March 22, 2013
Update 13:15 22/03/2013:
Thinking about the plan in more detail, it occurred to us that this may amount to trying to burn the larger depositors twice. As we noted in today’s press summary, the plan essentially is to move all the bad assets to a bad bank, along with the large uninsured depositors (€100,000+). These assets would then be wound down or sold off at a large discount with the depositors footing the bill (and taking losses of 20% – 40%). This, along with the merging of Bank of Cyprus and the good bank, is how the recapitalisation costs will be reduced by €2.3bn.
So, the large depositors will take significant losses here and yet may still face a large deposit tax as well? That seems to be pushing the boundaries to us, although it is not impossible. Cyprus would not recover as destination for foreign investment for some time. One way to structure this could be for the tax only to be applied to depositors above €500,000 (as we suggest below) and the bad bank to apply to all uninsured deposits. Obviously, the bad bank scheme also only applies to Laiki bank, but as the second largest Cypriot bank it is still likely to account for a large amount of big deposits.
Still this could see larger depositors taking up to 50% hits in some cases. We can’t imagine Moscow would take that one lying down, especially given comments earlier in the week…
****************** Original Post *********************
It now seems we have come all the way back round to the deposit levy as a solution in Cyprus. Overnight, the EU/IMF/ECB Troika rejected the plans for a Cypriot solidarity fund, particularly one based on pension assets and gas reserve revenues (which German Chancellor Angela Merkel specifically spoke out against).