An unprecedented retreat by the euro zone’s banks

By Anne-Laure Delatte, CNRS, OFCE, CEPR, Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University

Another small step was taken last month towards a euro zone banking union when the European Commission presented its proposal for the union’s Single Resolution Fund [1].  While observers generally agree that the 55 billion euros in the Fund are just a drop in the ocean, we show in a recent study that the euro zone’s banks are increasingly isolated from the rest of the world (Bouvatier, Delatte, 2014 [2]). In reality, the fragmentation of the euro zone’s banks that the banking union is supposed to resolve is merely one aspect of the international disintegration of Europe’s banks. Continue reading “An unprecedented retreat by the euro zone’s banks”

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Cyprus: a well-conceived plan, a country in ruins…

By Anne-Laure Delatte and Henri Sterdyniak

The plan that has just been adopted sounds the death knell for the banking haven in Cyprus and implements a new principle for crisis resolution in the euro zone: banks must be saved by the shareholders and creditors without using public money. [1] This principle is fair. Nevertheless, the recession in Cyprus will be deep, and the new extension of the Troika’s powers further discredits the European project. Once again the latest developments in the crisis are laying bare the deficiencies in euro zone governance. It is necessary to save the euro zone almost every quarter, but every rescue renders the zone’s structure even more fragile. Continue reading “Cyprus: a well-conceived plan, a country in ruins…”

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The ban on naked CDS takes effect

By Anne-Laure Delatte

The small CDS market serves as an instrument for coordinating speculation against European states. To stop the speculation, the European Union recently adopted a new regulation that came into force on 1 November. Unfortunately, this new law, though pioneering and ambitious, suffers from flaws that render it ineffective. This provides an example of how the interests of a single economic sector can capture policy. Continue reading “The ban on naked CDS takes effect”

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The crisis and market sentiment

By Anne-Laure Delatte

Fundamental factors alone cannot explain the European crisis. A new OFCE working document shows the impact of market beliefs during this crisis. In this study, we search for where market sentiments are formed and through what channels they are transmitted. What is it that tipped market optimism over into pessimism? Our results indicate that: 1) there is a strong self-fulfilling dynamic in the European crisis: fear of default is precisely what leads to default, and 2) the small market for credit derivatives, credit default swaps (CDS), insurance instruments that were designed to protect against the risk of a borrower’s default, is the leading catalyst of market sentiment. This result should be of great concern to the politicians in charge of financial regulation, since the CDS market is opaque and concentrated, two characteristics that are conducive to abusive behaviour. Continue reading “The crisis and market sentiment”

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