17 March 2013

CYPRUS / EUROZONE / ECB / IMF: 23 Mar UPDATE: Some Progress Reported As Monday Deadline Looms! Russia Refused Help; Extended 'Bank Holiday' Means...Cash Is King.

         5TH LINK CHANGE 

         On Monday...the money dries up for good...unless the island makes satisfactory progress coming up with a 5.8 billion euros. 
         That's still the ultimatum from the dreaded Troika...the ECB/EU/IMF.
         Cyprus teeters on the brink...of either bankruptcy...or forcing the Troika to blink...after its lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a modified tax on savers' deposits.
          This time, though...the Troika seems unwilling to blink.
          Some progress has been leaked...including a reported 20-25% tax on savings over 100,000 euros...and 4% on lesser amounts....even on savings in foreign banks located on the island.
         FinMin Michalis Sarris found no success in Moscow...where he sought a 5-year extension and rate reduction on a 2.5 billion/$3.25 billion euro loan...and a new loan of 5 billion...to hold off the Troika's savers tax.
        He reportedly discussed Gazprom's access to the island's possible nat gas assets... perhaps even building a new Russian naval base there.
       The island's wealthy Orthodox Church also offered some funds.
       Of course, as the deadline nears...the government is scrambling. 
       It has sold-off some Greek banking units.
      Meanwhile...the ATMs rush has resumed on the island.
      Banks that were scheduled to reopen Thursday...are closed until Tuesday...again extending a so-called bank holiday...because of fears of mass withdrawals.
       The ECB's offer of continuing liquidity...within 'existing rules'...ends Monday.
      Over the weekend...thousands withdrew as much money as they could from their banks.
      ATM machines ran out of cash...even after banks limited withdrawals to 260 euros.
      Banks have reduced withdrawals even further...to 100-120 euros.
       NEW!!!  http://www.france24.com/en/20130321-closure-fears-spark-run-cyprus-popular-bank
      Many of the ATMs have been restocked.
      But wire transfers are still frozen.
      Cash is king...for all island businesses.
      Credit card purchases are not being accepted.
      Private jets belonging to Russian companies and oligarchs are reportedly lined-up... waiting at the island's main airport...to flee with their money when it finally becomes available.
      Germany and the Troika allowed Cyprus to 'amend' original terms of the bailout...as long as 5.8 billion euros were delivered.
      In what the ECB and IMF called a one-off...all Cypriot savers initially were punished to save the island's banks...so the small nation qualified for a 10 billion euro/$13 billion bailout...and avoided default.
      The first ECB proposal would have levied a one time 9.9% tax on deposits of more than 100,000 euros...and 6.75% tax on lesser amounts.
       Paymaster Berlin required Cypriot officials to collect 5.8 billion euros...and have 'skin in the game.'
      After 2 years...remaining savers would be given shares in bank bonds...backed by possible nat gas reserves...equal to the taxed amount.
      The new Plan B being discussed involves tapping the island's $5.4 billion semi-private pension plans...selling nat gas bonds...as well as 2 major banks...along with imposing capital controls.
      But Berlin adamantly refuses to let Nicosia use pension funds to supplement the needed monies.
      The first parliamentary vote was postponed because of citizen anger.
      Addressing the nation on TV...new President Nicos Anastasiades...called the island's banking crisis the 'worst in decades' since the 1974 invasion by the Turks.
      He warns that 2 large banks will collapse if the bailout tax is defeated. 
      It's the first time the ECB has required a punishing tax on 'insured' savers for a member nation needing a bailout....scaring other Eurozone savers...especially those in troubled Italy and Spain.
       Savers had been receiving between 4%-5% interest on their Cyprus bank deposits.
      Reuters reports that Cyprus has 30 billion euros in insured accounts...and 38 billion in larger uninsured account.
      As much as 33% of Cyprus bank deposits...some say more than 30 billion euros...is Russian money...much of it believed to be illegally laundered.
       Over 60,00 British ex-pat retirees are said to have Cyprus bank savings deposits.
      Economists say that if the current bank tax is enacted...Russians will withdraw billions from Cyprus...punishing the island for its massive losses...perhaps condemning it to 'decades of recession.'
      The island desperately wants to keep promoting itself as an offshore tax haven...and financial center.
     With a population of over 800,000...Cyprus is the 4th Eurozone nation requiring a bailout.

 !!!NEW!!! How once conservative Cyprus banking...turned bad...beginning in 2008...with entering the Eurozone.

      Some Greeks praise Cyprus savers and lawmakers for saying NO to bailout tax.
Merkel continues to get most of the blame...and anger. But Germans are delighted.

    Berlin vows...NOT to give in, this time...even if Cyprus must leave the Eurozone.