Despite – or perhaps due to – Italy’s failed attempt to slide a state-funded €40 billion recapitalization attempt past Angela Merkel while blaming it on Brexit, and coupled with a bailout proposal to provide €150 billion in liquidity to insolvent banks, overnight we got yet another confirmation that the biggest risk factor for Europe is not Brexit but Italy, where yet another failed bank was bailed out. As the FT reports overnight, Atlante, Italy’s privately backed €5bn bank bailout fund which was created in April to stem the threat of contagion from struggling lenders and whose assets turned out to be woefully inadequate, took control of Veneto Banca after a €1bn capital increase demanded by EU bank regulators attracted zero interest.
This is good news for Veneto Banco and bad news for all other insolvent banks, because the fund, known as Atlas in English, was intended to hold up the sky for Italian banks. Instead it is now practically out of funds, having depleted more than half of its war chest after taking control of Popolare di Vicenza, another regional bank, last month.
Just what the market had hoped would not happen…
- *ECB SAYS IT LIFTS WAIVER ON GREEK GOVERNMENT DEBT AS COLLATERAL
- *ECB SAYS IT CAN’T ASSUME SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION OF GREECE REVIEW
What this means simply is that since Greek banks are now unable to pledge Greek bonds as collateral and fund themselves, and liquidity is about to evaporate, the ECB has effectively just given a green light for Greek bank runs, as suddenly it has removed, both mathematically but worse politically, a key support pillar from underneath the already bailed out Greek banking system, (or merely a negotiating move to let Greece see just what kind of chaos this will create ahead of the big D-Day on Feb 25th when ELA could be withdrawn). Continue reading