Sunday, November 14, 2010

Can the EU stop the run on Irish banks?

Here’s a question: Will a rescue plan for Ireland stop the run on Irish banks?  I wonder. I wonder whether the Irish banks can regain market access without a credible guarantee from someone rated AAA with deep pockets. But who would this be? Not Germany and not the ECB.

How about the AAA-rated European Financial Stability Fund? No. It only lends to governments. So the EFSF will guarantee Ireland and the  ECB will fund the banks. Irish banks already owe the ECB EUR 130B, and Trichet is very unlikely to grow this exposure without a guarantee.

Recapitalizing the banks will not be sufficient for the market to reopen. No sane banker wants to increase his exposure to Ireland, period. Europe will soon discover that Anglo-Irish, Allied Irish and Bank of Ireland are, yes, too big to fail.

No comments: