Saturday, May 16, 2009

Germany: Bank bail-outs

This week, the German cabinet agreed to propose to the parliament a scheme to enable the country's banks to remove remaining "toxic" assets from their balance sheets. How? The banks will be able to swap their toxic debt for government-backed bonds worth 90% of the value of the toxic assets. In return they will pay an annual fee. This toxic debt will be "stored" for up to 20 years. If approved by the parliament, the scheme will be financed by Germany's existing 500bn euros bank rescue fund.

NB: I recall, some weeks ago, that a proposal had been agreed by the German government cabinet (a historic coalition between the country's two main parties, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats) that would allow for the temporary "nationalisation" of any German banks, if needed. I have not kept up with the issue (eg was it finally agreed and was it passed by the 2 chambers of the German parliament?), and I am not sure how it relates to the above scheme.
The Bank of England's announcement that it would keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5%. The Bank of England also said it would pump an extra BP 50 bn into the UK economy via purchases of government and corporate debt, extending its planned spending to £125bn.

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