As we said earlier today, following today’s dramatic referendum result the Greeks may have burned all symbolic bridges with the Eurozone. However, there still is one key link: the insolvent Greek banks’ reliance on the ECB’s goodwill via the ELA. While we have explained countless times that even a modest ELA collateral haircut would lead to prompt depositor bail-ins, here is DB’s George Saravelos with a simplified version of the potential worst case for Greece in the coming days:The ECB is scheduled to meet tomorrow morning to decide on ELA policy. An outright suspension would effectively put the banking system into immediate resolution and would be a step closer to Eurozone exit. All outstanding Greek bank ELA liquidity (and hence deposits) would become immediately due and payable to the Bank of Greece. The maintenance of ELA at the existing level is the most likely outcome, at least until the European political reaction has materialized. This will in any case materially increase the pressure on the economy in coming days.
All of which of course, is meant to suggest that there is no formal way to expel Greece from the Euro and only a slow (or not so slow) economic and financial collapse of Greece is what the Troika and ECB have left as a negotiating card.
Greek finance minister says the country has a six-month stock of oil and four months of pharmaceuticals
Greece has stockpiled enough reserves of fuel and pharmaceutical supplies to withstand a long siege, and has set aside emergency funding to cover all the country’s vitally-needed food imports.
Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said the left-Wing Syriza government is still working on the assumption that Europe’s creditor powers will return to the negotiating table if the Greek people don’t agree to their austerity demands in a referendum on Sunday, but it stands ready to fight unless it secures major debt relief.
“Luckily we have six months stocks of oil and four months stocks of pharmaceuticals,” he told The Telegraph.
Over the past several weeks we’ve documented the acute cash crunch that’s crippled the Greek banking sector and ultimately brought the country to its knees.
As the crisis unfolded and Athens’ negotiations with creditors became increasingly contentious, Greek banks began to bleed cash. Eventually it became clear that the banks were relying entirely on the Eurosystem to meet outflows.
Meanwhile, banknotes in circulation surged, as cash usage jumped 44%, prompting Barclays to note that “the amount of banknotes in excess of the quota for Greece represents a liability of the BoG to the Eurosystem.” Essentially, we said, Greece was quietly printing billions of euros.
Now, with the ECB holding steady on the ELA cap and the banking system still hemorrhaging deposits despite the imposition of capital controls, Greek banks are running out of cash — literally. Continue reading
Greece’s banks may need an injection of fresh emergency funds to operate on Monday as people rushed to pull out money after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum that could decide his country’s fate in the euro.
Two senior Greek retail bank executives said as many as 500 of the country’s more than 7000 ATMs had run out of cash as of Saturday morning, and that some lenders may not be able to open on Monday unless there was an emergency liquidity injection from the Bank of Greece. An official with Greece’s Capital Markets Commission, the markets’ regulator, also warned that the Athens Stock Exchange may be unable to operate on Monday without a cash injection into the banking system. A Greek central bank spokesman said it was making efforts to supply money. Continue reading
Greek banks will remain shut for an unspecified time and the country is imposing restrictions on bank withdrawals following a recommendation by the Bank of Greece, the country’s prime minister said Sunday.
Sunday’s move comes after two days of long lines forming at ATMs across the country, following Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ sudden decision to call a referendum on creditor proposals for Greek reforms in return for vital bailout funds. Continue reading
The situation in Greece has escalated meaningfully since last week. After the IMF effectively threw in the towel and sent its negotiating team back to Washington on Thursday, EU and Greek officials agreed to meet in Brussels over the weekend in what was billed as a last ditch effort to end a long-running impasse and salvage some manner of deal in time to allow for the disbursement of at least part of the final tranche of aid ‘due’ to Greece under its second bailout program. Talks collapsed on Sunday however as Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, under pressure from the Left Platform, refused (again) to compromise on pension reform and the VAT, which are “red lines” for both the IMF and for Syriza party hardliners. Continue reading
Deposits hit their lowest level since 2004
Deposit withdrawals from Greek lenders gathered pace in April, as a standoff between the country’s anti-austerity coalition and its creditors has renewed doubts about the country’s future in the euro area.
Deposits by households and businesses fell to to 133.7 billion euros ($146.7 billion) in April from 138.6 billion euros in March, a 3.6 percent monthly drop, and over €100 billion below the September 2009 peak, the Bank of Greece said today. The drop brings total outflows since the start of an election campaign which catapulted anti-bailout Syriza party to power, to 31 billion euros, or 18.8 percent of total deposits. Continue reading
The standoff between a leftwing government and the financial powers of the EU is near to breaking point. What if the worst happens?
This time it’s real: Greece has wriggled out of looming national bankruptcy on numerous occasions over the past five years, but now it has just a few weeks left before it must sign a new debt deal with its eurozone partners and the IMF – or find itself heading for an exit door that leads back to the drachma.
On Friday, after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in the Latvian capital Riga, the signs were ominous. Malta’s finance minister Edward Scicluna, said: “I would describe today’s meeting as a complete breakdown in communication with Greece.” Continue reading
Greece’s day of reckoning may be fast approaching. Athens will have to pony up more than €2 billion in debt payments this Friday to the ECB, the IMF, and (get this) Goldman Sachs, for an interest payment on a derivative and it’s not entirely clear where the money will come from. On Wednesday, the government will vote on a “plan” to boost liquidity which includes tapping public funds and diverting bank bailout money. Here’s Bloomberg:
Greece will begin debating measures to boost liquidity as the cash-starved country braces for more than 2 billion euros ($2.12 billion) in debt payments Friday…
The government’s revenue-boosting plan includes eliminating fines on those who submit overdue taxes by March 27 to encourage payment, helping cover salaries and pensions due at the end of the month. The bill also requires pension funds and public entities to invest reserves held at the Bank of Greece in government securities and repurchase agreements, and transfers 556 million euros from the country’s bank recapitalization fund to the state. A vote on the measures is scheduled for Wednesday… Continue reading
In the midst of the dramatic showdown in Brussels between the new Greek government and its European creditors, many Greek depositors—spooked by the prospect of a Greek default or, worse, an exit from the euro zone and a possible return to the drachma—have been pulling euros out of the nation’s banks in record amounts over the last few days.
The Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank won’t report official cash outflows for January until the end of the month. But sources in the Greek banking sector have told Greek newspapers that as much as 25 billion euros (US $28.4 billion) have left Greek banks since the end of December. According to the same sources, an estimated 900 million euros flowed out of Greek banks on Tuesday alone, the day after the talks broke up in Brussels, sparking fears that measures will be taken to stem the outflow. On Thursday, by mid-afternoon, deposits had shrunk by about 680 million euros (US $773 million).
“If outflows reach 1 billion euros, capital controls might need to be imposed,” said Thanasis Koukakis, a financial editor for Estia a conservative daily, and To Vima, an influential Sunday newspaper.
According to the fine print of a treaty signed on February 21, the European Union now has the power to seize Greece’s gold reserves. The modifications the EU is forcing into the Greek constitution vest Greece’s creditors, mainly European banks and the European Central Bank, with the authority to take gold from the Bank of Greece.
“This is the first time ever that a European and probably an O.E.C.D. state abdicates its rights of immunity over all its assets to its lenders,” said Greek Member of Parliament Louka Katseli, who drew attention to the potential gold seizure.
Full article: Europe to Seize Greece’s Gold (The Trumpet)