Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Gold, Silver & HUI Stocks Big Pictures - 28th Sep 20
It’s Time to Dump Argentina’s Peso - 28th Sep 20
Gold Stocks Seasonal Plunge - 28th Sep 20
Why Did Precious Metals Get Clobbered Last Week? - 28th Sep 20
Is The Stock Market Dow Transportation Index Setting up a Topping Pattern? - 28th Sep 20
Gold Price Setting Up Just Like Before COVID-19 Breakdown – Get Ready! - 27th Sep 20
UK Coronavirus 2nd Wave SuperMarkets Panic Buying 2.0 Toilet Paper , Hand Sanitisers, Wipes... - 27th Sep 20
Gold, Dollar and Rates: A Correlated Story - 27th Sep 20
WARNING RTX 3080 AIB FLAWED Card's, Cheap Capacitor Arrays Prone to Failing Under Load! - 27th Sep 20
Boris Johnson Hits Coronavirus Panic Button Again, UK Accelerting Covid-19 Second Wave - 25th Sep 20
Precious Metals Trading Range Doing It’s Job to Confound Bulls and Bears Alike - 25th Sep 20
Gold and Silver Are Still Locked and Loaded… Don't be Out of Ammo - 25th Sep 20
Throwing the golden baby out with the covid bath water - Gold Wins - 25th Sep 20
A Look at the Perilous Psychology of Financial Market Bubbles - 25th Sep 20
Corona Strikes Back In Europe. Will It Boost Gold? - 25th Sep 20
How to Boost the Value of Your Home - 25th Sep 20
Key Time For Stock Markets: Bears Step Up or V-Shaped Bounce - 24th Sep 20
Five ways to recover the day after a good workout - 24th Sep 20
Global Stock Markets Break Hard To The Downside – Watch Support Levels - 23rd Sep 20
Beware of These Faulty “Inflation Protected” Investments - 23rd Sep 20
What’s Behind Dollar USDX Breakout? - 23rd Sep 20
Still More Room To Stock Market Downside In The Coming Weeks - 23rd Sep 20
Platinum And Palladium Set To Surge As Gold Breaks Higher - 23rd Sep 20
Key Gold Ratios to Other Markets - 23rd Sep 20
Watch Before Upgrading / Buying RTX 3000, RDNA2 - CPU vs GPU Bottlenecks - 23rd Sep 20
Online Elliott Wave Markets Trading Course Worth $129 for FREE! - 22nd Sep 20
Gold Price Overboughtness Risk - 22nd Sep 20
Central Banking Cartel Promises ZIRP Until at Least 2023 - 22nd Sep 20
Stock Market Correction Approaching Initial Objective - 22nd Sep 20
Silver Bulls Will Be Handsomely Rewarded - 21st Sep 20
Fed Will Not Hike Rates For Years. Gold Should Like It - 21st Sep 20
US Financial Market Forecasts and Elliott Wave Analysis Resources - 21st Sep 20
How to Avoid Currency Exchange Risk during COVID - 21st Sep 20
Crude Oil – A Slight Move Higher Has Not Reversed The Bearish Trend - 20th Sep 20
Do This Instead Of Trying To Find The “Next Amazon” - 20th Sep 20
5 Significant Benefits of the MT4 Trading Platform for Forex Traders - 20th Sep 20
A Warning of Economic Collapse - 20th Sep 20
The Connection Between Stocks and the Economy is not What Most Investors Think - 19th Sep 20
A Virus So Deadly, The Government Has to Test You to See If You Have It - 19th Sep 20
Will Lagarde and Mnuchin Push Gold Higher? - 19th Sep 20
RTX 3080 Mania, Ebay Scalpers Crazy Prices £62,000 Trollers Insane Bids for a £649 GPU! - 19th Sep 20
A Greater Economic Depression For The 21st Century - 19th Sep 20
The United Floor in Stocks - 19th Sep 20
Mobile Gaming Market Trends And The Expected Future Developments - 19th Sep 20
The S&P 500 appears ready to correct, and that is a good thing - 18th Sep 20
It’s Go Time for Gold Price! Next Stop $2,250 - 18th Sep 20
Forget AMD RDNA2 and Buy Nvidia RTX 3080 FE GPU's NOW Before Price - 18th Sep 20
Best Back to School / University Black Face Masks Quick and Easy from Amazon - 18th Sep 20
3 Types of Loans to Buy an Existing Business - 18th Sep 20
How to tell Budgie Gender, Male or Female Sex for Young and Mature Parakeets - 18th Sep 20
Fasten Your Seatbelts Stock Market Make Or Break – Big Trends Ahead - 17th Sep 20
Peak Financialism And Post-Capitalist Economics - 17th Sep 20
Challenges of Working from Home - 17th Sep 20
Sheffield Heading for Coronavirus Lockdown as Covid Deaths Pass 432 - 17th Sep 20
What Does this Valuable Gold Miners Indicator Say Now? - 16th Sep 20
President Trump and Crimes Against Humanity - 16th Sep 20
Slow Economic Recovery from CoronaVirus Unlikely to Impede Strong Demand for Metals - 16th Sep 20
Why the Knives Are Out for Trump’s Fed Critic Judy Shelton - 16th Sep 20
Operation Moonshot: Get Ready for Millions of New COVAIDS Positives in the UK! - 16th Sep 20
Stock Market Approaching Correction Objective - 15th Sep 20
Look at This Big Reminder of Dot.com Stock Market Mania - 15th Sep 20
Three Key Principles for Successful Disruption Investors - 15th Sep 20
Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Warns of 10% Inflation - 15th Sep 20
Gold Price Reaches $2,000 Amid Dollar Depreciation - 15th Sep 20
GLD, IAU Big Gold ETF Buying MIA - 14th Sep 20
Why Bill Gates Is Betting Millions on Synthetic Biology - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market SPY Expectations For The Rest Of September - 14th Sep 20
Gold Price Gann Angle Update - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market Recovery from the Sharp Correction Goes On - 14th Sep 20
Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
The Silver Big Prize - 13th Sep 20
U.S. Shares Plunged. Is Gold Next? - 13th Sep 20
Why Are 7,500 Oil Barrels Floating on this London Lake? - 13th Sep 20
Sheffield 432 Covid-19 Deaths, Last City Centre Shop Before Next Lockdown - 13th Sep 20
Biden or Trump Will Keep The Money Spigots Open - 13th Sep 20
Gold And Silver Up, Down, Sideways, Up - 13th Sep 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Next Wave of Banking Crisis to Come from Eastern Europe

Economics / Credit Crisis 2009 Feb 18, 2009 - 01:38 PM GMT

By: F_William_Engdahl

Economics Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleEuropean banks face an entirely new wave of losses in coming months not yet calculated in any government bank rescue aid to date. Unlike the losses of US banks which derive initially from their exposures to low-quality sub-prime real estate and other securitized lending, the problems of western European banks, most especially in Austria, Sweden and perhaps Switzerland arise from the massive volumes of loans they made during the 2002-2007 period of extreme low international interest rates to clients in eastern European countries.


The problems in Eastern Europe which are just now emerging with full force are, if you will, an indirect consequence of the libertine monetary policies of the Greenspan Fed from 2002 until 2006, the period where Wall Street's asset backed securitization Ponzi Scheme took off.

The riskiness of these eastern European loans is now coming to light as the global economic recession in both east and west Europe is forcing western banks to pull back, refusing to renew loans or ‘rollover' the credits, leaving thousands of borrowers with unpayable loan debts. The dimension of the eastern European emerging loan crisis pales anything yet realized. It will force a radical new look at the entire question of bank nationalizations in coming weeks regardless what nice hopes politicians in any party entertain.

Moody's Rating Service has just announced it ‘might' downgrade a number of western European banks with large exposures to eastern Europe. On the report, the Euro fell to 2 and a half month lows against the dollar.

The Moodys report mentioned especially banks in eastern Europe owned by western European banks including specifically Raiffeisen Zenetralbank Oesterreich and Sweden's Swedbank. The public Moody's warning will now force western banks with subsidiaries in eastern Europe to dramatically tighten lending conditions in the east at just the time the opposite is needed to keep economic growth from collapsing and thereby setting off chair-reaction loan defaults. The western banks are caught in a devil's circle.

According to my well-informed City of London sources, the new concerns over bank exposures to eastern Europe will define the next wave of the global financial crisis, one they believe could be even more devastating than the US sub-prime securitization collapse which triggered the entire crisis of confidence. 

As a result of the Moody's warning, west European banks will now likely be selective in supporting their subsidiaries. Moody's report noted that ‘banks in countries that are associated with higher systemic risks might face reduced support.' Western European governments may also establish rules to ensure banks receiving state support are forbidden to aid foreign subsidiaries. This is already the case with Greek banks and the Greek Government. The result is to make a bad situation far worse.

The size of risks are staggering

The amount of loans potentially at risk involve mostly Italian, Austrian, Swiss, Swedish and it is believed German banks. Once the countries of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact declared independence in the early 1990's west European banks rushed in to buy on the cheap the major banks in most of the newly independent east countries. As US interest rate cuts after the stock crisis in 2002  pushed interest rates around the world to new lows, easy credit led to higher risk lending across borders in foreign currencies. In countries such as Hungary Swiss and Austrian banks promoted home mortgage loans denominated in Swiss Franc where interest rates were significantly lower.

The only risk at the time was if the Hungarian currency were to devalue, forcing homeowners in Hungary to repay sometimes double the monthly amount in Swiss Francs. That is what has happened over the past 18 months as western banks and funds have dramatically reduced their speculative investments in eastern countries to repatriate capital back home where the mother banks had serious problems caused by the US banking catastrophe. In the case of the Polish Zloty, the currency has dropped in recent months by 50%. The volume of mortgages existing in foreign currencies in Poland is not known but London estimates are that it could be huge.

In the case of Austrian banks, the country faces a rerun of the 1931 Vienna Creditanstalt crisis which in chain-reaction spread to the German banks and brought Continental Europe into the economic crisis of 1931-33. At the recent EU Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Austrian Finance Minister Josef Pröll reportedly pleaded with his colleagues to come up with a €150 billion rescue package for the banks in eastern Europe. Austrian banks alone have lent €230 billion there, equivalent to 70% of Austria's GDP. Austria's largest bank, Bank Austria, which in turn is owned by Italy's Unicredito along with the German HypoVereinsbank, faces what the Vienna press calls a ‘monetary Stalingrad' over its loan exposure in the east. In a botter historic irony, Bank Austria bought the Vienna Creditanstalt in recent years in its wave of mergers.

According to estimates published in the Vienna financial press, were only 10% of the Austrian loans in the east to default in coming months, it ‘would lead to the collapse of the Austrian financial system.' The EU's European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London estimates that bad debts in the east will exceed 10% and ‘may reach 20%.'

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück reportedly flatly rejected any EU rescue funds for the east, claiming it was not Germany's problem. He may soon regret that as the crisis spreads to German banks and results in far greater costs to German taxpayers. One of the most striking aspects of the present crisis which first erupted in summer of 2007 is the increasingly evident incompetence of leading finance ministers and central bankers from Washington to Brussels to Paris and Frankfurt and Berlin to deal resolutely with the crisis.

The London office of US investment bank, Morgan Stanley has issued a report estimating the total of western European bank lending to the east. According to the report Eastern Europe has borrowed a total of more than $1.7 TRILLION abroad from mainly west European banks. Much of that has been short-term borrowing of less than a year. In 2009 eastern countries must repay or roll-over (renew) some $400 billion, fully 33% of the region's total GDP. As global recession deepens the chances of that are fading by the day. Now western banks are refusing to roll-over such loans, under political pressure and financial pressure back home. The credit window in the east, only two years ago the source of booming profits for the west European banks, have now slammed shut.

Even Russia which a year ago had more than $600 billion foreign exchange reserves, is in a difficult situation. Russian large companies must repay or roll-over $500 billion this year. Russia has bled 36pc of its foreign reserves since August defending the rouble.

In Poland, 60% of all mortgages are in Swiss francs. The Polish zloty has just fallen in half against the Swiss franc. Hungary, the Balkans, the Baltics, and Ukraine are all suffering variants of this same story. As an act of collective folly – by lenders and borrowers – it matches America's sub-prime debacle. This crisis, for European banks comes atop their losses in US real estate securities. In is the next wave of the crisis that is about to hit. Almost all East bloc debts are owed to West Europe, especially Austrian, Swedish, Greek, Italian, and Belgian banks. Europeans account for an astonishing 74% of the entire $4.9 trillion portfolio of loans to emerging markets. They are five times more exposed to this latest crisis than American or Japanese banks, and they are 50pc more leveraged according to the IMF.

Whether it takes months, or just weeks, Europe's financial system now faces a major test and the situation is complicated by the fact that when the rules of the European Central Bank were finalized in the late 1990's, governments could not agree to surrender total national central banking powers to the new ECB. As a result, in this first test of the ECB in a systemic crisis, the bank is unable to act in the same manner as say the Federal Reserve and fiull the role of lender of last resort or to flood the markets with emergency stimulus.

By some estimates the European Central Bank already needs to cut rates to zero and then purchase bonds and Pfandbriefe on a huge scale. It is constrained by geopolitics – a German-Dutch veto – and the Maastricht Treaty. The EBRD estimates that eastern Europe needs at least €400bn in help to cover loans and prop up the credit system.

Europe's governments are making matters worse. Some are pressuring their banks to pull back, undercutting subsidiaries in East Europe. Athens has ordered Greek banks to pull out of the Balkans. The sums needed are beyond the limits of the IMF, which has already bailed out Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Iceland, and Pakistan – and Turkey next – and is fast exhausting its own €155bn reserve, forcing it to sell its gold reserves to raise cash.

The recent IMF $16bn rescue of Ukraine has unravelled. The country – facing a 12pc contraction in GDP after the collapse of steel prices – is going towards default, leaving Unicredit, Raffeisen and ING facing disaster. Latvia's central bank governor has declared his economy "clinically dead" after it shrank 10.5pc in the fourth quarter. Protesters have smashed the treasury and stormed parliament.

Perhaps most alarming is that the EU institutions don't have any framework for dealing with this. The day they decide not to save one of these one countries will be the trigger for a massive crisis with contagion spreading into the EU.

Clear at present is that for small-minded political reasons, Berlin is not going to rescue Ireland, Spain, Greece and Portugal as the collapse of their credit bubbles leads to rising defaults, or rescue Italy by accepting plans for EU ‘union bonds' should the debt markets boycott Italy's exploding public debt, hitting 112% of GDP next year, just revised up from 101%.

By F. William Engdahl
www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net

COPYRIGHT © 2009 F. William Engdahl. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

* F. William Engdahl is the author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press) and Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation , www.globalresearch.ca . The present series is adapted from his new book, now in writing, The Rise and Fall of the American Century: Money and Empire in Our Era. He may be contacted through his website, www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net

F. William Engdahl Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Stormy
19 Feb 09, 02:10
Well that's great news

Well that's great news!

I sincerely hope the European economy collapses because this way we will be able to grow from more solid fundamentals. Fortunately we don't allow the ECB to print money like there's no tomorrow.

On the other side of the Atlantic, I really feel sorry for Americans who have their mighty powerful Federal Reserve managed by Mr Helicopter Ben, who holds a degree in Money Printing and a Market Manipulation Certificate.

Maybe this stuff will make matters not so horrible short term... but they are poised to suffer from long term effects that will bring the American Empire down to its knees.

By the way, say hello to China, which will be the most powerful country on earth during the 21st Century ;)


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules