mercoledì 20 marzo 2013

L'insostenibile leva finanziaria delle banche e i guai di Cipro

Martin Wolf sul Financial Times analizza l'origine dei guai di Cipro e ne trae qualche lezione di più ampio respiro:

The calamity that has struck the island threatens wider damage

Ingram Pinn illustration
Acamel, it is said, is a horse designed by a committee. This is unfair to camels, which are well-adapted to their harsh environment. The same, alas, cannot be said of eurozone rescue programmes. The proposed Cyprus intervention, rejected on Tuesday by the Nicosia parliament, will not help the eurozone make a smooth exit from its wave of crises. Indeed, the imbroglio should serve as a lesson in how not to deal with financial and sovereign debt problems. (...)
The case of Cyprus is an extreme example: beyond a small amount of equity stood only some €2.7bn in unsecured bonds (€2.5bn junior and €200m senior) protecting €68bn in deposits. Rightly or not, the other, including interbank loans were deemed untouchable. (See chart.) This structure gives the authorities not just in Cyprus, but virtually everywhere, a terrible dilemma: either rescue all institutions, thereby validating the riskiest business models and, at worst, putting the solvency of governments in danger; or refuse to rescue them and so risk causing a depression at home and panic abroad, particularly within the tightly integrated eurozone.
The eurozone must either make the industry far more robust, by hugely increasing equity capital, or consolidate fiscal capacity and tighten regulation, to ensure adequate eurozone-wide oversight and fiscal support. What is frightening is not that tiny Cyprus got into trouble, but that it is a source of wider danger. Banking is dangerous everywhere. But it still threatens the eurozone’s survival. This has to change – and very soon.

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