With every passing day that Greece maintains its capital controls, the already dire funding situations is getting even worse, as Greek bank NPLs are rising with every day in which there is no normal flow of credit within the economy. This has led to a massive bank funding catch-22: the longer capital controls persist, the less confidence in local banks there is, the longer the bank run (capped by the ECB's weekly ELA allotment), the greater the ultimate bail out cost, and the greater the haircut of not only equity and debt stakeholders but also depositors.
The divergence theme is not longer being eclipsed by the Greek drama and the Chinese stock market slide. See how this week's developments fit into the bigger picture.
The ongoing downshift in property construction will continue to undercut China's demand for commodities, raw materials and machinery, weigh on property as well as mining and industrial investment, and be a drag for overall GDP growth in 2016. The most direct and important channel through which this impact spreads is trade linkages, given China's role as the top exporter and second largest importer in the world.
It was less than three weeks ago that, in the aftermath of the surprising announcement of the Greek referendum and the even more surprising cap on the ECB's now clearly conditional ELA, the world was greeted to massive lines of Greeks waiting at ATMs where they were allowed to withdraw only €60 per day. Following the Greek capitulation, whose sole directive was recovering access to locked up bank funds, hopes were that Greek banks would promptly reopen, and now, according to a Greek senior banker cited by Reuters we know just when that will happen: Monday.
The Euro Summit statement (or Terms of Greece’s Surrender – as it will go down in history) was just annotated by Yanis Varoufakis as it pertains to ordinary Greek citizens. As the former finance minister writes "The original text is untouched with my notes confined to square brackets (and in red). Read and weep…"
The real danger to the euro area probably doesn’t emanate from Greece, but from two of its heavyweights, namely France and Italy. If one thinks things properly through, Greece is really a side-show. The euro zone remains full of accidents waiting to happen and some of them have the potential to become truly gigantic accidents.
Just when you thought it was safe to buy Greek Banks (which it is not!) based on the mainstream media narrative that Greece is now fixed, ekathimerini reports that not only are deposits flying out the door at unprecedented pace (albeit stalled by capital controls) but non-performing loans have increased dramatically in the last few weeks as hundreds of households and enterprises have stopped making their repayments either due to a genuine inability to pay or because of the general uncertainty in the economy that has seen transactions freeze.
"In case no agreement could be reached, Greece should be offered swift negotiations on a time-out from the euro area with possible debt restructuring."
While there is "hope" in the unforgettable words of France's Moscovici, it is once again up to Greece to convince Europe it really wants to stay in the Union. According to Reuters, the Eurogroup is about to release a statement, whose draft it has seen, which will demand much more from the tiny country caught in a state of permanent depression. To wit: Greece will not be able to start negotiations on a third bailout until it makes changes to its sales tax and pension systems and strengthens the independence of its statistics office, a draft statement of euro zone finance ministers said on Sunday.
"There is an estimated need of about 10 to 14 billion euros in new capital. Given the magnitude of the shock we have been through, regulators will take stock of the situation and the impact on non-performing loans."
Today, Greeks sent a resounding message to Brussels, Frankfurt, and Berlin that they are not willing to acquiesce to further humiliation at the hands of creditors. Now, a stunned sell-side — which had, over the past three months, very carefully tweaked their base cases to reflect the growing risk of Grexit — is scrambling to explain to nervous clients what happens next.
Earlier this week the embattled Greeks delivered still more body blows to the rotten regime of Keynesian central banking and the crony capitalist bailout state to which it is conjoined. By defaulting on its IMF loan, walking away from the troika bailout program and taking control of its insolvent domestic banking system, Alexis Tsipras and his band of political outlaws have shattered a giant illusion.
"If no agreement is reached on Monday, then the ECB will have little reason to show further flexibility and it will likely freeze its ELA limit on Greek banks. As a result capital controls will become almost inevitable after Monday."
"I ... welcome the government's continued efforts to reach a collaborative agreement with all creditors," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. "This is important since this means that the Fund will be able to continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner."
Over the past several months we’ve seen at least three examples of Chinese defaults including Baoding Tianwei Group, a subsidiary of state-owned parent China South Industries. This suggests Beijing will begin to take a more hands-off approach when it comes to propping up borrowers. The latest example is a profitable duck processing company, which FT says has defaulted on its debts after banks refused to roll over its loans.