The eurozone banking system is on the edge of collapse as major lenders begin to run out of the assets they need to keep vital funding lines open.
10:01PM GMT 09 Dec 2011
Senior analysts and traders warned of impending bank failures as a summit intended to solve the European crisis failed to deliver a solution that eased concerns over bank funding.
The European Central Bank admitted it had held meetings about providing emergency funding to the region's struggling banks, however City figures said a "collateral crunch" was looming.
"If anyone thinks things are getting better then they simply don't understand how severe the problems are. I think a major bank could fail within weeks," said one London-based executive at a major global bank.
Many banks, including some French, Italian and Spanish lenders, have already run out of many of the acceptable forms of collateral such as US Treasuries and other liquid securities used to finance short-term loans and have been forced to resort to lending out their gold reserves to maintain access to dollar funding. [And] lenders are increasingly distrustful about funding one another.
... [Some] think the eurozone banks are heading for a catastrophe and the worry is growing that a major bank could collapse within weeks... Moody's on Friday downgraded France's three largest banks, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale in light of what the US rating agency said were "liquidity and funding constraints"... Two weeks ago, rumours abounded that it was the near failure of a major French lender that had been the trigger for a massive co-ordinated intervention by the world's largest central banks to shore up the banking system.
The delusional politiconomist Paul Krugman hardest hit.