2011: Year of the bank run?

Posted by Ian Cooper - Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

From Fortune:

"It shows that the solutions policymakers slapped together in the fall of 2008 helped in some cases to create even bigger problems -- ones that are now coming due.

Unconditionally guaranteeing bank deposits is just such a policy, in a country where loan losses made the banks insolvent, job loss left many taxpayers peniless and deposits now at least double annual economic output.

And this time, given the unpopularity of bailouts and dysfunctional European politics, there is ample reason to fear the banking mess won't so easily be swept aside.

"Facing facts like these, each morning when I wake up I have to wonder, 'Why is today not a good day for a wholesale run on the Irish banking system?'" asks Scott Minerd, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners. "And if there is a wholesale run on the Irish banking system, then what stops the same scenario from cascading into Portugal, Greece, Italy, and most importantly, Spain?"

That is very much the question being asked in bond markets, where the cost of borrowing surged in all the so-called peripheral European countries in the second half of 2010. The yield on Irish 10-year government bonds, for instance, surged to 9% at year-end from around 5% in August."

Read more here.

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