Posts Tagged: central banks

 

With capital controls already imposed on Greece, some have wondered if this is as bad as it gets. Unfortunately, as the Cyprus “template” has already shown us, for Greece thenightmare on Eurozone street is just beginning.

As a reminder, over the past few months there have been recurring rumors that as part of its strong-arming tactics the ECB may eventually move to raise the haircuts the Bank of Greece is required to apply to assets pledged by Greek banks as collateral for ELA. The idea is to ensure the haircuts are representative of both the deteriorating condition of Greece’s banking sector and the decreased likelihood that Athens will reach a deal with its creditors.

Flashback to April when, on the heels of a decree by the Greek government that mandated the sweep of “excess” cash balances from local governments to the Bank of Greece’s coffers, Bloomberg reported that the ECB was considering three options for haircuts on ELA collateral posted by Greek banks. “Haircuts could be returned to the level of late last year, before the ECB eased its Greek collateral requirements; set at 75 percent; or set at 90 percent,” Bloomberg wrote, adding that “the latter two options could be applied if Greece is in an ‘orderly default’ under a formal ECB program or a ‘disorderly default.’” 

While it’s too early to say just how “orderly” Greece’s default will ultimately be, default they just did if only to the IMF (for now), in the process ending their eligibility under the bailout program and ending any obligation by the European Central Bank to maintain its ELA or its current haircut on Greek collateral, meaning the ECB will once again reconsider their treatment of assets pledged for ELA and as FT reported earlier todayMario Draghi may look to tighten the screws as early as tomorrow: >> Read More

 

In order to “help” Greece, since 2010, we’ve seen fiscal transfers and foreign intervention into its domestic economic policies. Greece’s debt to GDP ratio is now around 180% to GDP, while a lot of the bailout cash has merely served to bail out banks, as Open Europe alreadywarned in 2012.

A number of policy makers now wants to try something new: a Greek exit from the Eurozone. One of them is Christian von Stetten, a Member of Germany’s Parliament and of Angela Merkel’s CDU. He states what a majority of Germans believe should happen: “The experiment with the Greeks in the eurozone, who are unwilling to implement reforms, has failed and must be ended”. He adds that he’s in favour of providing “many billions” in support so Greece can make the transition onto its own currency.

Hereunder I explore what would happen if Greece were to leave the Eurozone, through a legal fudge.

1.    Default

If Greece wouldn’t have already defaulted before it would introduce a new currency, Grexit would  make it virtually certain that the country would default. It’s not wise to take out a considerable loan in a foreign currency, but that’s what Greece has done since 2001, when it entered the Eurozone. If Greece would introduce a new currency, which then likely would lose value against the euro, it would still need to pay back its debt in euro, which woud appreciate in value as compared to the new Drachma, making this task even harder.

If Greece would only pay back what it owes in a new, devalued currency, this would be considered a default.  As a result, the Greek government would face higher borrowing rates in the future. In theory, the fact that it wouldn’t be burdened by an excessive 180% debt to GDP may serve as a factor countering this, giving that the financial situation of the government would look more rosy. But this ignores the second aspect of Grexit, which I’ll discuss next.

2.    The Greek banking system would be cut off from the ECB’s cheap money canal, with real austerity to follow

A default would only relieve Greece from its excessive external public debt burden, not from the exposure it has to its banking system. Almost half the “capital” in the four largest Greek banks really consists of “deferred tax assets” or discounts on future tax bills. When banks make no profit, they won’t enjoy such discounts. >> Read More

 

Tickety boo, then? The Bank of Greece did not request any increase in the amount of emergency loans it can offer its troubled lenders, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It is the third day in a row that the Greek central bank has not asked for the limit to be raised — a signal that the jog on deposits has slowed.

The emergency loans, which the Greek central bank provides but which the European Central Bank’s governing council must approve, have kept the country’s lenders afloat since February as tensions between Athens and its creditors have risen

The governing council has held daily conference calls on emergency liquidity assistance, or ELA, this week following a spate of withdrawals earlier in the week and last week. The council granted a total of just under EUR3bn in liquidity on Monday and Tuesday.

The Bank of Greece can provide just short of EUR89bn-worth of emergency loans to protect its lenders against withdrawals by savers.

 

In Athens on Friday, the ATM lines began to form in earnest.

(via Corriere)

Although estimates vary, Kathimerini, citing Greek banking officials, puts Friday’s deposit outflow at €1.7 billion. If true, that would mark a serious step up from the estimated €1.2 billion that left the banking system on Thursday and serves to underscore just how critical the ECB’s emergency decision to lift the ELA cap by €1.8 billion truly was. “Banks expressed relief following Frankfurt’s reaction, acknowledging that Friday could have ended very differently without a new cash injection,” the Greek daily said, adding that the ECB’s expectation of “a positive outcome in Monday’s meeting”, suggests ELA could be frozen if the stalemate remains after leaders convene the ad hoc summit. Bloomberg has more on the summit: >> Read More

BOJ announcement: NO CHANGE

19 June 2015 - 8:40 am
 

Announcement from the Bank of Japan monetary policy meeting 

  • Keeps monetary policy steady, pledges to increase monetary base at annual pace of 80 trln yen
  • BOJ’s policy decision was made by 8-1 vote
  • BOJ board member Kiuchi votes against policy decision
  • Kiuchi proposed tapering annual jgb purchases to 45 trln yen, which was turned down by majority vote
  • Kiuchi proposed keeping asset buying, zero rates for as long as needed under flexible price target, which was turned down by 8-1
  • BOJ says will cut number of policy-setting meetings from next year
  • Number of policy-setting meetings each year will be cut to 8 times from current 14
  • BOJ says Japan’s economy continues to recover moderately, keeps assessment unchanged
  • BOJ says to issue outlook report on economy, prices 4 times annually from next year, vs 2 times now
  • Will release document containing summary of opinions presented at each policy meeting about a week after each meeting
  • Will continue to issue Minutes of its policy meetings as it does now

 

Next up from the Bank of Japan, Governor Kuroda press conference at 0630GMT

 

Believe it or not… *GREECE AID TO BE EXTENDED UNTIL YR-END W/O IMF: DIE ZEIT

The market does, for now, and it adds to today’s already impressive massive short squeeze, stop run and Fed “green light” rally, and now a new all time high appears imminent.

Here is Die Zeit reports citing the now traditional anonymous sources, google translated.

 

In Greek debt dispute, a dramatic turn offing. The creditors of Greece want to preserve the threatened bankruptcy of the country at the last minute with an ultimate offer from bankruptcy.

 

According to information from TIME and TIME ONLINE is to be extended until the end of the current rescue program. In this program, ten billion euros are left, which should be actually used for the recapitalization of banks. This money will now be used to settle the Greek debt to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the coming months.

 

The ECB participates in the financing, by will allow the Greek government to spend additional short-dated government bonds for two billion euros. These bonds would buy Greek banks and can deposit as security for fresh money from the ECB. So far, the central bank, however, had always resisted.

>> Read More

 

The National Bank of Greece has released a new report offering a new window into the financial chaos embroiling the country.

The bank said the most serious impact of the current situation has been the loss of confidence which has pushed up bond yields, locked Greek companies out of capital markets and caused deposit outflows to increase.

It said €30bn in deposits was taken out of Greek banks between October 2014 and April 2015, largely in cash form for hoarding or capital flight.

These outflows have squeezed lending capacity, forcing banks to resort to emergency liquidity assistance from the Bank of Greece, it said. It warned that the country’s economic slowdown will accelerate in the second quarter and put the country at renewed risk of recession.

Parts of the report will certainly not make happy reading for Greece’s creditors. The bank called for the lowering of primary surplus targets to give Greece “additional degrees of freedom in the conduct of fiscal policy,” and debt relief to “spare future generations burdens that we have no right to saddle them with.”

It also advocated the “development and implementation of a coherent and targeted social safety net to provide lasting, rather than piecemeal, support to those truly in need.”

Striking a particularly optimistic note, the bank suggested an agreement “would allow Greece to benefit from the favourable global environment and the ECB’s quantitative easing programme”. >> Read More

 

German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Barack Obama at the Alpine meeting

Now we know what Angela Merkel was probably saying to President Barack Obama as she spread her arms wide in that impromptu G7 photo from Bavaria last week.

“Do you have any idea how many German companies are suffering from a stronger euro? This many!”

Currency worries are on the German chancellor’s mind, as she made clear on Friday when she complained about the strength of the euro.

The deflation-racked eurozone economy has benefited from a sustained period of euro weakness. In May 2014 a euro was worth $1.40. In March it dropped to $1.05, and was projected to fall below parity.

But a sluggish first quarter for the US economy has delayed the Federal Reserve’s long-awaited interest rate rise and introduced a corrective tone to trading dollar/euro — the most active currency pair.

This has been welcomed by the many US companies that squealed about dollar strength in their first-quarter earnings — but resented by their European counterparts.

It is notable that the increasingly dire turn of events over Greece has yet to leave a negative impression on the euro, with the currency 4.5 per cent firmer since April.

So the German chancellor’s comments have put currency investors on alert, especially given that they came on the back of a denial by the White House that Mr Obama had been fretting at the G7 about a strong dollar.
>> Read More

 

Mario Draghi has denied that one of the European Central Bank’s top officials disclosed privileged financial information to a select group of hedge fund managers and bankers, saying the facts were already publicly available.

The ECB, which Mr Draghi heads, had come under fire from the EU’s ombudsman over an error at the central bank that led to a delay of more than 12 hours in the publication of remarks made by Benoît Cœuré, a member of the senior ranking executive board, who also sits on the interest rate-setting governing council.

Mr Cœuré said at an event co-organised by a research centre sponsored by hedge fund Brevan Howard that the ECB would front-load some of its government bond-buying in May and June. The event took place on the evening of Monday, May 18, but the remarks did not appear on the ECB’s website until the Tuesday morning.

The publication of the remarks triggered a sharp fall in the euro as well as volatility in the yields of government bonds. >> Read More

 

Greece is facing some tough decisions ahead, with time running dangerously short for its banks and economy, which are on the verge of crumbling. Deposits are shrinking by the day, Moody’s warns that capital controls are edging ever closer and all eyes will be on Wednesday’s crucial meeting of the European Central Bank’s board.

Frankfurt will examine Greek lenders’ liquidity conditions and discuss whether or not to increase the emergency liquidity assistance available to them. Given that the outflow of deposits currently stands at some 250-350 million euros per day, it is certain that banks will require a further rise in the ELA limit, as the safety cushion of available cash is understood to have now fallen below 3 billion euros.

In the last few weeks the ECB has only released enough liquidity to Greek banks to keep them on life support and it is expected to do the same on Wednesday despite pressure by board members who desire a toughening of the stance toward Greece. >> Read More

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Technically Yours,
Team ASR,
Baroda, India.