The Eurocalypse Has Arrived, Where Do You Put Your Capital?

Reggie Middleton's picture

Today's top MSM headline - European Commission Recommends Euro Banking Union:

The euro zone should move toward a banking union and consider recapitalizing its banks using its permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, the European Commission said on Wednesday, in remarks that briefly boosted stocksand the euro

The European Union's executive arm said in documents laying out recommendations for theeuro [EUR=X  1.2422 (-0.51%)]area that the crisis had slowed the financial integration process and "ambitious steps to accelerate and deepen financial integration may be needed."

"More specifically, a closer integration among the euro area countries in supervisory structures and practices, in cross-border crisis management and burden sharing, towards a 'banking union' would be an important complement to the current structure of [the Economic and Monetary Union]," the European Commission said in the documents.

"In the same vein, to sever the link between banks and the sovereigns, direct recapitalization by the ESM might be envisaged," it added.

Hmmmm... BoomBustBloggers crossed this intellectual Rubicon over 2 years ago. I was explicit in explaining that the bulk of the sovereign nations' debt woes stem from thier feeble and failed attempts to prop up their banking systems. I posted a refresher to this thesis a few weeks ago in So, Can Europe Nationalize All Of Its Troubled Banks? 

In a discussion that I had over at ZeroHedge there came the topic of whether bank runs are possible in Europe. Well, I believe we've already had some devastating one's (ex. Northern Rock) but if one takes the continent only or the EZ in particular, we still have a significant systemic threat. The gist behind the argument is that if the true economic capital is weakened to the point that depositors/creditors/counterparties make a run for it, the sovereign nation in which it is domiciled will simply nationalize it. Hmmm... Let's take a look at how that might work out, as excerpted from Overbanked, Underfunded, and Overly Optimistic: The New Face of Sovereign Europe March 2010

 Literally years later, the sell side is now chiming in: Banks No Longer 'Float Above Their Countries': Deutsche

Banks' countries of origin have become important again. 

No shit, Sherlock!!!

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 Most of the developed EU nations don't stand frozen raindrop's chance in hell of bailing out banking systems that are literally multiples of the GDP of the domiciles themselves. 

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The problems is getting worse over time, not better, as risk, leverage and unrecognized NPAs continue to pack the banking system. 

I warned heavily last year about the connection between overleveraged, garbage laden banks and over-indebteded sovereigns...

Just as in the case of my call on the fall of Bear Stearns (again, I believe I was the only to make such a call so far in advance), this situation consists of something you NEVER hear in the media or investment circles. This is not merely a liquidity crisis of even a solvency crisis. For the first time in recent history, it is BOTH!!! As a matter of fact, it's not just both. There is a another problem that came into play, and it is the direct result of tomfoolery at the hands of the sovereings themselves. The games that they played to assist the banks in hiding thier problems has materially weakened the entire financial system by sowing rampant mistrust. Plain and simple, government endorsed lying has made the entire system afraid to do business with itself. Let's walk through this step by step.

The Liquidity Issue 

From The BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" series...  "As The French Bank Runs...."... Saturday, 23 July 2011 The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!


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The solvency issues

From the research note to subscribersFile Icon The Inevitability of Another Bank Crisis followed by the free blog posts on the same, see Is Another Banking Crisis Inevitable?

Impact of bank’s banking books on haircuts

EU banking book sovereign exposures are about five times larger than trading book. The table below gives sovereign exposure of major European countries for both trading and banking book. The EU trading book has €335bn of exposure while banking book has €1.7t exposure towards sovereign defaults. EU stress test estimated total write-down’s of €26bn as it only considered banks trading portfolio. This equated to implied haircut of 7.9% on trading portfolio with losses equating to 2.4% of Tier 1 capital. However, if the same haircuts (7.9% weighted average haircut) are applied to banking book then the loss would amount to €153bn equating to 13.8% of Tier 1 capital.

And last but not least...

The credibility crisis, whose sole responsibility lies dead center on the sovereigns themselves...

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You see, as you bend the rules to reporting, you resuce the banks for a day, but doom them for a decade (or in the case of Japan, 2.4 decades!!!). Now, the counterparties simply CANNOT trust each other!

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... and why should the counterparties trust each other when all are privvy to the games that they are playing on each other! 

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Before government officials start crying innocent, remember the tricks that you youreselves have played to bring use where we are now. In case your memory is failing, simply review Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! 

Now, I ask all... How in the world will grouping all of these increasingly unmanageable individual soveriegn problems cure the overall problem. By gathering all of the roaches into a big pile, you don't get less roaches - you just get a big pile of roaches! The bank failures will increase in both speed and intensity as time progresses and the drag will simply engulf the EU as a whole versus engulfing the states individually. At least individually, the better run states will recieve less pressure, and suffer through crossborder and financial contagion and counterparty risk rather than through this pooled method wherein direct pipes of contagion are being engineered to transmit the problems deep within each country. Does it sound like a good idea to you? I have my own ideas, of course....

How To Prevent Bailouts, Bank Runs & Other Fun Things To Do With Your Hard Earned Dollars

Subscribers, see 

I really want my subscribers to focus on this European bank, for it is primed to implode between its heavy derivative exposure  AND its sovereing exposure - Haircuts, Derivative Risks and Valuation
 
Later posts today will review my recent opinions on this bank in a little more datail as well as the related insurer at risk. Tomorrow we revisit what I believe to be a near slam dunk CRE short. I post graphs and profit potential as well.