Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Greeks Taking Money from Banks to Store in Garages: No End to EU Crisis

As I've argued before, EU leaders have shown very little evidence that they are capable of taking the bold steps necessary to contain the crisis. Italy and Spain's continuing troubles show that markets have no faith in these band-aid measures and that they next crisis is not too far off. A recent article in the Guardian about a silent bank run in Greece is scary:
In May alone, almost €5bn (£4.4bn) was pulled out of Greek deposits, as part of what analysts describe as a "silent bank run". This version is also disorderly and jittery, just not as obvious. Customers do not form long queues outside branches, they simply squirrel out as much as they can.
One senior investment banker [said]: "People are scared that the government doesn't know what the fuck it's doing." He tells a story about an acquaintance who took out €30,000, wrapped it in a bag and stashed it in his garage. "The bag had previously had some food inside," he says. "So it attracted rats, who ate the notes."

These sorts of stories remind one of the Great Depression and it is incredible to read about it happening so close to home in this day and age.