ECB Hands Italy An Ultimatum: ‘Obey EU Budget Rules Or We Won’t Save You’

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With the Washington Post stepping up to put a floor under US stocks Thursday afternoon by reporting that President Trump would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit (while the headline soothed the market, it doesn’t change the fact that, as with everything involving the Trump administration, this too remains subject to change), investors have apparently overlooked the latest ominous headlines out of Italy. To wit, Reuters reported that the ECB won’t come to Italy’s rescue if its government or banks run out of cash unless the Italian government first secures a bailout from the European Union. Of course, this would almost certainly require that the populist coalition end its ongoing game of fiscal chicken with Brussels and abandon its  dreams of lowering the retirement age and extending a basic income to the Italian people – policies that would effectively secure a political future for M5S and the League. 

In effect, the ECB’s latest trial balloon is tantamount to blackmail: Either the Italians agree to fall back in line and obey European budgetary guidelines, or the central bank will sit back and watch as bond yields surge, providing the ratings agencies even more ammunition to cut Italian debt to junk – effectively guaranteeing a Greece-style banking crisis as the liquidity taps are turned off. Continue reading

Greek Capital Controls To Remain For Months As Germany Pushes For Bail-In Of Large Greek Depositors

Now Berlin’s Troika is gunning for the cash.

 

Two weeks ago we explained why Greek banks, which Greece no longer has any direct control over having handed over the keys to their operations to the ECB as part of Bailout #3’s terms, are a “strong sell” at any price: due to the collapse of the local economy as a result of the velocity of money plunging to zero thanks to capital controls which just had their 1 month anniversary, bank Non-Performing Loans, already at €100 billion (out of a total of €210 billion in loans), are rising at a pace as high as €1 billion per day (this was confirmed when the IMF boosted Greece’s liquidity needs by €25 billion in just two weeks), are rising at a pace unseen at any time in modern history.

Which means that any substantial attempt to bailout Greek banks would require a massive, new capital injection to restore confidence; however as we reported, a recapitalization of the Greek banks will hit at least shareholders and certain bondholders under a new set of European regulations—the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive—enacted at the beginning of the year. And since Greek banks are woefully undercapitalized and there is already a danger of depositor bail-ins, all securities that are below the depositor claim in the cap structure will have to be impaired, as in wiped out.  Continue reading

Greece Contemplates Nuclear Options: May Print Euros, Launch Parallel Currency, Nationalize Banks

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.

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Greek turmoil set to shake global markets out of complacency as sell-off looms

A Greek exit from the euro is now a “base case” scenario for economists and is set to trigger a flight to safety for nervy investors

Financial markets were braced for their worst period of turmoil since the height of the eurozone crisis three years ago, after Greeks chose to overwhelmingly reject the bail-out terms of their creditors, throwing the country on a collision course with the eurozone.

The prolonged period of uncertainty is expected to roil European equities and see investors flock to safe haven assets such as US and German government bonds.

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ECB Gives Greek Banks Barely Enough Cash To Cover One Day’s Bank Run

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Yesterday evening, after what had been a dramatic surge in the Greek bank run which has resulted in over €3 billion in cash withdrawn through Thursday night, the Greek central bank requested an emergency cash dispensation from the ECB under the country’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance program, just one day after the ECB granted the latest €1.1 billion expansion in the ELA. Rarlier today, in an unscheduled session, the ECB did as requested, however it granted Greece far less than the amount it sought, and according to MarketNews reports, the ECB gave Greece just €1.8 billion in addition funds. Continue reading

ECB raises emergency funding cap for Greek banks

Saved… for now.

 

The European Central Bank (ECB) has raised the funding cap on its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) for Greece’s banks, according to a CNBC source.

The decision, made in a conference call Friday and first reported by Reuters, followed a meeting of the euro zone’s finance ministers on Thursday, where the ability of the country’s lenders to open up for business next week was questioned.

It comes as a specter of a run on Greek banks is looming, after yet another round of failed rescue-for-reforms talks.

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Will The ECB Finally Use The Greek “Nuclear Option” This Wednesdsay?

This was not supposed to happen: by now the Greek insolvency “can” should have been kicked, and the Greek government, realizing the money has run out for both the government and the banking system, should have folded to Troika demands, and allow the Troika money to return repaying obligations to the Troika in exchange for more spending cuts.

Instead, the “game theoretical” approach of bluffing until the end, and beyond, has put both countries in a corner from which neither knows how to escape, and with the “final deal deadline” passing this weekend we now have quotes such as this from the EU:

  • OVERTVELDT: GIVING IN TO GREECE WOULD UNDERMINE EU CREDIBILITY

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Greek Bank Deposits Bleeding Worsens in April

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 Greek Bank Runs Have Begun: Two Greek Banks Request Emergency Liquidity Assistance

The first time the phrase Emergency Liquidity Assistance, or ELA, was used in the context of Greece was in August 2011, when Greece was imploding, when its banking sector was on (and past) the verge of collapse, and just before the ECB had to unleash a global coordinated bailout with other central banks including global central bank liquidity swap and unleash the LTRO to preserve the Eurozone.

As a reminder, this is what happened back then: “In a move described as the “last stand for Greek banks”, the embattled country’s central bank activated Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) for the first time on Wednesday night.”

“Although it was done discreetly, news that Athens had opened the fund filtered out and was one of the factors that rattled markets across Europe. At one point Germany’s Dax was down 4pc before it recovered. The ELA was designed under European rules to allow national central banks to provide liquidity for their own lenders when they run out of collateral of a quality that can be used to trade with the ECB. It is an obscure tool that is supposed to be temporary and one of the last resorts for indebted banks.” Continue reading