Thursday, June 14, 2012

ESM Flaws Emerge Prior to Ratification

On Monday, in Unending Subordination of Private Creditors Continues, I noted that the terms of Spain’s bank bailout had yet to be determined. More specifically, it remains unclear if the funds will come from the EFSF or ESM:
If funds for Spain's banks come from the EFSF, the new loans would not explicitly be senior to other private claims but Spain would no longer be able to guarantee the previous loans to Greece, Ireland and Portugal. If the funds come from the ESM (which has yet to be ratified by Germany), the new loans would explicitly be senior to other private claims, however Spain could continue to guarantee loans from the EFSF and ESM.
Although these questions remain unanswered, Mike ‘Mish” Shedlock sheds light on the ESM and asks if there are Any Rabbits Left in the Hat?
Assuming the treaty passes, please turn your attention to Article 41.
ARTICLE 41 ... payment of paid-in shares of the amount initially subscribed by each ESM Member shall be made in five annual instalments of 20 % each of the total amount. The first instalment shall be paid by each ESM Member within fifteen days of the date of entry into force of this Treaty. The remaining four instalments shall each be payable on the first, second, third and fourth anniversary of the payment date of the first instalment.  

Mish’s reader, Brett, who pointed out the above article then offers a breakdown of each country’s contribution in the first year.

Capital Contribution Analysis

ESM MemberCapital subscription (EUR)2012 Contribution (20%)
Kingdom of Belgium€ 24,339,700,000.00€ 4,867,940,000
Federal Republic of Germany€ 190,024,800,000.00€ 38,004,960,000
Republic of Estonia€ 1,302,000,000.00€ 260,400,000
Ireland€ 11,145,400,000.00€ 2,229,080,000
Hellenic Republic€ 19,716,900,000.00€ 3,943,380,000
Kingdom of Spain€ 83,325,900,000.00€ 16,665,180,000
French Republic€ 142,701,300,000.00€ 28,540,260,000
Italian Republic€ 125,395,900,000.00€ 25,079,180,000
Republic of Cyprus€ 1,373,400,000.00€ 274,680,000
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg€ 1,752,800,000.00€ 350,560,000
Malta€ 511,700,000.00€ 102,340,000
Kingdom of the Netherlands€ 40,019,000,000.00€ 8,003,800,000
Republic of Austria€ 19,483,800,000.00€ 3,896,760,000
Portuguese Republic€ 17,564,400,000.00€ 3,512,880,000
Republic of Slovenia€ 2,993,200,000.00€ 598,640,000
Slovak Republic€ 5,768,000,000.00€ 1,153,600,000
Republic of Finland€ 12,581,800,000.00€ 2,516,360,000
Total€ 700,000,000,000.00€ 140,000,000,000
Less Spain-16,665,180,000
Total Less Spain€ 123,334,820,000
Less Greece-3,943,380,000
Total Less Spain + Greece€ 119,391,440,000
Less Portugal-3,512,880,000
Total Less Spain + Greece + Portugal€ 115,878,560,000

Brett argues that Spain, Greece and Portugal will not be able to contribute given their current public debt troubles. This may be true, but it seems to ignore a specific advantage of the ESM over the EFSF (as noted above), which is that countries can continue to provide guarantees while receiving loans from the fund.

Assuming that Spain contributes their portion, the contributions of Greece and Portugal remain dubious. Would the EU provide new bailouts so that those countries could meet their commitments? Also, what about Ireland and Cyprus? Having been shut out of debt markets, will those countries increase their public debt further in order to provide capital to the ESM?

Even if all €140 billion is obtained, the current Spanish bank bailout of €100 billion will deplete most of the current funds. Given that Irish banks remain insolvent and Spanish banks will require far greater sums, where will the next round of funding come from? Yields on Spanish and Italian debt are already unsustainable and rising fast, even before these large capital contributions are made. What happens if Spain or Italy requires a bailout for their public debt later in the year?

When the ESM was proposed, the notion of a €700 billion bailout fund sounded impressive. It’s now clear that the structure of subordinating private debt places upward pressure on yields and the sum is utterly inadequate for the task at hand. Whether or not the ESM gets ratified in the near future, the crisis will continue.

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