Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Next Spark?

A potentially very troubling bit of financial news from Cyprus:
ATHENS — In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the euro zone, anxious depositors drained cash from automated teller machines in Cyprus over the weekend, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new €10 billion bailout be paid for directly from the bank accounts of ordinary savers....
Under an emergency deal reached early Saturday in Brussels, a one-time tax of 9.9 percent is to be levied on Cypriot bank deposits of more than €100,000 effective Tuesday, hitting wealthy depositors — mostly Russians who have put vast sums into Cyprus’s banks in recent years. But even deposits of less than that amount are to be taxed at 6.75 percent, meaning that Cypriot creditors will be confiscating money directly from retirees, workers and regular depositors to pay off the bailout tab.  
As some have noted, this kind of move could lead to a spike of uncertainty and increase the instability of banks across the EU (and elsewhere in the world).

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