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Barroso's eurozone crisis plan could stop bank dividends


VIP Member
Jan 17, 2010
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New Jersey
• Payouts would be put on hold for undercapitalised institutions
• EC president softens up bondholders up for losses of 30%

Wednesday 12 October 2011 15.46 EDT

Europe's biggest banks would be barred from paying out dividends and bonuses if they are forced to raise their capital reserves to withstand future shocks, under plans put forward by the European commission to resolve the debt crisis.

At the same time, banks are being softened up by Brussels to accept "haircuts", or losses, of 30%-50% on their holdings of Greek debt rather than the current 21%.

Senior commission officials are also examining ways to boost the size of the main bailout fund, the European financial stability facility (EFSF), closer to the €2 trillion (£1.75tn) demanded by the US and UK without being forced to get this increase ratified by all 17 eurozone countries again.

These are the three key elements of a "roadmap to stability and growth" put forward to MEPs on Wednesday by José Manuel Barroso, the commission's president, in the run-up to the emergency EU and eurozone summits on 23 October.

Barroso's aides likened the plan to a "grand bargain" even though it lacks a lot of fine detail, following a series of top-level conflicts both among EU officials and between Brussels, Berlin and Paris.

But his supporters insist Barroso has pre-empted German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who announced a "comprehensive plan" on Sunday and have since given no details. "They have not put a single word on paper because they don't agree," one said.

The EU has given itself little more than 10 days to come up with a viable, convincing scheme as the political crisis around Silvio Berlusconi deepens in Italy and the International Monetary Fund warns Cyprus it must take urgent action to shore up its economy.

Seeking to inject a sense of urgency "over the threat of systemic crisis now unfolding", Barroso is telling Germany that it has to accept that the EFSF needs to be leveraged up from its current €440bn and France that it will have to recapitalise its banks.

In Paris, budget minister Valérie Pécresse said France would use its own money, not that of the EFSF, if required.

The commission's plan for recapitalisation envisages some of Europe's 60- 70 biggest ("potentially systemic") banks being set a core ("tier one") capital ratio close to 9% after the European Banking Authority (EBA) completes its reassessment of stress tests carried out in July.

This equates to the "hard" capital ratio of 7% required by 2019 under the Basel III banking accord, but no final figure is being put on the ratio because this is being left to the EBA for political reasons.

The new tests, sources said, are examining the banks' exposure to the sovereign debt of some 30 countries, including the way this has deepened in the last three months.

Barroso said that banks without the required capital ratio would be prevented from paying out dividends and bonuses by national supervisors and would have to swiftly seek fresh capital.

The commission insists that banks should first act on their own account – by selling assets, turning to shareholders, changing debt into equity – before going to governments. Recourse to the EFSF would be a very last resort.

UK and Swiss banks, according to research by HSBC, would meet a 10% ratio requirement.

Barroso indicated that his plan would see the EFSF's permanent successor, the European stability mechanism, installed a year early, in mid-2012. This would come with conditions imposing haircut clauses on all eurozone bonds issued after that date, officials said.

read more Barroso's eurozone crisis plan could stop bank dividends | Business | The Guardian


Wise ol' monkey
Feb 6, 2011
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Okolona, KY
Gonna be another bad year for the Eurozone...
Eurozone Economy Faces Another Bad Year
May 03, 2013 — Hopes that the 17-member eurozone will finally emerge from its economic doldrums this year have faded, with new data Friday showing the recession in the euro area deepening even more than originally expected.
There were some bright spots in a slew of new European economic data, but the short-term prognosis for the 17-nation eurozone is not good. Overall growth is expected to shrink by 0.4 percent this year - deeper than the 0.3 percent forecasted earlier this year. And the eurozone's second biggest economy, France, will slide back into recession. Businesses and households are also having a hard time accessing credit, putting another brake on economic growth. One of the most worrying indicators is unemployment - expected to shoot up to an average of 12.2 percent for the eurozone this year, compared to 11.4 percent in 2012. Unemployment for the full 27-member European Union is slightly better, at 10.5 percent.

At a press conference in Brussels, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn cited far more worrying figures for Italy and Spain, where unemployment is expected to peak at an alarming 27 percent this year. "We must really do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis. Each EU institution will need to work within its own mandate, each member state, both on its own challenges, and jointly together as a union on our common challenges," said Rehn. Not all eurozone countries are suffering. Unemployment in Austria is less than five percent. In Germany it's just over five percent. And separate data released Friday showed stronger-than-expected growth in Britain's services sector, an encouraging indicator.

Rehn also was more upbeat for the EU region as a whole. "We expect the European economy to stabilize in the first half of this year. GDP growth is expected to turn positive in the second half of this year and to gain momentum next year, 2014," said Rehn. Rehn said demand outside the EU will be the main driver for that growth. The EU forecast comes a day after the European Central Bank lowered its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 percent, a move many analysts dismiss as insufficient in addressing the eurozone's problems. The ECB has signaled it will be ready to act again, if the need arises.


See also:

Portugal aims to cut 30,000 civil service jobs
3 May 2013 - Portugal is planning to cut 30,000 civil service jobs and to raise the retirement age by one year to 66 as it tries to meet the terms of a bailout.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said civil servants would also be required to work 40 hours a week instead of 35. The proposals, which would be applied mostly from next year, would save 4.8bn euros (£4bn) over three years, he said. Austerity measures have proved deeply unpopular and have triggered large protests. "With these measures, our European partners cannot doubt our commitment" to the bailout, Mr Coelho said in an address to the nation late on Friday. "To hesitate now would harm the credibility that we have already won back," he added.

Portugal received a 78bn euro bailout from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2011. Unemployment stands at nearly 18% - a record high - and the economy is expected to shrink for a third consecutive year in 2013. Last month, the Portuguese Constitutional Court struck down more than 1bn euros (£847m; $1.3bn) of proposed cuts, which included the suspension of holiday bonuses for public sector workers and pensioners.

That forced the centre-right government to look elsewhere for savings - though it has ruled out raising taxes. "We will not raise taxes to correct the budgetary problem resulting from the Constitutional Court's decision," Mr Coelho said. "The way must be through the structural reduction of public spending." Portugal's main Socialist opposition party has accused Mr Coelho of inflicting excessive austerity on Portugal in pursuit of an ideologically driven programme.

BBC News - Portugal aims to cut 30,000 civil service jobs


Mr. Forgot-it-All
Jun 5, 2008
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IF the EURO banks are undercapitalized they really have no right giving dividends to their stockholders.

They ALSO have no right giving bonuses to their managements, either.

And if they're technically bankrupt they ought to be nationalized, the stockholders lose everything and the managment responisble ought to be in prison.

That goes for the banks here, too, only we know that's not going to happen.

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