The Corner

Lehman in the Med? (2)

 Zero Hedge, admittedly not always the calmest of commentators, writes:

[I]t doesn’t stop there: a partial “bail-in” of junior bondholders is also possible, as for the first time ever the entire liability structure of a European bank – even if it is a Cypriot bank – is open season for impairments. The logical question: why here, and why now? And what happens when the Cypriot bank run that has taken the country by storm this morning spreads everywhere else, now that the scab over Europe’s biggest festering wound is torn throughout the periphery as all the other PIIGS realize they too are expendable on the altar of mollifying voters and investors in the other countries that make up Europe’s disunion.

Quite what wholesale lenders to Eurozone banks will make of all this is an interesting question…

But back to Zero Hedge:

Europe’s response: this is a unique situation. Just like the Greek bailout was unique; just like the Irish and Portuguese bailouts were unique; just like the bailout of Spanish banks was unique.

“As it is a contribution to the financial stability of Cyprus, it seems just to ask a contribution of all deposit holders,” Dijsselbloem [the new head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers] said, noting the country’s financial industry was five times the size of its economy. The plan includes “unique measures” that address the “exceptional nature” of Cyprus and show “inflexible commitment to financial stability and the integrity of the euro area.”

Zero Hedge notes these comments by Dijesselbloem’s unlovable predecessor:

Skeptics including Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker had said that imposing investor losses in Cyprus risked reigniting the financial crisis that has so far pushed five of the euro zone’s 17 members to seek aid. Last year, the euro area took what officials called a unique step to ask Greek bondholders to absorb losses.

Ah yes, “unique”.

End this farce. 


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