Arhiva za Listopad 23rd, 2008

23. Listopad 2008

Island vs. Hrvatska

autora/ice cronomy

Priča i usporedba bi trebala možda biti duža, ali i ova mala usporedba govori puno. Iz WSJ prije koji dan.

Iceland’s central bank had only €2 billion in foreign currency reserves — while the banks had reached about €100 billion in assets — meaning it was effectively unable to fill its role as lender of last resort. The reserves were “woefully inadequate,” says Mr. Magnusson. Mr. Oddsson, in his TV interview, said foreign-exchange reserves weren’t the issue. “People started yelling that we must enlarge the foreign-currency reserves in step with the banks’ growth. A totally wrong theory,” he said. “We should have cut the banking system down.”

Asked by telephone if the central bank should have boosted reserves as its banks swelled, Mr. Oddsson said: “We have more foreign reserves per capita than most” countries. Iceland has only 300,000 people.

Iceland was unwilling to use unorthodox tools to provide more backing to its system. Lars Christensen, an analyst at Danske Bank, points to Croatia, which required banks to hold foreign currency in a special account with the central bank in proportion to overseas commitments. Croatia now has that capital to deploy.

Ipak priča nije gotova za Istočnu Europu. Tek počinje. Tržišta su hirovita, ali kalkulirajuća. Iz Telegrapha jučer. Deficit našeg tekućeg računa za 2008. se očekuje oko 10.1%. Za 2007. je bio 8.6%.

“We doubt the effect will be long-lasting,” said Lars Christensen, East Europe strategist at Danske Bank. “The markets are very likely to test how far the central bank is willing to go.”

Simon Derrick, from Bank of New York Mellon, said the rate rise was probably doomed to failure. “As soon as you see aggressive actions like this when the economy is not strong to take it, you know it is unsustainable,” he said.

There is a risk is that hedge funds will pick off those East European states with big current account deficits that rely on foreign financing, smashing the pegs or ‘dirty-floats’ one by one. The deficits have reached 23pc of GDP in Bulgaria, 16pc in Estonia, and 16pc in Romania….

….

Maya Bhandiri, from Lombard Street Research, said Hungary was primed for crisis after letting rip on foreign credit, letting net external debt reach 90pc of GDP.

Some 60pc of all mortgages and car loans are funded in foreign currencies, mostly euros or Swiss francs. Hungary’s government is now letting debtors switch franc loans into forints and even forgive debts in what amounts to a bail-out of the most reckless. Unicredit warned that this may cause markets to question the credit-worthiness of the state itself.

The Baltic States, Poland, Croatia, and Romania have also let foreign mortgages proliferate. Mr Christensen says the region is even more overstretched than East Asia on the cusp of the 1998 crisis. “Imbalances have grown to unsustainable levels. The unwinding is likely to be painful and disorderly. There is a clear risk of the situation getting out of hand, with serious implications for Western Europe,” he said.

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