Europe Goes From Worse To Horrible: Ireland Broker Than Expected, Greece Mulls Splitting Up Into "Good" And "Bad" Greece
Greece hasn't even filed for bankruptcy yet and the "unexpected" consequences are already coming. In comments to The Sunday Times newspaper, Irish Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said the country will likely need another "unexpected" loan from the troica, after he became the first cabinet member to cast doubt in public on Ireland's ability to raise cash. In other words once on the temporary bailout wagon, always on the temporary bailout gain. Reuters reports: "I think it's very unlikely we'll be able to go back next year. I think it might take a bit longer ... 2013 might be possible but who knows?" Varadkar was quoted as saying. "It would mean a second program (of loans from the EU/IMF)," he said. "Either an extension of the existing program or a second program. I think that would generally be most people's view." We wonder how German taxpayers will fell now that they realize they have not one, not two, but three (and soon 5 or more) heroin addicts they need to clean, wash, scrub, and feed on a monthly basis (with their, and US money, but Americans continue to not care that the biggest source of capital for the IMF is them). And speaking of ground zero, Greece is now scrambling after the Independent said that even Sarkozy is now prepared to let the Greek chips falls where they may. Following earlier news that the troika believes that the privatization plan it itself set up is not ambitious enough, Greece which now realizes that Germany, the EU, IMF, and Franch all are prepared to let it go, the country is now coming up with last ditch ideas faster than a speeding bullet: according to Reuters: "A Greek paper reported on Sunday that the government was considering setting up a Spanish-style "bad bank" to clean up its lenders' accounts from "toxic" Greek bonds and make them more attractive to potential buyers." Of course since it is toxic Greek sovereign bonds we are talking about, this implies that the country will somehow be split into a "good" and "bad" version of itself. And who thought financial innovation only comes out of the US.
A 'bad bank', formed to hold risky assets owned by a state guaranteed bank, could be set up to absorb the risky Greek bonds held by state-controlled lenders slated for privatization, such as the Savings Post Bank, To Vima said.
"With problematic, Spanish savings banks (cajas) as a model, the finance ministry is examining proposals to implement the idea in the country," it said, without citing any sources.
Spain's Bankia, created from the merger of seven cajas, said last month it would create such a unit in a bid to attract investors ahead of a stock market listing.
Probability of success: 0.0%
As for Ireland being broker than expected:
Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told broadcaster RTE that fears of a domino effect from Greece's problems were overblown. The possibility of a Greek default has sent bond yields rocketing for indebted Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
"It's not a situation that if Greece defaults then there are immediately implications for Ireland," Gilmore said.
"If Greece defaults there are implications for the wider euro zone and obviously we are part of that."
Ireland, meanwhile, wants to tap investors for funding in 2012 before its 85 billion euros EU-IMF bailout runs out the following year.
But investors believe Ireland will be unable to return to the market and instead will have to tap the European Union's permanent rescue fund in 2013, which might require some restructuring of privately held sovereign debt.
Reflecting this medium-term risk, Ireland's two-year and five-year paper are yielding close to 12 percent, more than its 10-year bonds on the secondary market.
Some 50 billion euros of the existing EU-IMF bailout has been earmarked for sovereign funding requirements with the remainder set aside to prop up the country's ailing banks.
Earlier this month, the IMF said whatever was left over after recapitalizing the banks could be channeled to the sovereign if there was a delay in returning to markets.
At the end of March, the Irish government said the banks needed 24 billion euros to bulletproof their balance sheets but Dublin hopes some five billion euros can be raised from imposing losses on junior bondholders and asset sales, meaning that 19 billion euros of the 35 billion would be tapped.
Gilmor's best defense: "It is wrong to put Ireland in the same basket as Greece."And coming soon to a theater next to, the story of the deputy PM who cried not bankrupt wolf.
The US may be on vacation, but the EUR, at a third of its regular volume and with substantially more volatility, sure won't be come 5 pm EDT.
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