Sunday, October 19, 2008

Next up: Switzerland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Korea

Speaking of Iceland...

"Is Switzerland the next Iceland?"

[. . .]

The woes of its banks, and UBS in particular, have rocked Switzerland, where the financial sector accounts for almost 15 per cent of output. The government said it did not intend to hold the stake in UBS for many years and hoped to sell it to private investors soon. It will impose changes in corporate governance and risk controls in return for the state's support.

The capital increase will lift UBS's tier one capital ratio to 11.5 per cent by the end of the year from 10.4 per cent. After its fundraising, Credit Suisse's tier one ratio would have been 13.7 per cent at the end of September, compared with the 10.8 per cent the bank reported.

[. . .]

Like other governments, Switzerland has acted to try to stop the financial crisis wreaking havoc on the wider economy. With banks refusing to lend to each other, the cost and lack of credit for small businesses and corporations threatens to turn the economic downturn into a punishing recession.

"This package of measures will contribute to the lasting strengthening of the Swiss financial system," the government said. "The resulting stabilisation is beneficial for overall economic development in Switzerland and is in the interests of the economy as a whole."

Ukraine and Baltic states also hit hard by the financial crisis

With even the mighty Swiss banking system needing government support, it will come as little surprise that a swathe of emerging market economies are suddenly looking fragile.

Ukraine emerged yesterday as the winner of the title "the next Iceland", with the International Monetary Fund offering the former Soviet republic up to $14bn (£8bn) to shore up its financial system. An IMF delegation landed in the country on Wednesday to try to stabilise the country's battered banking sector and ailing currency, hit hard by the global financial crisis. The central bank was forced to impose restrictions on deposit withdrawals and lending after panicked savers rushed to empty their accounts, draining the banking system of more than $1.3bn. The authorities also had to rescue two key banks and battle a sharp fall in the currency as the stock market plunged.

Ukraine emerged as the biggest crisis after Hungary agreed to borrow up to €5bn from the European Central Bank. Capital Economics warned that there were risks for a swathe of emerging European economies in the Baltics and the Balkans, including Lithuania and Latvia.

Their problem is that they have been living beyond their means by borrowing to finance increases in their standard of living.

Jitters spread to Asia yesterday after Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, warned that Korean banks would struggle to repay their debt.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Counters
Staples Coupons