Wonder why Europe is pressing so hard for Greece (and soon the other PIIGS) to collateralize its pre-petition loans on a Debtor in Possession basis? Here is your answer: "Yesterday’s unanimous agreement by the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) to allow central counterparties to accept gold as collateral, under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), is further recognition of gold’s growing relevance as a high quality liquid asset. This vote reinforces market demand for a greater choice of assets that can be used as collateral to meet margin liabilities." Luckily for Greece, it has 111.5 tons of gold in storage (somewhere at the New York Fed most likely). Looking down the road, Portugal has 382.5 tons, Spain 281.6, and Italy leads the pack with 2,451.8 tons.
The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has approved gold to be used as collateral confirming its status as a high-quality liquid asset
Yesterday’s unanimous agreement by the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) to allow central counterparties to accept gold as collateral, under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), is further recognition of gold’s growing relevance as a high quality liquid asset.
This vote reinforces market demand for a greater choice of assets that can be used as collateral to meet margin liabilities.
Natalie Dempster, Director of Government Affairs at the World Gold Council said:
“It is very significant that the European Parliament is putting its weight behind the argument that the unique characteristics of gold make it an ideal form of high quality liquid collateral.
“We now look forward to the European Parliament and Council of the European Union upholding the inclusion of gold in the next stage of negotiations around EMIR which will now take place after the July plenary vote. The ratification would mark a significant step forward in redefining what constitutes a highly liquid asset under the Capital Requirements IV Directive, due in the coming month, from the European Commission.”
Market demand for gold to be used as a high quality liquid asset and as collateral has been building for some time. In late 2010, ICE Clear Europe, a leading European derivatives clearing house, became the first clearing house in Europe to accept gold as collateral. In February 2011, JP Morgan became the first bank to accept gold bullion as collateral via its tri-party collateral management arm. Exchanges across the world, such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange, are now accepting gold as collateral for certain trades and London-based clearing house LCH Clearnet has said that it also plans to start accepting gold as collateral later this year, subject to regulatory approval.
The World Gold Council has examined this trend and has defined the characteristics that make gold an excellent form of collateral in its study “Gold as a source of collateral”. The report includes a case study on ICE Clear Europe, explaining why the central counterparty clearing house has started to accept gold as collateral and how this operates in practice.
“As regulators, from G20 countries, demand that more OTC trading is cleared on exchanges and with the ongoing world economic difficulties further eroding the credit worthiness of other forms of collateral, we expect to see increasing demand by clearing houses, exchanges and investment banks to use gold as collateral,” says Natalie Dempster.
In order to legitimize this precursor to full blown gold sequestration (on a purely voluntary basis of course, as credit money is received while physical PMs are pledged), the WGC has even put together this pretty presentation: