Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
The Russian money is a smokescreen. What's really politically unspeakable is the following: (quoted in the story body)
The ECB is hiding the results of a study about the distribution of financial wealth in the eurozone until after the decision about an aid programme for Cyprus, Frankfurter Allgemeine reports this morning, quoting unnamed central bankers. The intention of the delay is to prevent the data being used to question the programme. The ECB has been running these polls since 2006. Some of the national central banks, including those of Italy, Austria, Luxembourg and Spain, have published their own national results, but others have not. The article says the data contain "politically explosive material". For example, Italy's financial wealth, at a median value of €164,000, lies above that of Austria, at €76,000. While the Bundesbank has not published the data, the German median value is thought to be in a similar range - in other words way below that of Italy.
The German government cannot allow a discussion of wealth inequality and household savings in Germany which would demonstrate that the German working class has not only been shafted over the past decade with the much-touted "competitive reforms", but that they are also being shafted now.

And from Zervos in Business Insider (quoted by ARGeezer)

All of us should really take a moment to consider what the governments of Europe have done. To be clear, they initiated a surprise assault on the precautionary savings of their own people. Such a move should send shock waves across the entire population of the developed world.
In "less developed" parts of the world - and I think nobody will be offended if it's pointed out that the rule of law is probably more reliable in Germany than in Cyprus, and that the country is wealthier, people need much smaller "precautionary savings".

What this is doing is, at least in Cyprus, sending people on an "all cash" position (and I mean cash under the mattress, not cash in the bank as "all cash" would be understood by "investors") if not entirely off the Euro, into gold or other currencies.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 05:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Got myself into a tangle there...
In "less developed" parts of the world—and I think nobody will be offended if it's pointed out that the rule of law is probably more reliable in Germany than in Cyprus, and that the country is wealthier—people need much smallerlarger "precautionary savings".


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing that would interest me in these cross-country comparisons of private wealth is the degree to which the differences are accounted for by differences in home ownership patterns. In Ireland for example, home ownership is extremely high, resulting in both hish figures for private wealth and huge figures for private indebtedness.

This is mainly for historical reasons. There is a huge historic antipathy towards renting, because it was always about an Irish tenant class paying rents to a British landed gentry - even during the famine when most people were starving. Owning your own property, be in house or farm, became a key symbol of national and class independence from Britain and the British ruling class.

In more recent times the inadequacy of public pensions and the rapaciousness of the private pensions industry meant that a key way of providing for your old age was to own your own house/farm and perhaps one or two other properties as well from which you could draw a small "pension" or income.

My point is that all of this makes it look like Irish people are relatively wealthy when in fact they are heavily leveraged and reliant on property ownership to provide basic income security. In Germany, I suspect, by way of contrast, there is no comparable insecurity about the reliability and adequacy of public pensions/health provision and thus no need to build up a comparable equity base in property or other assets.

I would be interested in whether a similar phenomenon is at work in Mediterranean countries, and on whether anyone has any hard data on this.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 06:33:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 In Germany, I suspect, by way of contrast, there is no comparable insecurity about the reliability and adequacy of public pensions/health provision and thus no need to build up a comparable equity base in property or other assets.

It is also a tenant law thing. Strong laws protecting tenants give them stability and less desire to own. That said with their low homeownership rate germany is rather the exception in europe.

But of course all of this is well known and I see no direcht relation with the cyprus bailout.

And the russian money in Cyprus is real enough.

by IM on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:14:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was more commenting on the alleged ECB report showing much higher levels of median wealth in Italy than in Germany and how difficult this makes it for Germans to contemplate bailing out allegedly wealthier countries who don't play by the rules.

Also, as an aside,  it is easy to grasp at a narrative alleging vaguely illicit Russian "grey" money when we don't know much about how this is different from trillions of other "investment" money looking for a home all over the world. If the Russians had put their money in senior bonds (like German banks?) rather than into deposits, would this have made it less grey? Is Russian or German money in Swiss banks any less grey?

It seems to me that individuals with some but not a huge amount of wealth are more likely to put their money into deposits rather than bank bonds - which are more the preserve of the seriously rich - but what do I know... this is a different world to the one which I inhabit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonds are often traded at big nominal values, say 100 000 euros. You can buy bond funds, but then you have to live with a management fee, and there is also a long waiting period (like three days) to get out of your position, while both bonds and deposits can be liquidated immediately.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 07:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course all of this is well known and I see no direcht relation with the cyprus bailout.
Ahem
The ECB is hiding the results of a study about the distribution of financial wealth in the eurozone until after the decision about an aid programme for Cyprus, Frankfurter Allgemeine reports this morning, quoting unnamed central bankers. The intention of the delay is to prevent the data being used to question the programme.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 08:12:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is nonsense. This isn't the first study of this sort. The basic results are well known. Mostly a house owning thing. And there will be resistance to the cyprus bailout anyway.
by IM on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 08:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the ECB's actions and beliefs as reported by the FAZ are nonsense?

In any case, it might be true that releasing the report int he middle of the Cyprus bailout debate mught have short term political implications. Media narratives, news cycles and all that.

What's extraordinary is that they had been "monitoring the effect of Cyprus on the markets" over 90 days and decided Cyprus posed no contagion risk, while at the same time making decisions about the release of unsurprising economic data based on diffuse fears of BILD Zeitung.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 18th, 2013 at 08:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Impeachment gets real

by ARGeezer - Jan 17
24 comments

A Final Warning

by Oui - Jan 10
112 comments

Environment Anarchists

by Oui - Jan 13
4 comments

More Spanish repression

by IdiotSavant - Jan 6
8 comments

Occasional Series