed through a huge clampdown on government spending and has seen its ratio fall from 402% in 2011 to 351% in 2012.

Some of Europe‘s strongest economies have jumped up the league table of indebted EU nations when the debt-to-revenue measure is used. Germany has a ratio of 181%, Malta’s is 178%, while France has a ratio of 174%, all higher than countries that are often cited as troubled and at risk of default such as Slovenia (120%) and Hungary (168%).

The healthiest economies according to the debt-to-revenue measure are the Nordic nations, where Sweden enjoys a 75% ratio, Denmark a 82% ratio and Finland a 99% ratio in 2012.

In the aftermath of the 2009 banking crash, the US investment bank Morgan Stanley argued that debt-to-government-revenue ratios should be included in any discussion of a possible sovereign debt default.

Analyst Arnaud Marès, who has since left the firm, said in August 2010: “Whatever the size of a government’s liabilities, what matters ultimately is how they compare to the resources available to service them. One benefit of sovereignty is that governments can unilaterally increase their income by raising taxes, but they will only ever be able to acquire in this way a fraction of GDP.

“Debt/GDP therefore provides a flattering image of government finances. A better approach is to scale debt against actual government revenues. An even better approach would be to scale debt against the maximum level of revenues that governments can realistically obtain from using their tax-raising power to the full.

This is a function of the people’s tolerance for taxation and government interference. Seen from this angle, the US federal debt no longer compares quite so favourably with that of European governments.”

In 2010, US debt to revenue was 365%.

Source: The Guardian

Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others

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Our EUSSR masters are handsomely paid. No wonder they are out of touch with reality. With wealth confiscation, high prices, manipulated media, government spin, one would be forgiven for thinking you were living in the USSR. 😉 Looks to be where we are headed.

MEP pay

EURO: Cock-Up or Conspiracy?

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Godfrey Bloom MEP discusses how the Euro was doomed to failure to force fiscal integration. Where is the democratic remit for fiscal integration since nobody was asked?

Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider, Professor of Law at Erlangen-Nurnberg University said of the euro:

The euro will inevitably fail. It was always clear that the euro-project would not succeed. Already in 1993 I have processed the Maastricht law suit that was mostly against the introduction of the monetary union. Without the consent of the nations comprising the EU, the euro is being used as a political lever to make the EU a super state that, for example, goes against Russia, and at the same time, serves as a counterbalance against China, the USA and other economic giants. But this lever was always economically doomed to failure.

 

German Finance Minister Who Launched Euro, Calls For Its Breakup

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euroThat the euro has been a disaster is now beyond question.  Even the German Finance Minister, Oskar Lafontaine who was responsible for Germany launching the euro is now calling for its breakup. He believes countries would unite against Germany, forcing change. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes:

Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning that the current course is “leading to disaster”.

“The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt,” he said.

“The Germans have not yet realised that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later,” he said, blaming much of the crisis on Germany’s wage squeeze to gain export share.


Mr Lafontaine said on the parliamentary website of Germany’s Left Party that Chancellor Angela Merkel will “awake from her self-righteous slumber” once the countries in trouble unite to force a change in crisis policy at Germany’s expense.

His prediction appeared confirmed as French finance minister Pierre Moscovici yesterday proclaimed the end of austerity and a triumph of French policy, risking further damage to the tattered relations between Paris and Berlin.

“Austerity is finished. This is a decisive turn in the history of the EU project since the euro,” he told French TV. “We’re seeing the end of austerity dogma. It’s a victory of the French point of view.”

Mr Moscovici’s comments follow a deal with Brussels to give France and Spain two extra years to meet a deficit target of 3pc of GDP. The triumphalist tone may enrage hard-liners in Berlin and confirm fears that concessions will lead to a slippery slope towards fiscal chaos.

German Vice-Chancellor Philipp Rösler lashed out at the European Commission over the weekend, calling it “irresponsible” for undermining the belt-tightening agenda.

The Franco-German alliance that has driven EU politics for half a century is in ruins after France’s Socialist Party hit out at the “selfish intransigence” of Mrs Merkel, accusing her thinking only of the “German savers, her trade balance, and her electoral future”.

It is unclear whether the EU retreat from austerity goes much beyond rhetoric. Mr Moscovici conceded last week that the budget delay merely avoids extra austerity cuts to close the shortfall in tax revenues caused by the recession.

The new policy allows automatic fiscal stabilisers to kick in, but France will stay the course on the original austerity. “It is not about relaxing the effort to cut spending. There will no extra adjustment just to satisfy a number,” he said.

Mr Lafontaine said he backed EMU but no longer believes it is sustainable. “Hopes that the creation of the euro would force rational economic behaviour on all sides were in vain,” he said, adding that the policy of forcing Spain, Portugal, and Greece to carry out internal devaluations was a “catastrophe”.

Mr Lafontaine was labelled “Europe’s Most Dangerous Man” by The Sun after he called for a “united Europe” and the “end of the nation state” in 1998. The euro was launched on January 1 1999, with bank notes following three years later. He later left the Social Democrats to found the Left Party.

Remember Helmut Kohl’s recent comments on introducing the euro in an interview that was conducted by Jens Peter Paul, a German journalist in 2002, but only recently published. Kohl said that he would have lost any popular vote on the euro by an overwhelming majority.

“If a Chancellor is trying to push something through, he must be a man of power. And if he’s smart, he knows when the time is ripe. In one case – the euro – I was like a dictator …

“I knew that I could never win a referendum in Germany,” he said. “We would have lost a referendum on the introduction of the euro. That’s quite clear. I would have lost and by seven to three.”

So there you have it, stuck with a currency that was rammed through against peoples wishes and a completely predictable disaster. Of course a currency union, as the elites point out, cannot work without a fiscal union. That has always been the end game, to hand over all economic power to the EUSSR. In other words a “power grab”. Hegelian dialect, the method to implement something you want by creating a problem which induces a reaction , whereby you already have the solution. After all, the Soviet Union was based on Hegelian dialectic techniques.

Source: The Telegraph

Bundesbank’s Report To German Court Could Torpedo Draghi’s OMT

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Draghi’s great plan to buy bonds of struggling eurozone countries through Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) has taken a massive knock. A report issued by the Bundesbank on friday, to the German court which has yet to give its consent to OMT,  is damning to say the least.  The following line from the report says it best “It is not the duty of the ECB to rescue states in crisis”.

The hardline central bank – known as the temple of monetary orthodoxy – told Germany’s top court that the ECB’s pledge to shore up Italian and Spanish debt entails huge risks and violates fundamental principles. “It is not the duty of the ECB to rescue states in crisis,” it wrote in a 29-page document leaked to Handelsblatt.

  The Bundesbank unleashed a point by point assault on every claim made by ECB chief Mario Draghi to justify emergency rescue policies – or Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) – unveiled last summer to stop Spain’s debt crisis spiralling out of control.

The Draghi plan mobilized the ECB as lender of last resort and led to a spectacular fall in borrowing costs across the EMU periphery, buying nine months of financial calm. The credibility of the pledge rests entirely on German consent. Analysts say the crisis could erupt again at any moment if that is called into question.

“The report borders on economic warfare,” said Harvinder Sian from RBS. “We think there is going to be fear and dread in the market that the court will reject OMT.”

The document said OMT entails the purchase of “bad bonds”, violates ECB independence and entails a high risk of heavy losses in the “not unlikely” event that debtor states are forced out of EMU.

 

It said Greek debacle had shown that conditions cannot be enforced, and, in any case, is “very questionable” whether it is desirable to drive down the borrowing costs of profligate states.

To cap it all, the Bundesbank said the ECB has no mandate to uphold the “current composition of monetary union”. Its task is to uphold price stability and let the chips fall where they may.

While the Bundesbank’s president, Jens Weidmann, has openly criticised the Draghi plan before, the aggressive language in the report shocked economists. The document was submitted in December but was not revealed until Friday.

Germany’s constitutional court will rule on the legality of the bond rescue plan on June 12. It gave a provisional go-ahead last September for other parts of the EMU rescue machinery, but limited Germany’s bail-out share to €190bn (£160bn). Crucially, it warned that the Bundestag may not alienate its tax and spending powers to any supra-national body or be exposed to “unlimited” liabilities.

“If the court rules against OMT, it means the end of the euro. The stakes are so high that I don’t see how they could just pull the trigger,” said Mats Persson from Open Europe.

He said the Draghi plan is a legal hot potato because it is, by definition, unlimited. “The previous rulings by the court have all been predicated on this point.”

German historian Michael Stürmer said the tough report is a bid by the Bundesbank to “reassert its primacy”. “They have told the ECB in no uncertain terms that it is exceeding its mandate. Angela Merkel may be smiling because this helps her set limits in Europe.”

Prof Sturmer said the forthcoming ruling – wider than just the Draghi plan – is “much more serious” than last September’s judgment, limited to an injunction brought by eurosceptic groups. “This is about issues of sovereignty. I don’t think the Court will dare to issue a ruling before the elections in September. They will procrastinate,” he said.

The court has some jurisdiction over ECB policy because it intrudes on the German Grundgesetz, or Basic Law. “Once the ECB starts bailing out states it is moving into dangerous waters,” he said.

The court made a glancing reference to OMT in September, stating that ECB bond purchases “aimed at financing the members budgets is prohibited, as it would circumvent the ban on monetary financing”.

The bond markets ignored the leaked report on Friday, confident that the court will once again find some formula to avert a crisis. It could cite a clause in the Lisbon Treaty stating that the ECB has a duty to “support the general economic policies in the Union”, which would include saving the euro.

“They might refer the case to the European Court but that would leave the Sword of Damocles hanging over the market for another two years,” said David Marsh, author of books on the Bundesbank and EMU. “I think use of OMT is practically impossible until this is resolved.”

Sovereign bond strategist Nicholas Spiro said markets are “sick and tired” of the eurozone debt crisis and have stopped paying attention to the detail. “There is this ravenous hunt for yield and they think there is all this money coming from Japan. But it has long been unclear whether OMT is real or just a myth, and the eurozone’s underlying economic crisis is still getting worse. The window of opportunity created by Draghi has been wasted.

“If the court sides with the Bundesbank in any way the whole house of cards could come crashing down.”

Source: The Telegraph

Solvenian Banks Close To Collapse

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After Cyprus, next up looks to be Slovenia. Over the weekend there has been an official denial that the banks are about to collapse and we know what that means. If it does turn out to be the case, then another  “bail in” would cause panic right across the Euro area.

 

SloveniaTYE2012Are Slovenian depositors about to get Cyprus’d with a wealth/deposit confiscation?  If the intensity of the denials by Slovenian officials are any indication, a bank crisis is imminent for the tiny balkan nation. 
New Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek attempted to calm Slovenians over the weekend stating: We are absolutely no Cyprus. We don’t need help. All we need is time.
If and when the 2nd bail-in episode in the EU is attempted, expect all hell to break loose across the European banking system as depositors in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even France realize that as DISELBOOM openly admitted, Cyprus really was the template for bank failures going forward.

As the AP reports, the official denial is in:


Slovenian officials have a message for the world: Don’t panic — we won’t be the next to fall.
The tiny European Union member is trying to convince its people and foreign investors that it won’t be the next in line for a banking system collapse and a messy international bailout.
“We are absolutely no Cyprus,” says new Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek. “We don’t need help. All we need is time.”

Contrary to PM Bratusek’s claims, a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation claims that the equity in Slovenian state banks has been “virtually wiped out.”:

The Alpine country’s banks have been on a lending spree for years, loaning money to unprofitable state companies or privileged officials who used the cash to buy the firms they ran, using the state assets as collateral.
Many such businesses have now collapsed or have huge debts. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation says that the equity of the state banks has been “virtually wiped out.” As much as 15 percent of all loans are now non-performing, the third-highest ratio in the eurozone, the Paris-based group said.

Which brings us to the important question: Exactly how much gold does Slovenia supposedly own as its reserves that are about to be confiscated by the ECB?  3.20 tons according to Slovenia’s latest report…all likely stored in London and already rehypothecated and leased to bullion banks 1,000 times over.

Que the MSM reports that Slovenia’s 3.2 tons of gold will need to be liquidated.

Source: SilverDoctors

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