European banks may need massive bail-out (And how the Mainstream Media Manipulates the Info)
This is the original Article, published at 1:51PM GMT 11 Feb 2009 (Click Here)Now look at the Updated article at 3:50PM GMT 11 Feb 2009 (Click Here) The 16.3 Ttrillion Number Magically Dissapears from the article!!!
By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 1:51PM GMT 11 Feb 2009
A secret 17-page paper discussed by finance ministers, including the Chancellor Alistair Darling on Tuesday, also warned that government attempts to buy up or underwrite such assets could plunge the European Union into a deeper crisis.
National leaders and EU officials share fears that a second bank bail-out in Europe will raise government borrowing at a time when investors – particularly those who lend money to European governments – have growing doubts over the ability of countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Britain to pay it back.
“Estimates of total expected asset write-downs suggest that the budgetary costs – actual and contingent – of asset relief could be very large both in absolute terms and relative to GDP in member states,” the EC document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, cautioned. “
“It is essential that government support through asset relief should not be on a scale that raises concern about over-indebtedness or financing problems.”
European Commission officials have estimated that “impaired assets” may amount to 44pc of EU bank balance sheets. The Commission estimates that so-called financial instruments in the ‘trading book’ total £12.3 trillion (13.7 trillion euros), equivalent to about 33pc of EU bank balance sheets.
In addition, so-called ‘available for sale instruments’ worth £4trillion (4.5 trillion euros), or 11pc of balance sheets, are also added by the Commission to arrive at the headline figure of £16.3 trillion.
Banks account for their assets in different ways. Assets put into the “trading book” have to be marked to current market values, while those in the “banking book” are loans and other assets which the institution believes it can hold to maturity. Other assets are classified as “available for sale”, which are also marked to market values.
The Commission figure is significant because of the role EU officials will play in devising rules to evaluate “toxic” bank assets later this month. New moves to bail out banks will be discussed at an emergency EU summit at the end of February. The EU is deeply worried at widening spreads on bonds sold by different European countries.
In line with the risk, and the weak performance of some EU economies compared to others, investors are demanding increasingly higher interest to lend to countries such as Italy instead of Germany. Ministers and officials fear that the process could lead to vicious spiral that threatens to tear both the euro and the EU apart.
“Such considerations are particularly important in the current context of widening budget deficits, rising public debt levels and challenges in sovereign bond issuance,” the EC paper warned.