Cyprus Deposit Levy Vote Delayed, Will Go "Down To The Wire" As Up To 70% Deposit Tax Contemplated For SomeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2013 08:58 -0400
While GETCO's algos were poised to set off a buying tsunami yesterday the millisecond a flashing red headline hit Bloomberg with even the hint or suggestion that Cyprus is fixed, we said to sit back and relax because Cyprus "will get no resolution today, or tomorrow, and may at best be resolved on Sunday night following yet another coordinated global bailout, (although our money is on a last, last minute resolution some time on Monday when Cyprus is closed but the European markets are widely open)." As it turns out, we were right, following reports by major newswires that the vote on the deposit levy will only take place (if at all) on Sunday night, after the Eurozone finance ministers' meeting on Sunday. The reason for the delay? Deciding how to best bring the news to Russian, and other wealthy depositors, that not only will they not have access to their funds for a long, long time, the ultimate haircut on what they thought was safe, easily accessible cash as recently as a week ago, may be a stunning 70%!
Moments after the last Hopium and Optimism driven surge in the EURUSD, we asked a simple question:
So what happens when Cyprus is not fixed "within hours"
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 22, 2013
...we just got our answer, courtesy of the perfectly expected ECB rejection, which this time waited a whopping 40 minutes before showing Cyprus who's boss
EURUSD (and implicitly the algo-connected S&P 500 futures market) is surging on the basis of optimism (for the new 'deposit tax plan') from the head of the party that abstained from the previous 'deposit haircut vote':
*CYPRUS'S NEOFYTOU SAYS SITUATION IS DIFFICULT; EXPRESSES CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM
It seems 'cautious optimism' is contagious but the irony of this politician's two-faced hypocrisy driving any market reaction is mind-numbing. EUR has broken above 1.30, Italian and Spanish bonds are rallying, and Italian stocks are now green for the week.
What if the businesses were fully aware that interest rates were being manipulated? What if they knew exactly how and why this was happening? Would they still misallocate their investments?
As Europe wakes up to what could be a tumultuous day, Handelsblatt reports that the ECB has decided that, due to the "great danger" of a bank run once they reopen next week, it will enforce capital controls independently of Cypriot (elected) officials. With perhaps a nod towards negotiating some ELA funding for Cypriot banks next week (if the government accepts this ECB-enforced 'program'), the rather stunning restrictions on people's private property include:
- Freezing Savings - no time-frame (it's not your money anymore)
- Make bank transfers dependent on Central Bank approval (a money tzar?)
- Lower ATM withdrawal limits (spend it how we say?)
The capital controls will be designed "so that citizens have access to sufficient cash to go about their lives." So, there it is, a European Union imposed decision on just how much money each Cypriot can spend per day. Wasn't it just last week, we were told Europe is fixed?
Those wondering why the overnight ramp has not yet materialized despite promises from BOJ's new governor Kuroda to openly-endedly monetize Fukushima radiation if necessary in order to reflate the economy, will have to look at Europe where a raft of horrifying PMIs confirms what most have known: the relapse into a multi-dip European recession is progressing nicely, and the hoped for rebound in the core economies of France and Germany is once again on track to not happen, but at least there will be Cyprus to blame it all on this time. The specific reason this time was French and German Flash Manufacturing and Services PMI for March, all of which came far below expectations: German Mfg PMIs printed at a contracting 48.9 vs Exp. 50.5 (back from 50.3), while Services came at 51.6, down from 54.6 on expectations of a rise to 55.0, while French Mfg PMI stayed stubbornly flat at 43.9, despite hopes of a "bounce" to 44.3, even as the Service number ticked even lower from 43.7 to 41.9, below expectations of 44.3 and the lowest since February 2009. End result: Eurozone March Services PMI down from 47.9 to 46.5, vs Exp. of 48.2, while Manufacturing slid from 47.9 to 46.6 on hopes and prayers of a bounce to 48.2. Which then takes us back to Cyprus, where things are not fixed yet, where the parliament is not expected to vote for a revised Bailout proposal yet, and where we got a cornucopia of brilliant one liners, such as these from the new Eurogroup head, who is filling in the shoes of his predecessor Juncker in style, and proving quite well that "things are serious."
If you don’t collapse the system, the system will collapse you.
As is painfully clear to even the most naive observer, the biggest threat for Europe from this point on, now that Cyprus is officially "unfixed" is what happens when... if the Cyprus banks reopen - will the deluge of bank withdrawals drain 10% of the savings as the country's central banker warned earlier today, 20%, 50% or all of it? It is certain that any and all foreign "oligarch" accounts will be promptly pulled never to be heard of again, and after being treated like third grade European citizens, we doubt the locals will care much for having their cash in a banking system that Europe has shown is equal to all the other "united" banking systems, which however also happen to be just that much more equal. And once foreign TV crews show lines of people scrambling to pull money in Cyprus to the local viewers in Greece, Italy and Spain, will those countries also get comparable ideas? That is precisely the Pandora's box that Europe has now opened, and which it is scrambling to close. How? With the dreaded "contingency plans", among which are such last ditch efforts as capital controls, including "imposing limits on daily withdrawals from bank accounts; capping the amount of money that can be electronically taken out of the country and making these transactions slower to clear; and introducing border checks to cap the amount of cash leaving in the country," most recently utilized in the banana-est of republics such as Argentina.
When you are leveraged at $26 to 1, you only need the assets you’ve invested in to fall 4% before you are totally bankrupt. This 4% drop in asset prices has already happened across Europe, the only reason that we haven’t seen a systemic collapse there is because Mario Draghi, the head of the ECB, said he’d buy unlimited amounts of EU bonds.
The Troika has run roughshod over the rule of law. By calling for a universal bail-in of depositors (the securest part of bank capital ladder) before extracting money from shareholders, junior and subordinated bondholders, the EU bureaucrats and IMF have unilaterally ripped up the legal framework for property rights. This is a truly worrying and frightening progression – actually regression – in economic freedom. Unfortunately bank depositors (savers) have long been under the misguided impression that they are potentially immune from a bank collapse, with the State providing a safety net in the form of deposit guarantees up to a declared sum. I would argue that individuals, partly due to government propaganda in the good times, have long since forgotten – or indeed have never understood – that once you deposit your money into a bank, you give up your right to ownership, ie, It’s a LOAN! An asset which is lent out multiple times as is the agreed practice under fractional reserve banking, clearly has a risk of no return, albeit a seemingly a low risk when confidence and trust is high in the economic system... The bail-in announcement for the Cypriot banks late Friday night was one of those events when we all look back and think that was the beginning of the end of the real global financial crisis. This should leave any individual in Europe under no illusion that the political elite will enact whatever it deems fit to protect their positions in the name of the euro and their own positions of power.
Why does this matter? Because it indicates what we’ve been saying since June 2012, the entire European “fix” was one enormous lie. NOTHING was fixed in Europe at all. ON top of this, your SAVINGS in Europe can be seized at any time if things get bad.
Short answer: we don't know.
We do, however, know something we have been pointing out since early 2012 - when it comes to the funding strcuture of European banks, there is a dramatic difference between the US and Europe. In the US, as we showed most recently two months ago, the Big Three depositor banks (JPM, Wells and Bank of America, excluding the still pseudo-nationalized Citi), have a record $858 billion in excess deposits over loans. So what about Europe? Here things get bad. Very bad. So bad in fact that we covered it all just one short year ago. What is the reason for this? Well, as readers can surmise based on what just happened in Europe, it once again has to do with deposits, and specifically the loan-to-deposit ratios of European banks. Because if the US has an excess of deposits over loans, Europe is and has always suffered from the inverse: a massive excess of loans (impaired assets) compared to the most critical of bank liabilities - deposits... One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that in a world in which European loans are massively mismarked relative to fair value, and where bad and non-performing loans are an exponentially rising component of all "asset" exposure, it will be the liabilities that are ultimately impaired. Liabilities such as deposits.
A dispassionate discussion of developments in Cyprus and a few broader implications.
Europe Does It Again: Cyprus Depositor Haircut "Bailout" Turns Into Saver "Panic", Frozen Assets, Bank Runs, Broken ATMsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2013 10:33 -0400
Late last night, after markets closed for the weekend, following an extended discussion the European finance ministers announced their "bailout" solution for Russian oligarch depositor-haven Cyprus: a €13 billion bailout (Europe's fifth) with a huge twist: the implementation of what has been the biggest taboo in European bailouts to date - the impairment of depositors, and a fresh, full blown escalation in the status quo's war against savers everywhere. Specifically, Cyprus will impose a levy of 6.75% on deposits of less than €100,000 - the ceiling for European Union account insurance, which is now effectively gone following this case study - and 9.9% above that. The measures will raise €5.8 billion, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who leads the group of euro-area ministers, said. But it 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.
The concept of the Great Rotation continues to garner significant investor attention. From a flow perspective, UBS' analysis across various asset classes infers there is scant evidence of a large rotation out of corporate credit or fixed income in general. They make a few simple observations. First, that the thesis of a great rotation out of Treasury securities into corporate equities is a fallacy - the Federal Reserve and global central banks are the dominant holders of Treasuries; if they decide to sell, the money will not directly flow into equities. Second, the thesis of a great rotation out of corporate credit into equities is complicated by three main cross-currents which suggests, correctly, to them that the Great Rotation debate is much ado about nothing.