Sunday, December 23, 2012

23/12/2012: State Aid in EU27 & Ireland

Yesterday, the EU Commission released updated analysis of state aid expenditures, covering 2012 data. The document, titled "State aid Scoreboard 2012 Update Report on State aid granted by the EU Member States - 2012 Update" is available here.

Here are some interesting bits:

"Between 1 October 2008 and 1 October 2012, the Commission approved aid to the financial sector totalling €5,058.9 billion (40.3% of EU GDP). The bulk of the aid was authorised in 2008 when €3,394 billion (27.7% of EU GDP) was approved, mainly comprising guarantees on banks’ bonds and deposits. After 2008, the aid approved focused more on recapitalisation of banks and impaired asset relief rather than on guarantees, while more recently a new wave of guarantee measures was approved mainly by those countries experiencing an increase in their sovereign spreads, such as Spain and Italy.

Between 2008 and 2011,  the overall amount of aid used  amounted to  €1,615.9 billion (12.8% of EU GDP).  Guarantees accounted for the largest part amounting to roughly €1,084.8 billion (8.6% of EU GDP), followed by recapitalisation €322.1 billion (2.5% of EU GDP), impaired assets €119.9 (0.9% of EU GDP) and liquidity measures €89 billion (0.7% of EU GDP)."

In other words, keeping up the pretense of solvency in the legacy banking system of the EU (primarily that of the EA17) has created a cumulated risk exposure of €5.06 trillion (over 40% of the entire EU27 GDP). With such level of supports, is it any wonder there basically no new competition emerging in the sector in Europe.

"In 2011, the Commission  approved aid to the financial sector  amounting to  €274.4 billion (2% of EU GDP). The new aid approved was concentrated in a few countries and involved guarantees for €179.7 billion, liquidity measures for € 50.2 billion, recapitalisations for €38.1 billion and impaired asset relief for € 6.4 billion.

The overall volume of aid used in 2011 amounted to € 714.7 billion, or 5.7% of EU GDP. Outstanding guarantees stood at € 521.8 billion and new guarantees issues amounted to €110.9 billion. Liquidity interventions amounted to € 43.7 billion and new liquidity provided in 2011 stood at €6.5 billion. Recapitalisation amounted to € 31.7 billion. No aid was granted through the authorised impaired assets measures."

Some illustrations of historical trends.

First non-crisis aid:

Amongst the euro area 12 states, Ireland has the fourth highest level of state aid over the period 1992-2011 and this is broken into 5th highest in the period of convergence with the EA12 (1992-1999), 5th highest for the period of the monetary bubble formation (2000-2007) and the second highest for the period of the crisis (2008-2011).

Relative to EU27, Irish state aid was above EU27 average in 1992-1994, 1998-2002, 2007-2011. In other words, Ireland's state aid was in excess of EU27 for 13 out of 20 years. And that despite the fact that our income convergence to the EU standards was completed somewhere around 1998-1999.

In terms of financial sector supports during the crisis, we are in a unique position:

The overall level of supports for financial sector in Ireland is so out of line with reality that our state aid to insolvent financial institutions stood at 365% of our GDP in 2011 or roughly 460% of our GNP. In other words, relative to the size of our economy, the moral hazard created by the Government (and Central Bank / FR) handling of the financial crisis in Ireland is now in excess of measures deployed by the second and third worst-off countries in EU27 (Denmark and Belgium) combined.

The chart above shows that Guarantees amounted to 246.7% of GDP in Ireland, almost identical to 245.7% of GDP in Denmark. Which means that our Guarantees were basically equivalent to those of seven worst-off Euro area countries combined.

However, stripping out the Guarantees, the picture becomes even less palatable for Ireland:

Ex-Guarantees, Irish State supports for the financial sector were more than 10 times the scale of EU27 supports and at 118.4% of GDP amounted to almost the combined supports extended by all EA12 states (123.2% of GDP).

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