Late last Friday, we reported what many had feared: the Greek population's faith in its government's negotiating skills evaporated last week amid a breakdown in talks with creditors, leading to what local sources dubbed a "massive" €700 million deposit outflow in one day (and over €3 billion for the week).
Now, courtesy of FT which confirmed just what we said, namely that "anxious Greeks [are] pulling money from banks amid fears of capital controls", we get the visual confirmation of what happened and is still happening on the ground:
As FT goes on to note, Greeks are doing anything they can to store their euros outside the banking sector amid fears of capital controls. Here's more:
Two weeks after Greece’s leftwing Syriza party won power at a general election in January, Panayotis Fotiades pulled his deposits from an Athens bank..
To protect his savings he bought a brand new Mercedes-Benz car, then took the advice of a financial consultant and invested the remainder in money market funds based in Luxembourg...
Many other Greeks appear to be taking similar precautions. Even as the economy has been sinking, new car registrations have soared this year as worried Greek depositors seek out alternative havens for their money. They rose 27.9 per cent in April on top of a 47.2 per cent increase in March..
Athens could eventually impose capital controls to stanch the bleeding of deposits but that would also risk turmoil for basic business and financial transactions and threaten devastating consequences for the wider economy.
“The continuation of these outflows significantly increases the risk that the local authorities will impose capital controls to limit deposit outflows, which in our view would be tantamount to a bank deposit default,” Moody’s, the rating agency, warned in a report this week..
Fears of a default last week drove another increase in withdrawals. More than €500m left the system on Friday, the day Greece missed a €300m payment due to the IMF, saying it would bundle up four separate loan instalments and instead make a single €1.5bn payment at the end of June.
“I was spooked. It looked at first like a real default so I rushed to the bank,” said Eleni Papageorgiou, a former finance ministry employee...
Areti Simopoulou, a retired store owner, said she heads for the cash machine at her local bank branch at the end of the month and withdraws all her pension money at once.
“I used to take out half and leave the rest for an emergency,” Mrs Simopoulou said. “Now I feel relieved it’s there and make sure I take out every last lepto [cent].”
Which brings up the question of the "other" parity: while everyone has opined on when/if the EURUSD will hit 1.00, for Greece a far more relevant question is whether the ECB's generous ELA funding of insolvent Greek banks will reach parity with the amount of Greek deposits in the bank system.Keep a close eye on the weekly increases in this series because once the amount of ELA eclipses all Greek deposits, that may be the point when the ECB finally cuts its losses, and leaves the Greeks with the total "bail-in" wipeout.