Mar 29 2013

Cyprus: Quiet For Now

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The banks in Cyprus re-opened on Thursday, the chaos that many feared was averted, for now. Cyprus is far from out of the economic woods.

Cyprus banks reopen – but stock exchange will remain closed

by Jill Treanor, Helena Smith and Josephine Mould, The Guardian

Small queues as bank staff turn up for work early in Nicosia and cash is delivered under heavy security

Cyprus’s banks returned to business on Thursday with only limited queues (video), amid strict controls to stop people withdrawing all their savings and triggering a catastrophic bank run. [..]

As planned, banks closed around 6pm (4pm GMT). The Cyprus stock exchange, however, remained shut for the day, having abandoned plans to reopen less than an hour before trading was due to start.

Hopes that Cyprus’s new capital controls would be lifted in a week’s time were dashed tonight, as foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides predited they would last for “about a month”. [..]

On Thursday, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, tried to limit fears of contagion, saying Cyprus was a very special case and the EU had found the right solution for it. He said Luxembourg had a completely different business model to Cyprus and any comparison of the two would be absurd.

Analysts at Fathom Research said that the relief surrounding the Cyprus deal would be temporary. “The relief is misplaced and will be short lived, since the ‘doom-loop’ undermining the euro, between insolvent banks and their indebted sovereigns, has not been broken but emphatically reaffirmed.”

Cyprus bank restrictions could last ‘a month’

from Al Jazeera

Curbs imposed after island secured bailout to be lifted over a period of about a month, foreign minister says.

Cyprus is the first country in Europe’s single currency zone to impose losses on bank depositors.

The government initially said the controls would remain in place for a week, subject to review.

Economists say they will prove hard to lift as long as the economy is in crisis.

Cyprus: investors were withdrawing money before crisis hit, figures show

by Larry Eliot, The Guardian

Bank figures reveal deposits were being run down in February – well before first proposals for a bailout were made public

Investors were removing money from banks in Cyprus long before the onset of the two-week financial crisis that forced the small eurozone country to impose controls on capital flight.

Data from both the European Central Bank and the central bank of Cyprus revealed that deposits were being run down in February – well before the first proposals for a bailout were made public in mid-March.

ECB figures show that private sector deposits in Cypriot banks fell by 2.9% in February – a generally calm month that saw both consumers and companies increase their holdings at Greek and Spanish banks.

And last but not least, Herr Doktor.

Debt and Devaluation, Mediterranean Edition

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

When I talk about Cyprus and the possibility of leaving the euro, one immediate question people raise is what about the government’s debt, which is of course in euros. Wouldn’t an exit make that debt unsupportable, and force default?

There are, I’d say, two answers, one more fundamental than the other.

The less fundamental answer is, what makes you think that Cyprus can avoid default even if it stays on the euro? [..]

The more fundamental answer is, holding the nominal exchange rate fixed and relying on “internal devaluation” rather than devaluation devaluation does not, in fact, help make debt more manageable. [..]

So the debt is not a good reason to stay on the euro. I guess that if I were arguing for keeping the euro, I would instead be making mainly a political case – basically, that you’ll get better treatment from Brussels and Berlin if you remain a good soldier. But boy, will the cost be high.

Soldier on.

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