News Russia May Reconsider Cyprus Bailout Role, Bailout Vote Delay Crushes Overnight Ramp Attempt

Tyler Durden's picture

As expected, it is all about Cyprus this morning, and overnight, and just as naturally it wouldn't be a centrally-planned market without the generic BTFD overnight ramp attempt, which we got from the EURUSD, as the pair rose from sub 1.29 to 1.2973, which also pushed the US futures up to nearly fill half the overnight gap lower. Citi explained this, observing the "EUR/USD squeezed higher on reports Cyprus bailout terms may be eased, CitiFX Wire says", but it did add that "selling was likely to materialize; flow has 60% bias in favor of downside, Seeing heavy net selling, mainly from leveraged funds." Naturally, the market does what it does best - clutches at straws, although not even this centrally-planned market could ignore news that today's Cyprus parliament vote has been cancelled, that banks will likely remain closed tomorrow, and that a vote may not happen until Friday, which likely means the bank holiday is about to stretch to one week, and possibly much longer as Cyprus is terrified to open its banks to the fury of scrambling "bank-runners."

As for Cyprus, the absolute confusion deepens following comments from the ECB's Asmussen that the ECB did not insit on a Cyprus bank levy structure. This is confusing, and comes on the heels of last night's comments from German FinMin Schauble in which he blamed the ECB, Commission and Cypriot government for the wide bail in. So if the ECB, Germany, and the Cypriot government all did not want a deposit confiscation, who did? Russia?

And speaking of the Russian wildcard, things are starting to get interesting: first the country reported, via RIA, that it sees no impact on capital movement from Cyprus tax, which is interesting considering all bank transfers in and out of the island have been frozen.

But then things started to get interesting following another RIA report citing finance minister Siluanov, that Russia may reconsider its role in the Cyprus rescue following the bank tax. Siluanov added that bank tax breaks the plan for joint steps on Cyprus and that the decision was made without Russia (which is expected since Russia is not part of the Eurozone).

Russia concluded the overnight headlines after deputy economy minister Sergei Belyakov told reporters in Moscow that the Cyprus decision casts doubts on the EU banking system. Here is why all of Europe can kiss Russian oligarch savings goodbye: risks to safety of retail and corporate bank deposits “cast doubt on the principles of the banking system not just in Cyprus, but in the countries of the EU,” Belaykov says. Cyprus deposit losses won’t influence Russia’s attempts at "de-offshoreization" of economy, Belyakov added.

Forget trade and currency wars - is this the weekend we just launched the second part of the Cold war? Because if memory servers, the last time Russia and Germany were openly at each other's throats, things in Europe did not end too well...

Finally, for those who missed the news frenzy of the weekend, here is DB's Jim Reid summarizing it:

I had a strange dream that night that a European country had seized a portion of insured depositors money to fund a bail-out while senior bondholders of the banks and the Sovereign survived unscathed. I think it took until yesterday and the effects of the medicines to wear off to realise that this was what actually happened. Although EU leaders have made it clear that the shock resolution in Cyprus is a one-off it has surely changed the landscape in Europe and now provides a template that will be at least on the table, even as a bargaining chip only, in the years ahead.

The real damage here is going back on the Government's pledge to honour all deposits up to Euro 100k - one that now exists EU wide. It’s clear that the Cypriot Government was given the alternative of a chaotic default where arguably much more would have been lost for many. But could the authorities not have taxed the uninsured depositors more than the 9.9% and kept those with under 100k whole as opposed to a 6.75% levy? Overnight reports have suggested that this is one area that might be up for internal negotiations within Cyprus before the banks reopen tomorrow after today's holiday. Indeed, The FT is reporting that deposits over 100k could see an increased rate of 12.5% while smaller deposits would be levied at 3.5% in an effort by President Anastasiades to scrape together a parliamentary majority to approve the bailout. Martin Schulz, head of the European parliament, while agreeing that savers should bear some of the bailout costs, called for changes to exempt those with savings under €25,000 (The Guardian).

If the smaller depositors are hit at all, one can't help thinking that this move has crossed a sacred line and that any depositors in any bank domiciled in a country reliant on the largesse of the EU should in theory now think very carefully about alternative places to store money whatever the size of their holdings. For now one would suspect that markets are calm enough that the contagion will be limited but such a move could easily amplify any future crisis in Europe as the spectre of deposit losses will now be on the table whatever politicians say in advance or whatever insurance scheme is on the table. So this is perhaps more of a slow burning issue than the start of the immediate resumption of stress. It is however worrying that little consistency has been used relative to previous bail-outs and that smaller seemingly insured savers have been brought into the solution.

The reality though is this move is the latest (but by no means the last) manifestation of financial repression -albeit one which is a bit less subtle than say inflation or devaluation but one that has a similar impact. Indeed those of us with money in a UK bank account have seen the international value of these deposits fall notably in 2013 so far and a fair bit more since 2008. In international terms, as it stands, the smaller Cypriot deposits will have lost similar amounts to UK depositors in 2013 but clearly in a manner that will provoke much more anger. It perhaps shows how the options become more limited when you don't have your own currency to use as part of the solution.

For the record, further measures of the deal include a bail-in of junior bondholders and increases of taxes on capital income. Corporate tax rates will also be lifted to 12.5% from 10%.

According to the Eurogroup, these measures, combined with the deposit levies will reduce the size of the Cyprus bailout from around EUR 17bn to EUR 10bn and lead to an improvement in the Cypriot public debt trajectory with debt/GDP falling to 100% by 2020. So what's next? Cypriot finance minister Michalis Sarris has said that his government had already moved to ensure deposit holders could not make large withdrawals electronically before Tuesday’s open. ECB's Jörg Asmussen also said a portion of deposits equivalent to the levies would likely be frozen immediately. In terms of the legislative process, Cyprus' parliament will not be convened until 4pm Cypriot (2pm London) time today with a vote on the levy expected before tomorrow. The current ruling party's lack of majority may just complicate things here. Indeed the parliament is composed of 56 MPs and legislation requires a simple majority of 29 votes. DB’s George Saravelos noted that the opposition already stating that they will vote against so the ratification hinges on all of the ruling party's (DISI, 20 MPs) and the smaller coalition partner's DIKO (9 MPs) votes. That said, George’s baseline scenario is that the levy will pass, not least because there is now little alternative left but he also highlighted that the approval would be a close call and the risk is that decisions are delayed. A delay or failure to approve the bailout may put Cyprus banks' liquidity profile at risk. For instance, the UK Telegraph noted that Cyprus Popular Bank could have its emergency liquidity assistance funding removed by the ECB by 21 March. Interestingly, approval of the levy would also have consequences on the approximately EU2bn of British deposits held in Cyprus but George Osborne on Sunday said that British troops and Government staff's savings that are threatened by the bailout will be compensated with the details to be worked out over the next few days.

Taking a look at the market reaction thus far, the EUR took a dive against the Dollar overnight to 1.2885 (vs 1.3076 close on Friday) but is off the intra-session lows for now. Asian equities are lower across the board with losses seen on the Hang Seng (-2.1%) and ASX200 (-2.05%). Most other Asian indices are down between half to one percent but are off the early lows.

S&P 500 Futures are down -1.7% overnight. Credit spreads gapped wider with the Australia and Asia iTraxx indices 4-5bp wider as we type. European Financials Snr and Sub indices are 24bp and 36bp off their recent wides but we can perhaps expect a weak day ahead given the focus on Cyprus. Reflecting the greater demand for so-called safe haven assets, gold is up 0.3% and 10yr UST yields have rallied 9bp overnight.

Aside from the events in Cyprus, the other news of note over the weekend was the election of presidents (speakers) in the Italian parliament’s two houses. As DB’s Marco Stringa writes, both speakers are newcomers in the Italian parliament. In the senate, Pietro Grasso, an antimafia prosecutor, won in a run-off vote. Grasso obtained 13 votes more than the number of centre-left senators with the additional support more likely coming from a minority of the Five Star Movement senators than Monti’s centre. However, this should not be read as an opening of the 5SM to an alliance with the centre-left. The great majority of the 54 5SM Senators followed the party’s line even in the run-off. Indeed, Marco continues to sees little hope for cooperation among the parties to form a government.

Turning to the day ahead, the immediate focus will be on the parliamentary session in Cyprus beginning this afternoon. There is little data scheduled for today with the US NAHB housing index the main release of note.

Beyond today, the FOMC’s policy announcement and Bernanke's press conference on Thursday will take centre-stage. Our US economists do not expect any imminent changes in Fed policy. Thursday’s flash European PMIs will be the focus data-wise following the mixed readings last month. In China, the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI (also on Thursday) will be watched for any bounce back after February’s fall - which many blamed the timing of new year for. A busy week for the UK is scheduled with the government's 2013 budget (Wednesday) as well as jobless/inflation/retail/government borrowing reports and BoE minutes through the week. In the US we get the latest round of housing data with housing starts and building permits on Tuesday; and existing home sales/house prices on Thursday. Outside of housing, Thursday's Markit PMI and Philly Fed surveys are worth watching.

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GetZeeGold's picture



No can that be?

disabledvet's picture

It's an off ramp not an on ramp this time. Kinda like "wax on/wax off" only with Ben Bernanke as Mr Miagi.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Not quite true that involving 'the little guy' is something entirely new. If I recall correctly, Ireland grabbed some significant percentage (25%?) of everyone's pension (Social Security) dough and handed it over.

Pladizow's picture

Sinclair suggests on KWN that Cyprus bank deposits are 80% Putin "black KGB money" and that Putin will retaliate, possibly in the gold market.

mendigo's picture

They are trying to rationalize the theft by implying that they are only stealing from criminals and besides they are foreigners its like found money really.

They are going to back this train up I suspect, but the damage maybe is irreversible. I like the part about this situation is unique...but then every situation is unique. And the rest are to take the attitude that its ok as long as they only do it to those guys.

Bureaucratics at thier finest.

Ghordius's picture

did not expect a "ramp". This is a very good article after the many incomplete ones in the "heat of the weekend". Very good until that part of "Russia and Germany at each other's throaths", that is

also to mention: UK's chancellor has immediately chipped in that if this levy is raised the UK will make the British savers on Cyprus whole - de facto a way to help the bailout without looking too bad at it

AynRandFan's picture

So the Chancellor has authority to create international depositor insurance for citizens of the UK? Who needs Parliament?

Ghordius's picture

parliament can stop him, if it wishes so - if you remember Icesave... it did not, then

GMadScientist's picture

How many members of Parliament would vote against it?

They have slushfunds from that lovely Cyprus "holiday" too.

Ricky Bobby's picture

Why do you waste your time here Ghordius. There is no line your masters can cross that you will disapprove of.  I think if the Euro technocrats made a policy that there should be work camps and slave labor in the periphery you would find a way to defend it. Fuck the NWO and their useful idiots!

Ghordius's picture

do you have masters that you assume I have some? I am writing what I think - do you? or do you prefer to go with "the flow"? and collect "likes" to feed your ego as if we were in FaceBook?

NWO? from a sociological point of view you just have to look around in the comments: this fervent wish of many to have the same laws and legal procedures in the whole world. this is what makes NWO, destroys any respect for foreign jurisdictions and laws, and cancels national borders to the point where drones come back home

either is Cyprus a sovereign nation, and so free to make a law through their (btw elected parliament) or not

either national sovereignty is respected or we have only one empire in the world - that easy. choose wisely

Ricky Bobby's picture

Ghordius - you ask if I have masters. The answer is, I am an American peasant, so yes I have masters. The difference between me and you is I do not serve them willingly and I do not justify their crimes.

Ghordius's picture

then stop serving them. I won't abide any master, ever. I take note of how laws are in the countries I go and make some leeway for them. I support governments that make the rule of law their principles and I even obey some of those laws, for example when I, as citizen, was drafted into the army of one of them. but I will never serve "masters", and nobody can make me a peasant, because I value my freedom anyway more than my life

but this is a personal point of view, and I understand that not everyone wants or can do so

Ghordius's picture

since you got me writing: imo the President and the National Bank Governor of Cyprus had the right to go to Brussels and ask for help in bailing out the Cypriot banking system. the finance ministers had a right to do a proposal - even if you deem it indecent. the prez and the cb chief had a duty to go back to Nicosia and make this proposal to the Cypriot parliament. and this very parliament has the right and duty to make a law accordingly... or not

meanwhile, for savers it's either a 100% loss or a 10% (or less) loss - and they probably get bank stocks in exchange - no, I can't say I'm happy about the situation, but I can't fault the legality of it, also according to the laws of nations

meanwhile the EU parliament had a right to make an EU law that says that every country has to do some saver's protection law - but Cyprus is simply too small (as Iceland) to have something like that in the light of the proportion between country and banking system - as we are witnessing (and so this will lead to further talks about a banking union, etc.)

oh, and you have the right to moan about (I presume legally, I don't know where you are at the moment). nevertheless: if you expect every country to have the laws and procedures you want, then you are acting in a NWO-imperialist way without even knowing and understanding it

Anasteus's picture

I can fault legality of the proposal. Few weeks ago when the president entered the office he assured those who voted for him as well as all others in Cyprus there was no way of touching the deposits in any way. He has actually broken the promise given to the public thus making himself outright liar. If he had announced the measure as an option before voting and got elected anyway this might be considered the legal basis for the decision. Legality is a wider term than just following the written law. Tricking and betraying voters is a deep impact to the core of democratic principles based on trust and representative role of voters' will.

Ghordius's picture

I'm not aware of any laws in any country that forces candidates or elected people to their given word. legality is not the same as decency

Anasteus's picture

That's why we are in this mess.

Ricky Bobby's picture

Legality? Ghordius what is this legality you speak of, my rights are not defined by courts and corrupt officials of the state. My rights are inalienable.

Ghordius's picture

this is a very laudable point of view, embedded in the history of Great Britain and America, going back to the Magna Charta and Common Law

outside of the Anglo-American world other principles apply. that's a fact. you might find (as many do) that this is barbaric, but here we are

we continental europeans for example have other principles which we find better suited to us, I should say, and we have different expectations vs government, different and older views on citizenship, different constitutions and different legal principles. oh, and we have more revolutions and we are more often on the street (with better results, imho)

Broomer's picture

" UK will make the British savers on Cyprus whole"


"George Osborne on Sunday said that British troops and Government staff's savings that are threatened by the bailout will be compensated with the details to be worked out over the next few days."

You were not really thinking UK would protect the savings of people who tried to escape from UK taxes, right?

Mitzibitzi's picture

You're right.

The only action for the 'common man' the UK bastards-in-chief will take is to levy 'unearned income' capital gains tax on any repatriated Cyprus-held accounts.

Ghordius's picture

oh, my. you must be right. my fault, I was thinking that this is 100% of the British population on Cyprus and I forgot British tax-dodgers and good, blameless ex-patriates. Which leads me to ask why they are not going to include the ex-pats

achmachat's picture

phew! all is good again.

good to know that we can all trust the banks 100% again after that little misunderstanding.

magpie's picture

No, the Eurozone says trusting them to 93.25 % is perfectly acceptable

spankfish's picture

I thought ramps were only on highways as a way to get on and off?  Oh wait... this is the higway to hell!  Never mind.



Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Have the hardware stores in Greece and Italy run out of plywood, yet? 

stant's picture

cant unring that bell. plans are being reconsidered

GetZeeGold's picture



Coming up with a definitive plan would be almost suicidal at this juncture.

fonzannoon's picture

Wow how screwed this whole things is. The bank run is assured at this point, Every extra minute they keep those banks closed they only make it worse, and they may close them all week? Wow.

Maria will have to spend all day practicing her best "what an amazing comeback as we are now well off the lows and looking at a possible close in positive territory!"

That will be followed by an argument between two dipshits debating consumer distcretionary stocks vs value plays.

BeaverFever's picture

Forget the popcorn, I'm loading up on Cheetos!

Sudden Debt's picture

opening markets are down, but it seems not to be all that bad.

the markets aren't that concerned so it seems. and maybe with good reason because those with the money are long gone already.

HD's picture

Market can't correct - seems it's either to the moon or structural collapse.

fonzannoon's picture

HD CNBS has made it clear this am, with this unprecedented move, no one should be messing around with anything other than the US equity markets, which have the full support of quantitative easing.

I thought green by close, now i'm thinking green by open. 

HD's picture

Well if CNBC says so I'm in.  What's Cramer pumping?

GrinandBearit's picture

Even by the open, green by the close.

Gotta love those 3am futures market pumps... there are like clockwork.

Business as usual and frustrating as hell.

AynRandFan's picture

NPR is reporting that Cyprus banks are closed today "for a holiday". Propaganda is truly an art form.


Whadda ya know?  Today IS a holiday in Cyprus (wikipedia):

Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food,[2] a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: ??????) and the widespread custom of flying kites.

j0nx's picture

A week with closed banks? What are stupid people who didn't have a stash of money at home supposed to do for all that time? How will they eat? How will bills get paid? How will commerce get done for the next week? Who the fuck is running this show? Barney Fife?

Freewheelin Franklin's picture

They can put it on their credit cards and rack up more debt. They are going to raise everyone's credit limit. 


Geeze. Don't you know how this game works, yet? 

HD's picture

I'm waiting to see runs in the PIIG banks - I'd sure as hell get my money out...


Tao 4 the Show's picture

Lunch menu for Cypress parliament today:

Unravioli with a large bottle of whine
Panicakes for dessert (though the chefs could find no platitudinous syrup that hides the bitter taste)

Everybodys All American's picture

Share and bond holders of these banks get by unscathed and depositors get a haircut. The socialist's running the EU, IMF, and ECB are truly crazy.

Inthemix96's picture

Anyone else felling a little lost over the Cypriot governments decisions?

Outright theft is all this, these bastards should be hanging from trees and lamposts.

falak pema's picture

well, the reality is : "we bankers and govt shills hang either way, as we are broke and we have to poke your asses to make two ends meet! SO we'll never get relected and our banks will lose its clients!"

"You as bank depositer either get poked now or you end up like us hanging from the bankruptcy tree..."

What would you do, as a law abiding Cypriot, take a 7% hair cut now or go belly up 100%???

fonzannoon's picture

hey inthemix, I must not be the sharpest knife in the draw because i messed around with "my account" for a while and can't figure out how to work the contact info. I have to head off to work but will look at it again later. 

Inthemix96's picture

No probs fonz, I am thick as fuck with computers.  Took me a while to even get the chat function working?

Shocking state of affairs in Cyprus mate, absolutely disgusting the filth would stoop this low, outright theft is all this is friend.

Everybodys All American's picture

Maybe this turbulence gives the Fed enough wiggle room to continue monetizing US debt without showing the world how screwed up we are because things in the EU are so much more messed up. Look over there. Look over there. Meanwhile the Fed continues our own deterioration policy.

falak pema's picture

lol, Putin showing the western world : You guys have your heads soooooo deep up your asses, that tiny Cyprus can rock you! That you need US ruskis to stop the rot! 

Maybe, there is a lesson there for Syria and Iran...Power play always has a tab attached to it. 

Jets n Sharks... western statists who want to get elected  (wink, wink, Mutti), and Oligarchy Bankstas who don't want to get skinned (Cypriot, CIty and WS titties, all lumped together as they are shit scared this starts an asset CRUMBLE in domino mode, all thru Eurozone, n on to City n WS as Mutti is going wealth tax heavy), if Uncle Putin doesn't step in you'd be at each other's throats! 

Ain't that purty?  We are all in the same boat! But...there is a price attached. 

What is it and will Potus and Mutti Agree to it? Is it pure Ruski inhouse Mafia/oligarchy politics or are there extraneous add ons?

I hope we'll find out and soon! 

Debugas's picture

"bank holiday is about to stretch to one week"


GOOD!!! Hopefully more people will wake up