Monday, February 10, 2014

10/2/2014: Six Years to Admit the Obvious? Call in Europe...

There are two things to be said about the latest comments from Euro area's chief banking regulator, Danièle Nouy issued recently (see FT's piece from yesterday: "Let weak banks die, says eurozone super-regulator" for more):

  • They are so trivially obvious, that given it took EU 'leaders' 6 years to come up with them, one has to wonder if the EU mandarins have any capacity to supervise banks in the first place, and
  • Danièle Nouy deserves praise for speaking to the reality.

Here are the main points of what she said:

  1. “One of the biggest lessons of the current crisis is that there is no risk-free asset, so sovereigns are not risk-free assets. That has been demonstrated, so now we have to react.” Correct. But don't expect any change soon. 
  2. On the upcoming ECB tests: some banks need to fail for tests to be credible. 
  3. “We have to accept that some banks have no future,” she said, parrying speculation that a wave of consolidation could save the currency bloc’s weakest lenders. “We have to let some disappear in an orderly fashion, and not necessarily try to merge them with other institutions.”

You'd think all of the above should be trivial. And you would be right. Which makes the fact that these statements are front-page news in Europe ever so more amazing.

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