Tuesday, April 30, 2013

30/4/2013: The latest from the island nuked by the Troika 'rescuers'



Cypriot Parliament has narrowly (29:27 votes) approved the EU 'rescue' package agreement that covers EUR 17 billion in funds, according to the majority of the media analysts. Alas, the devil of the package is in the details.

Cyprus is not (repeat - not) getting EUR 17 billion in funds. Instead the package lists the following sources of funding:
- EUR 1.2 billion to be raised via losses on junior bonds in Popular and BoC
- The “bailin” of uninsured depositors (deposits in excess of EUR 100K) and senior bondholders is set to yield €8.3 billion
- EUR 10 billion loan from the euro zone and the IMF of which the IMF will provide EUR 1 billion (http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2013/pr13103.htm)
- EUR 1 billion from rolling over domestically-held government bonds, plus EUR 100 million from extending Russian bilateral loan
- EUR 0.4 billion from gold sales by the Cypriot central bank and EUR 0.5 billion from privatizations

Grand total is, therefore, EUR 1.2 + 8.3 + 10 + 1.1 + 0.9 = EUR 21.5 billion.

Per preliminary MOU, Cyprus 'programme' has three core pillars:

"The first pillar aims to restore the health of the financial system and minimize the contingent liabilities from the banks to the state." This includes haircuts on depositors and bondholders in the first stage - as confirmed in the today's approval vote. In later stages, this involves "a substantial reduction in the size of the banking system in relation to the economy as well as in restructuring and recapitalization of one of the banks."

“The second pillar entails an ambitious and well-paced fiscal adjustment that balances short-run cyclical concerns and long-run sustainability objectives, while protecting vulnerable groups. In addition to the fiscal consolidation already underway—estimated at about 5 percent of GDP— an additional 2 percent of GDP in measures will be implemented during the program period, including by raising the corporate income tax rate from 10 to 12 ½ percent and the tax rate on interest income from 15 to 30 percent. An additional 4½ percent of GDP in measures will be needed over the medium term to achieve a 4 percent of GDP primary surplus by 2018, which is required to put debt on a firmly downward path. There will be protection for the most vulnerable groups. The social welfare system will be reviewed to streamline administration costs, minimize the overlap of existing programs, and improve their targeting to ensure that public resources reach those in need."

The third pillar, per usual IMF waffle, involves 'structural reforms'. “To complement the fiscal consolidation efforts, the program will undertake substantial structural reforms aimed to improve the effectiveness of the public sector. The state’s capacity to collect revenues will be strengthened with the implementation of a comprehensive reform agenda to modernize and harmonize procedures, improve internal coordination, and exploit economies of scale. Public financial management reforms will include the implementation of a medium-term budget framework and the adoption of a law on fiscal responsibility. In addition, to enhance the efficiency of the economy and reduce public debt, viable state-owned enterprises will be privatized. Finally, based on an assessment of needs, the program will supplement the recent reform of the pension system with additional measures to ensure its long-run sustainability.

In short, Cyprus gets the usual Troika 'Package +' of big-bang commitments delivery of which will be measured as common not by achieved sustainability or risk metrics, but by passed legislation and enacted legal changes (paper ahead of real impact). And the '+' bit refers to the total wrecking of the Cypriot economy under the reforms of the banking sector and international financial services sector, plus tax hikes which will assure that if there is any oil / gas off-shore, Cypriots will be out with shovels and snorkelling masks to dig every hydrocarbon molecule out to repay these debts.
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