Saturday, 11 May 2013

Spain is officially insolvent: get your money out while you still can

"...All this leads to the conclusion that a big Spanish debt restructuring is inevitable. Spanish sovereign bond yields have fallen sharply since announcement of the European Central Bank's "outright monetary transactions" programme. The ECB has promised to print money without limit to counter the speculators. But in the end, no amount of liquidity can cover up for an underlying problem with solvency. Europe said that Greece was the first and last such restructuring, but then there was Cyprus. Spain is holding off further recapitalisation of its banks in anticipation of the arrival of Europe's banking union, which it hopes will do the job instead. But if the Cypriot precedent is anything to go by, a heavy price will be demanded by way of recompense. Bank creditors will be widely bailed in. Confiscation of deposits looks all too possible. I don't advise getting your money out lightly. Indeed, such advise is generally thought grossly irresponsible, for it risks inducing a self reinforcing panic. Yet looking at the IMF projections, it's the only rational thing to do. PS. I don't include creditors of the British arm of Santander in this warning, who are ring fenced from the mothership back bome in Spain, theoretically at least."

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