Italy Granted "Extraordinary " €150BN Bank Bailout Program To Prevent "Panic, Run On Deposits"
As we noted today, the rumors of an Italian bank bailout, which started on Monday morning, and were promptly shot down by Merkel the next day, got louder today after a Reuters report that the government is considering more creative ways to inject liquidity into Italy's banks. However that was just an appetizer to a main course, which came later today when as the WSJ reported citing a spokeswoman for the European Union’s executive arm that the "European Commission has authorized Italy to use government guarantees to create a precautionary liquidity support program for their banks."
How did this happen so quietly under the table and without Merkel's blessing? WSJ says that the program was approved under the bloc’s “extraordinary crisis rules for state aid."
And here we thought that Italy's banks are actually doing so very well. Oh wait, no we didn't.
As the WSJ notes, the proposed "crisis" plan is the "other leg of an intervention plan considered by the government" namely, the direct capital injection into Italian banks that would add up to €40 billion in capital to the banking sector", the one we profiled previously. It is also the plan that Merkel supposedly shut down before it got off the ground. However, Europe had a Plan B up its sleeve.
What are the details of this latest "crisis" program?
According to an EU official, the liquidity support program includes up to €150 billion ($166 billion) in government guarantees. The WSJ adds that the commission spokeswoman declined to comment on the amount of guarantees that were authorized, but said that the budget requested by the Italian government had been found to be proportionate. The Italian economy ministry declined to comment.
An amusing sidebar: "only solvent banks would qualify for the liquidity support program, which has been authorized until the end of the year." The problem is that with €360 billion in NPLs, every bank in Italy is insolvent, which implicitly means that they will all be found to be solvent or otherwise nobody will benefit.
Confirming the severity of the Italian fiasco, is that the decision which was taken on Sunday, had not been previously disclosed until the WSJ reported on it and "appears to be a first indication of governments moving to shore up banks in the wake of market turbulence following the Brexit referendum in the U.K."
In other words, just as we said before, Brexit was nothing more than a Europe-blessed "crisis" ploy designed to achieve two things: unleash more QE, which the BOE admitted will happen (most likely with the involvement of the ECB), and ii) to facilitate the bailout of insolvent Italian banks. To wit: