Nothing can save Europe.
October 20, 2011 Leave a comment
There is no way that Europe can bail itself out. This guy makes the case with four facts:
FACT #1: Europe’s entire banking system is leveraged at 25 to 1.
This is nearly two times the US’s leverage levels. With this amount of leverage you only need a 4% drop in asset prices to wipe out ALL equity.These are literally borderline-Lehman levels of leverage (Lehman was 30 to 1).
Mind you, these leverage levels are based on asset values the banks claimare accurate. Real leverage levels are in fact likely much MUCH higher.
FACT #2: European Financial Corporations are collectively sitting on debt equal to 148% of TOTAL EU GDP.
Yes, financial firms’ debt levels in Europe exceed Europe’s ENTIRE GDP. These are just the financial firms. We’re not even bothering to mention non-financial corporate debt, household debt, sovereign debt, etc.
Also remember, collectively, the EU is the largest economy in the world (north of $16 trillion). So we’re talking about over $23 TRILLION in debt sitting on European financials’ balance sheets.
Oh, I almost forgot, this data point only includes “on balance sheet” debt. We’re totally ignoring off-balance sheet debt, derivatives, etc. So REAL financial corporate debt is much MUCH higher.
FACT #3: European banks need to roll over between 15% and 50% of their total debt by the end of 2012.
That’s correct, European banks will have to roll over HUGE quantities of their debt before the end of 2012. Mind you, we’re only talking aboutmaturing debt. We’re not even considering NEW debt or equity these banks will have to issue to raise capital.
Considering that even the “rock solid” German banks need to raise over $140 BILLION in new capital alone, we’re talking about a TON of debt issuance coming out of Europe’s banks in the next 14 months.
And this is happening in an environment prone to riots, bank runs, and failed bond auctions (Germany just had a failed bond auction yesterday).
FACT #4: In order to meet current unfunded liabilities (pensions, healthcare, etc) without defaulting or cutting benefits, the average EU nation would need to have OVER 400% of its current GDP sitting in a bank account collecting interest.
This last data point comes from Jagadeesh Gokhale, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, former consultant to the US Treasury, and former Senior Economic Advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
This is a guy who’s worked at a very high level on the inside studying sovereign finance, which makes this fact all the more disturbing. And he knew this as far back as January 2009!!!
Folks, the EFSF, the bailouts, China coming to the rescue… all of that stuff is 100% pointless in the grand scheme of things. Europe’s ENTIRE banking system (with few exceptions) is insolvent. Numerous entire European COUNTRIES are insolvent. Even the more “rock solid” countries such as Germany (who is supposed to save Europe apparently) have REAL Debt to GDP ratios of over 200% and STILL HAVEN’T RECAPITALIZED THEIR BANKS.
If Europe is to get out of this disaster, the answer is not bailouts. The mammoth debt must be liquidated. Big banks who made bad loans to profligate governments need to take their losses and go bankrupt. Anyone who is holding out, expecting some kind of economic voodoo miracle, needs to take their head out of the sand and recognize that solving the European debt crisis with bailouts is impossible.
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