Cyprus is 'Systemically Important'
Mario Draghi has woken up from his 'all is good' slumber and admonished the political wing of the eurocracy regarding the mooted bailout of Cyprus. In particular, Draghi has corrected German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble regarding the view, recently expressed by the latter, that “Cyprus is not systemically important”. It is, says Draghi, and he's probably right about that. A lot of moolah is lying around in its banks after all. In other words, although Cyprus is ostensibly small, it too is “too big to fail”. Color us unsurprised.
Der Spiegel reports:
“The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, warned German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week not to dismiss Cyprus as not being 'systemically relevant' and said a failure to bail out the island nation could threaten the wider euro zone.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi confronted German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week to criticize his stance on Cyprus and said failure to bail out the island nation could threaten the euro zone.
At a meeting of EU finance ministers last week, Draghi contradicted Schäuble's view that Cyprus was not "systemically relevant," a term that implied it wouldn't endanger the euro zone if it went bankrupt.
Draghi told Schäuble that he often heard that argument from lawyers, even though the question of whether Cyprus was systemically relevant or not was not one that lawyers could answer. That, said Draghi, was a matter for economists. Schäuble is a trained lawyer.”
Note the little barb there – “you're a lawyer, what do you know?”. Of course one might well ask what do mainstream economists know? According to them, the world will stop turning if not all and sundry are bailed out, a view that is contradicted by historical experience as well as sound theory.
'Judicial Arguments' and Wobbly Banks
Der Spiegel continues:
Draghi was backed by the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn as well as the head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling.
The three pointed out to Schäuble that the two biggest banks in Cyprus had a large network of branches in Greece. If any doubt were cast on the safety of deposits held with those banks, the uncertainty of Greek savers could quickly spread to Greek banks, which would represent a major setback for Greece.
In addition, they argued, a Cypriot bankruptcy would undo the positive news that had recently helped to calm the euro crisis.
In recent weeks, all indicators have pointed to an improvement, they said. The risk premiums on Spanish and Italian sovereign bonds had fallen significantly and the liabilities of national central banks had retreated from the dangerous levels they had reached. This recovery could be reversed if Cyprus was refused aid. It would also make it harder for Ireland and Portugal to return to financial markets.
They also came up with a judicial argument for helping Cyprus: the country had contributed to the bailout fund, hence it was entitled to assistance from it.
Aid talks for Cyprus, which has applied for a financial rescue that could reach more than €17 billion ($22.8 billion), have run into difficulties because of concern in Germany and other European nations that the island has become a haven for dirty money from Russia. Cyprus denies allegations that it is a hub for money laundering.”
This is too funny – now these economists are making “judicial arguments” as well, right after telling Schäuble the lawyer that he's not qualified to dabble in economics! You couldn't make this up.
What they say about the (just recapitalized for the second time) Greek banking system is quite interesting though. It highlights the fact that the fractionally reserved banking system is at all times only a tiny step away from insolvency, no matter how much money is thrown at it. Perhaps what is needed is a major rethinking of the fractionally reserved system and the central bank that backstops it? Just a thought.
Speaking of the “risk premiums on Spanish and Italian bonds”, Spain's bond yields actually look just about ready to rise again:
10 year government bond yield of Spain – chart via Bloomberg – , weekly candlesticks. Fixing to go higher? Note the interesting MACD versus price configuration/divergence – right at major lateral support to boot.
It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
Most read in the last 20 days:
- A Striking Chart
The Economy and the Stock Market As long time readers know, we are always paying close attention to the manufacturing sector, which is far more important to the US economy than is generally believed. In terms of gross output it is the largest sector of the economy, and it should of course be obvious that saving, investment and production are the only ways to create wealth. What's left of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery. Photo credit: Paul Raphaelson Contrary...
- Trump and Putin Narrowly Escape Assassination Attempt
The Gloves are Coming Off First a little bit of recent history. Readers are probably aware that some questions about the occasionally malfunctioning Deep State android... no, wait, we'll start again. Questions have recently been raised about the health of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by various “alt-right” tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, such as this one. The monsters are normally hiding under Hillary's bed, but lately they have come out into the open...
- US Economy - Curious Pattern in ISM Readings
Head Fake Theory Confirmed? This is a brief update on our last overview of economic data. Although we briefly discussed employment as well, the overview was as usual mainly focused on manufacturing, which is the largest sector of the economy by gross output. Pepsi factory in Baltimore, 1956 Photo via pinterest.com Readers may recall that we have pointed out for some time that there was quite a large gap between the data reported in regional Fed manufacturing...
- A Convocation of Interventionists, Part 2
Pleas for More Deficit Spending We continue with our Jackson Hole post mortem – including remarks that were made by economists and monetary bureaucrats shortly before and after the pow-wow and seem to be connected to the discussions there. Assembled central planners (we're not sure if this picture was taken at the conference, but most of the people in it were there). Photo credit: Getty Images We should preface the following with a Mises quote, as the...
- Why the Fed Destroyed the Market Economy
What Have You Done for Me Lately? Swing voters are a fickle bunch. One election they vote Democrat. The next they vote Republican. For they have no particular ideology or political philosophy to base their judgment upon. The primacy of the wallet. They don’t give a rip about questions of small government or big government. Nor do they have any druthers about the welfare or warfare state. In effect, they really don’t care. What’s important to the...
- How is Real Wealth Created?
An Abrupt Drop Let’s turn back to our regular beat: the U.S. economy and its capital markets. We’ve been warning that the Fed would never make any substantial increase to interest rates. Not willingly, at least. Groping in the dark, Yellen-style Each time Fed chief Janet Yellen opens her mouth, out comes a hint that more rate hikes might be coming. But each time, it turns out that the economy is not as robust as she had believed... and that a rate hike isn’t...
- Janet Yellen’s Shame
Playing Politics In honest capitalism, you do what you can to get other people to voluntarily give you money. This usually involves providing goods or services they think are worth the price. You may get a little wild and crazy from time to time, but you are always called to order by your customers. In the market economy, consumers reign supreme. There is no such thing as a “lost” vote in the marketplace; every penny spent affects production. Mises noted: “Consumers...
- Get Ready for a New Crisis – in Corporate Debt
Imposter Dollar OUZILLY, France – We’re going back to basics here at the Diary. We’re getting everyone on the same page... learning together... connecting the dots... trying to figure out what is going on. The new three dollar bill issued by the Apprehensive States of America. We made a breakthrough when we identified the source of so many of today’s bizarre and grotesque trends. It’s the money – the new post-1971 dollar. This new dollar is green. You...
- A Convocation of Interventionists – Part 1
Modern Economics - It's All About Central Planning We are hereby delivering a somewhat belated comment on the meeting of monetary central planners and their courtier economists at Jackson Hole. Luckily timing is not really an issue in this context. Central bank headquarters: the Fed's Eccles building, the ECB's hideously expensive new tower in Frankfurt, and the BOJ's Tokyo HQ (judging from the people in the foreground, it may be a source of noxious fumes). When...
- Hanjin Marooning in San Pedro Bay
Global Trade Reversal Expansions and contractions in global trade have played out over long secular trends for thousands of years. The Silk Road, for example, was established by the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC, and allowed for continuous trade between East and West for nearly 1,600 years. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was also a conduit for culture and knowledge among its network of civilizations. A map of the main ancient Silk Road - click to...
- The Economy, the Stock Market and the Fed
John Hussman on Recent Developments We always look forward to John Hussman's weekly missive on the markets. Some people say that he is a “permabear”, but we don't think that is a fair characterization. He is rightly wary of the stock market's historically extremely high valuation and the loose monetary policy driving the surge in asset prices. The S&P 500 Index and the NYSE advance-decline line. Most market internals weakened steadily until early February 2016, but...
- John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory Eighty Years Later
The “Scientific” Fig Leaf for Statism and Interventionism To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. The mere fact that the book is lauded by TIME magazine on the cover should give everyone...