Just when it appeared the news cycle had moved on from Cyprus, the island nation came splashing back yesterday with news from the European Commission: Nicosia will be made to sell around three quarters, or €400 million (US$5.2 million), of its excess gold reserves. (“Excess?” Who has too much gold?)
What’s the big deal? ask some. When a person or nation is in a financial pinch, assets have to be liquidated.
True. But with Cyprus it’s not that simple. From the outset of this crisis, Cyprus has not been in control of its own destiny. Sure, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was in on most, though apparently not all, of the discussions. Cyprus’s parliament voted on this and that, and ultimately “agreed” to the bailout agreement. But it was all smoke and mirrors. In the end, Cyprus was compelled to agree to a ruinous bailout package created and prescribed by Germany in consort with the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund. Now we learn from the Trioka that as part of the bailout agreement, Cyprus will have to sell the majority of its gold.
The important point to note is that this decision was effectively made by Germany and its ECB/EC/IMF allies, AND NOT CYPRUS. Continue reading
The Cypriot bailout agreed in the earlier hours of Saturday morning could be a game changer for the eurozone. It was a resounding victory for Germany, but the compromise reached could see banks collapse across Southern Europe.
Saturday’s decision allows Germany to have its cake and eat it. The meeting of eurozone finance ministers decided to loan Cyprus €10 billion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will probably also join in. But the bailout comes with a shocking and unprecedented condition.
Cypriots will have money taken directly out of their bank accounts. Monday is a bank holiday in Cyprus. By the time banks open on Tuesday, all depositors will have a chunk taken out of their account. Accounts with less than €100,000 will face a levy of 6.75 percent. Those with more, will be taxed at 9.9 percent. Continue reading