Friday, September 10, 2010

Who bails out a bankrupt European Central Bank?

The ECB is not a lender of last resort. Yet according to yesterdays Open Europe press briefing quoted here: ... the FT notes that the ECB has stepped in to shore up the eurozone government bond markets in its biggest such intervention since early July. The ECB has bought between €100 million and €300 million of Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds so far this week, traders said yesterday. So who steps up to pay for all this useless paper at the end of the day? First the commercial banks were effectively belly up and their Governments shrilling they were too big to fail met the consequences of their disastrous investments with tax payer commitments the taxpayers (themselves mostly up to their necks in debts with mortgages on homes about to plunge in value) will never be able to pay. So now the Central Banks step in with yet more commitments, which in the case of the ECB nobody seems obligated to cover. Slovakia who have refused to join the Greek bail out and the Czech Rebublic who sidestepped the EU commitment for a financial levy on banks, must both appear comparatively well positioned compared to the rest of the eurozone let alone the EU as a whole who undoubtedly will be the final soft touch at the end of the day! On Sunday we are today informed Basel III for the international banks will be finalised, an event that has seen Deutsche Bank this morning scrambling to raise billions more in capital, read here, before the rest of the pack leap in. Yet what use a well capitalised commercial banking sector in a world of bankrupt sovereign governments and floundering central banks? Let alone hundreds of millions of consumers saddled with debts on their over-valued houses, which, as this blog repeatedly points out, NOTHING absolutely ZERO has been done about. The house price bubble that first sparked this crisis remains ignored while money is everywhere printed out of nothing but thin air to presumably eventually price other worthwhile and essential commodities, such as wheat, to appear reasonable when compared with terraced houses considered near slums in more sensible times, now valued in several hundreds of thousands if not millions of now worthless local currencies.

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