Tag Archives | ECB

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EU banks cut lending to the PIIGS by 23% of GDP

On 7 September 2008, in its now famous warning that a financial crisis was imminent, the blog noted that “‘Deleveraging’ is an ugly word, and it has ugly implications“. The chart above shows just how ugly these implications are becoming for the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain). It is based on data produced […]

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Europe’s €30trn pension fund ‘hole’

Pensions were one of the great inventions of the past century. Now the European Central Bank (ECB) has issued a ‘wake-up call’ on the affordability issues that lie ahead. The reason is very simple. As we note in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, pensions were introduced first introduced in Germany in 1889, and then […]

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More Greek debt passes to the European Central Bank

Stock markets soared after the eurozone meeting this week. But the head of the German central bank warned “The envisaged leverage instruments are similar to those which were among the origins of the crisis, because they temporarily masked the risks.” It is clearly far too early to assume that EU leaders have really decided to […]

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Greece closer to defaulting on its debt

Greece is about to become the first developed country to default on its debts since 1964. On Thursday night, Eurozone leaders finally agreed to reduce Greece’s €350bn debts, if only by 21%. They also agreed to take the first steps towards the creation of a European Monetary Fund. After more than a year of defying […]

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An unmanaged Greek default gets closer

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair may come to be seen as a critical turning point, when the story of the Greek default is written. The then IMF head was en route to meet German Chancellor Merkel, when arrested in New York last month. He had been at the forefront of the campaign to pretend that Greece […]

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Greece needs a managed default

Many Greeks have always preferred not to pay taxes, and to retire in their 50s. This lifestyle was well understood by their new partners when they joined the Eurozone a decade ago, since when German/French banks have happily funded it with support from their governments. The chart, from the Bank of International Settlements (the central […]

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A fistful of dollars

The US Federal Reserve used just to manage monetary policy for the 12 ‘districts’ of the USA. But now, it is going global. First, it opened unlimited “swap lines” with other G7 countries through the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan, as well as the Swiss National Bank. Then, […]

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2008 economic outlook

Yesterday the European Central Bank opened its doors and lent €349bn to 390 banks seeking to shore up their reserves position for year-end. Will this help solve the credit crunch? Writing today in the Financial Times, their excellent banking editor (Gillian Tett) is doubtful. She worries that ‘the banks know something nasty that we don’t’, […]

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Thursday’s child has far to go

The past two Thursdays have seen extraordinary things happen in financial markets. Last Thursday, BNP Paribas suspended redemptions on 3 of its funds, forcing the ECB to inject €95bn of liquidity into the financial system. Yesterday, the largest US mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, had to raise an emergency €11.5bn loan in order to continue trading, […]

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Subprime: a many-headed Hydra

Yesterday, the ECB (European Central Bank) provided an unprecedented €95bn into the region’s credit markets, to maintain liquidity. Otherwise, firms would have had problems paying their bills, and employees might not have been paid their wages. This is serious stuff, and it was followed by the US Fed providing $24bn into US markets, and the […]

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