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Nama chickens coming home to roost

Smart Taxes warned against the rosy picture the government painted for its Nama bailout plan. It depended on  manic phase optimistic scenarios re recoverability of loans and property price recovery plus a saintlike charity from the ECB in terms of the discount window. This fanstasy is now being shown up for what it is in the cold light of day. Does the Irish public really understand the implications of this disastrous policy? Probably not.  It will come again, as did the property collapse and the banking collapse, as a ‘big suprise’. Here is as cogent a warning as anyone could want from Dr Constantin Gurdgiev in True Economics.

Nama was painted as a socially responsible undertaking that will be reporting to the Government ministers on the issues of ‘social dividend’. It will provide housing for the poor and will take off the market vast surpluses of unwanted properties. Nama will also deliver a healthy dividend by charging local authorities for this ‘service’. But the local authorities will still somehow come on top by saving money.

Perhaps mindful of having produced too much gibberish of the above variety, our public representatives have started talking up the discounts that Nama will apply on loans it buys from the banks. Just 6 months or so ago Nama enthusiasts were saying that a 12-20 percent average discount will reflect the ‘true long term economic value’ of the loans? Now we are into 30-35 percent haircuts and rising.

The iron logic of finance tells us that the greater the discount Nama imposes the greater proportion of the original loan will have to be written down by the banks as a loss. This will require fresh capital, of which the taxpayers are the only source for no investor will be willing to buy new shares in Irish banks voluntarily.

By my estimates from some 9 months ago, the Irish banks will require Euro 10-13 billion of fresh capital the minute Nama goes through their books. After months of ignoring this prediction, the Government now admits as much.  ….

This arithmetic is not escaping the ECB. Since December, we are painfully aware of Frankfurt’s intentions to close the discount window through which Irish banks have already pumped some Euro 98 billion worth of junk-rated assets in exchange for cash. By all Euro area standards, Ireland – a minnow accounting for roughly 1.8 percent of the entire common currency economy – has swallowed about 19% of all cash released by the ECB since the beginning of the crisis. More than any other country in absolute terms. Add to that the prospect of Euro 59 billion worth of Nama bonds, plus another Euro 10-12 billion for banks recapitalization, Irish banking system bailout can cost ECB up to Euro 170 billion in loans secured against, you’ve guessed it – unfinished estates in the middle of nowhere.

So understandably, the ECB folks are worried. By May they will start reversing junk securities they loaned against out of their vaults and back into the banks. Should they succeed, Irish taxpayers will be stuck for more cash to plug the new hole in banks balancesheets.

Which in turn will drive the quality of our collateral even lower. Mortgage rates will climb by 100-150 basis points for those of us who are still paying them down. Cost of credit for businesses will rise well into double-digit figures. Credit cards, car loans, consumer loans – all will become as rare in Ireland as polar bears in Sahara. Taxes and charges will increase – by 15-20 percent on average over 2011-2013. Instead of banks stimulating demand for credit, as Alan Ahearne suggests, Ireland Inc will be back on the slippery slope toward deeper recession.

Ultimately, it is the prospect of Ireland sliding back to rival Greece as the drag on the Euro that has been bothering my friends, as well as the ECB and the EU Commission. Sadly, their concerns are our last line of defense against Nama. (link to article)

Posted in Money Systems, News.

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