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Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Irish American solution?

The FT reports that the Irish government’s emergency move has enraged British and European officials and may fall foul of the European Commission’s rules on state aid by offering competitive advantages to some Irish banks. This sounds absurd in view of the state aid by 6 EU states (including to Fortis and Dexia, Northern Rock, B&B) and variously many others via the central banks' lqiquidity injections etc. The European Commission said it was looking to see whether state aid was involved, which may invite the usual questions about bears in woods etc. except that depositor guarantees do require the deposit-takers to pay part or all of this insurance cost! In the UK, PM Brown indicated readiness to consider increasing savers’ deposits guarantees from £35,000 to £50,000 but not want until the markets had calmed down - why that? Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, it is claimed would resist this, because any guarantees would represent too much moral hazard - another absurdity in current circumstances and given that these guarantees are not permanent. Jim Stride, MD Axa investment managers UK, said UK should “consider the introduction of a full guarantee for UK deposits with duly authorised deposit taking companies along the lines announced by the Irish authorities”, to which he might have added the new US plan, TARP 2, given that both US presidential candidates called for an increase in the guarantees to savers, from $100,000 to $250,000, so that surely is bound to happen? Alistair Darling, the UK Chancellor (Finance Minister) held a conference call with the CEOs of the UK’s largest banks to discuss responses to the crisis, and probably they decided to wait for the US senate vote and its impact on the markets?
Read David McWilliams on Ireland's move:

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