Posts Tagged ‘anglo irish bank’

Is Ireland On The Brink Of Economic Collapse?

November 23rd, 2010 Comments off

The Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, Brian Cowen, has a paper-thin majority of a mere three seat in the Dail, Ireland’s parliament. Its junior coalition partner, the Green Party, is already threatening to pull out and force a general election, unless Cowen agrees to call new elections by late January. Whether or not the current Irish government is forced into an immediate dissolution of the Dail, or agrees to new elections in January, it faces certain retribution at the hands of an increasingly irate and depressed Irish electorate.

There are two primary causes to the soon-to-be finale of the Cowen government. The first involves the disastrous management of the Irish economy and its acute financial crisis. Reckless speculation by the Anglo-Irish Bank created one of the worst banking crises amid the global financial crisis of 2008. As in other countries facing a similar predicament, the Irish government used the taxpayers of the nation as a backstop for the banking system. In effect, the troubled institution was nationalized, and the entire banking system had its deposits and obligations underwritten by the government, meaning the taxpaying citizens. The net effect has been an ever-escalating figure for the cost of bailing out Anglo-Irish Bank, and the concomitant public obligation to cover the surreal expenses of the banking bailout. While the banking system was being “saved,” the ordinary citizens of Ireland have been punished with higher taxes in synchronization with sharp cuts in social appending, as the unemployment rate reached historic highs.

Despite the cuts in public spending and tax increases, the cost of the bank bailout and the increasing spreads  on government bonds defied the ability of a nation of four and a half million people to cover such a large fiscal obligation. Yet, when word leaked out regarding the secret negotiations between Dublin, the EU, IMF and European Central Bank over the terms of a bailout of Ireland itself, the Cowen government at first sharply denied the widely circulated accounts. It turns out that the Cowen government was lying through its teeth, and has now openly admitted to the need for an EU bailout of the Republic of Ireland, to the tune of at least $120 billion.

With Ireland already confronting an annual deficit equal to about 35 percent of its GDP, the even higher levels of tax increases and public spending cuts the EU and IMF bailout will require, on top of the emergence of political instability, point to the meager prospects for the long-term future of the Irish economy. Her sovereign debt crisis is now clearly of catastrophic proportions, and the Irish nation is facing the very real danger of a sustained economic implosion.

First it was Greece and now it is Ireland. In each case, the European policymakers boasted that their massive binge of public borrowing to put together sovereign bailout packages has saved the continent from a much worse financial and economic disaster. But given their track record, how certain can we be that Portugal and Spain won’t be the next dominos to fall? The financial and economic disarray within the European Union appears to be metastasizing rapidly.

Irish Debt and Banking Crisis Creates Political Time Bomb in Ireland

November 20th, 2010 Comments off

At first the Irish government, headed by Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach, denied the reports that Dublin was talking to the European Central Bank about a bailout. But with the ECB, EU and IMF shuttling into Dublin by the planeload for meetings with key Irish economic and financial policymakers, Cowen and his ruling party have been forced to admit what the whole world already knew; Ireland is in advanced negotiations with the ECB and IMF for a vast financial bailout, measured in the tens of billions of euros.

In a fierce editorial, the Irish Times asked rhetorically; is this what Irish patriots sacrificed their lives for in the Easter Rebellion of 1916? As the editorial points out, Ireland struggled for its national sovereignty, not for a corrupt and incompetent clique of politicians to bankrupt the nation, forcing it to beg for a handout, in the process eroding what is left of its national sovereignty.

As  in Iceland and Greece, the financial and economic crisis in Ireland, in her case driven by the reckless speculation of the Anglo-Irish Bank that necessitated a massive taxpayer bailout (according to the same politicians who allowed the speculation in the first place) is about to morph into a political crisis. Until recently, some commentators have expressed amazement at the restraint of the Irish people, as their taxes exploded along with the unemployment rate, while social spending plummeted in order to finance the massive bailout costs involved in rescuing Anglo-Irish Bank. However, with the combination of a looming bailout with strings attached, coming after the outright deception of the Irish government, public anger may be about to explode. The revised Anglo-Irish bailout costs will push Ireland’s deficit to an incredulous 35 percent of GDP. This is not only unsustainable; it will break the back of what is left of social restraint in Ireland. The bailout package being put together by the ECB and IMF is unlikely to prevent the public outrage that will gather momentum, as hinted at in the Irish Times editorial.

More Warning Signs of Worsening Eurozone Fiscal Crisis

November 12th, 2010 Comments off
The Financial Times is reporting that Ireland’s fiscal debacle, facilitated by the government’s decision to bailout Anglo-Irish Bank at public expense, is beginning to inflict collateral damage on the wider Eurozone. Specifically, Italy and Spain are seeing their government bond yields escalate in lockstep with Ireland.

In effect, as the FT puts it, the bond vigilantes are already expecting Greece, Italy and Portugal to default on their public debt, and that Ireland and Portugal will need to follow Greece in seeking a Eurozone bailout.

As the sovereign debt crisis in Europe remains volatile and unpredictable, how long can the current low yields of U.S. Treasuries last, as bond vigilantes begin to look at recent moves by the Federal Reserve, in particular the second round of quantitative easing? It may not be long before the Eurozone public debt crisis claims not only more European victims, but also migrates to the United States.


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Irish Prime Minister Predicts Cost of Anglo Irish Bank Bailout for Ireland’s Taxpayers is 70 Billion Euros

September 4th, 2010 Comments off

Ireland’s own case of a financial institution that is “too big to fail” will probably in the end impose a penalty of €70billion on the already beleaguered people of Ireland, according to a prediction made by the Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen . The tale of woes concerning this bank I have reported on in a previous blog posting.  Let us just point out that if this projection is correct, every man, woman and child in Ireland, which has a population of about 6.2 million, will pay 11,280 euros for this financial disaster not of their making, or about 14,500 U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate.

If a typical Irish family of four is told they must fork over approximately sixty thousand dollars to bailout the no doubt well paid (and well bunused) executives of  Anglo Irish Bank and their bond holders, will they remain quiescent? On top of massive unemployment, brutalizing austerity and a shaky economic future, the people of Ireland must now add  higher future taxes to pay off the excesses of a few to their growing tab of  financial and economic suffering.

Ireland’s Banking and Economic Crisis: Toxic Loans Surpass Estimate of Irish Government

March 31st, 2010 Comments off

Prior to Greece becoming the economic and financial basket case of Europe, it was Ireland that held that  dubious distinction. For when the global economic and financial crisis detonated with full fury in the fall of 2008, Ireland’s own version of the real estate asset bubble imploded, transforming the balance sheets of the nation’s major banks into a toxic waste dump.

As with  America and the UK, Irish politicians informed their nation’s citizens that the big banks must not be allowed to fail, and therefore the taxpayers would pay for the egregious financial miscalculations of the high-priced “talent” that led these Irish  financial institutions into the abyss. While the United States came up with its TARP taxpayers bailout, Ireland formulated its own unique response, the so-called NAMA, the acronym for National Asset Management Agency. NAMA was, in effect, a “bad bank,” which would take the toxic assets off the balance sheets of Ireland’s large banks, in particular the Anglo Irish bank, in return for sovereign bonds. The expectation was that Irish taxpayers would have to accept large losses, but in return the nation’s banks would return to fiscal health, and be able to resume normal patterns of credit and loan creation.

The “bad bank” approach had many critics, appalled that taxpayers money was being used to backstop  private sector losses, in exchange for vague promises by politicians that the end result would be therapeutic for the national economy’s ills. No less an authority than Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize winning economist, expressed great scepticism over the efficacy of Dublin’s taxpayer funded bank bailout. Onward with the “bad bank” concept the government proceeded, anyways, oblivious to its critics.

Now the Irish political leadership has informed its sombre citizenry that the banking crisis was far worse than first believed. When NAMA was first established, the authorities believed that the toxic loans being acquired for the “bad bank” would need to be discounted by 30%. Now, an embarrassed government concedes, the actual discount of these toxic loans are coming in at a far worse level, a miserable 47%. Ireland’s beleaguered Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, has stated that the Anglo Irish bank alone would be receiving from the taxpayers €8.3 billion in just the coming week, with a strong possibility that an additional €10 billion would almost certainly be required to cover anticipated losses at Anglo Irish Bank. All told, it is now being declared by Dublin that toxic loans by Ireland’s banks may cost taxpayers  a staggering €32 billion, equal to more than $43 billion at the current exchange rate. Considering that Ireland has a population of 6.2 million, this reflects a charge of nearly $7000 for every Irish man, woman and child towards the cost of bailing out financial institutions that, in the words of Finance Minister Lenihan, “played fast and loose” with Ireland’s national economy.