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NÓS VISTOS POR ELES: A intervenção no BES vista pelo FT

O Financial Times coloca reservas ao modelo de intervenção que não segue o modelo europeu. Não me parece que estejam a ter em consideração que com o BES minado pelos Espírito Santo o bail-in teria sido um desastre irremediável e não um risco provável.

«This year’s European bank stress tests will be different to the discredited processes of the past, officials insist. In one way, at least, they have already been proved right. Under the old system, several banks collapsed shortly after passing their tests with flying colours. Now, a big bank rescue has come weeks before the latest examination of bank balance sheets concludes.

This weekend’s bailout of Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo was shrugged off by investors in the rest of Europe. But it provides two important lessons.

First, governments remain willing to mess with the capital structure of banks in unpredictable ways. A new “good bank”, Novo Banco, has been split off BES. Junior bonds and shares now depend on the dodgy assets left behind. Meanwhile, there is no risk of loss for the senior bonds or depositors moved to Novo Banco, even if it turns out that the old bank cannot meet its obligations. This odd balance sheet split moves value about in a way that is hard to understand. Shareholders and junior bondholders of BES are suffering. A straightforward bail-in might have hurt more, but might not.

Second, taxpayers may still be on the hook for banks. The bailout uses part of the model adopted by Europe, which will create a system to deal with broken banks over the next two years. Under the EU rules, investors must take losses of 8 per cent of bank assets before any bailout – enough to wipe out shares and junior debt in most banks. Any rescue would then be financed using money contributed by other banks.

Portugal’s central bank is lending €4.4bn to the bank industry-backed Resolution Fund to recapitalise Novo Banco. If it is sold for less, the industry should pay the difference. But, with the loan equal to half the market value of Portugal’s other banks, this looks optimistic.

If it goes well, shareholders of sensible banks will be bailing out lenders to a dodgy bank. If it does not, the central bank will be bailing them out. Either way, moral hazard rules.»

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