Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Ireland GDP is around 150 B€. The liabilities now put under guarantee are about 400 B€. If this had to be priced at market rates (CDS spreads on distressed irish banks), it should cost the banks something to the tune of 10 B€/year.

I doubt the banks have any remaining cash flow before the bailout (hence the bailout), so they are not going to pay gov't that 7% of GDP for the guarantee. It will obviously be underpriced.

And it will not prevent the collapse of interbank/securitized/bond funding for these banks anyway (nobody in their right mind would trust the gov't to live up to its promise, at least among the educated global finance guys). This leaves the irish banks with their sole depositors as funding, when the irish GDP has already started contracting. Recession will accelerate, house prices fall further, Irish household will default en masse, and the banks will default on tens of B€.

Irish gov't will be left holding a bag that could end up just as big as the GDP, itself down around 100 B€, a couple of years down the road. Lucky, the public debt is presently just 25% of GDP, but still, it's a commitment to make it over 100% almost overnight.

Puzzle #1: how long will it take for the Irish "mass affluent" market segment to realize this and move it's saving to any other bank in the eurozone ?

Puzzle #2: faced with the prospect of 100 B€ or more of capital flight (and more losses for the banks it guaranteed), how long do you think Ireland can remain in the EMU/have free capital flows ?

Absent some quick explosion from the Spanish Cajas (a very bad situation that keeps developing pretty much under the radar), I think we have winner here: I introduce to you the leading country in the race to the currency bottom and to fall out of the euro ... Ireland !


by Pierre on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 10:59:35 AM EST
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I take it that you're one of these educated global finance guys?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 11:10:43 AM EST
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Given that these global finance guys seem to jump everytime a government spokesperson sneezes, I fail to see why they wouldn't believe the government on this occasion.

Are these global finance guys the ones who were shorting Anglo-Irish to the tune of €800 million just last week, or are they the ones now responsible for the surge in it's share-price today?

by ectoraige on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 12:31:05 PM EST
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It's its, of course. Sigh.
by ectoraige on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 12:34:06 PM EST
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I'm thinking more of the bond fund managers (like pension funds, insurance, etc...) who are ultimately in control when it comes to rolling the short/medium term paper of said Irish institutions.

If paper matures within the guarantee (2 years, what a joke, like you could put heroin in your veins for 2 years straight and give up overnight ... the Irish gov't is in this forever), any cautious bond manager will get his principal back guaranteed, and not subscribe in the new bond offerings at any rate. Then he puts the money in bunds and gold.

This pretty much guarantees that the gov will have to pay for the shortfall at the roll, since bank assets will be unsellable non-performing mortgages. Taxpayers would be in it for exactly the amount they defaulted on wih the mortgages in the first place, that is an amount they can't repay even if the tax collector put a gun in their mouth. The only two ways the country can get through this is:

  • with cross-border assistance (like, ceding control of all national banks to stronger foreign ones, but these are now in short supply, or even more innovative: direct relief from taxpayers in the rest of the EU),
  • by printing money on its own (thus, outside the EMU)

Making grand statements of unlimited commitments when the market has proven in the mood to test all kinds of bluffs, including those of the US treasury, pretty much guarantees that Bad Things &tm; will happen (also shows the gov't is none too smart, but that shouldn't be a surprise: they're one of the many who let a toxic bubble grow in its backyard for short term political gains - all sides of the political spectrum, in all bubble countries, seemed pretty happy with the bubble actually)

by Pierre on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 04:22:36 PM EST
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