Monday 19 January 2009

All of a sudden, the promised land looks slightly less appealing

While browsing through my favourite bookmarked sites that I didn't get around to reading over the past week due to exam-week-induced little-to-no-attention-span state of mind, I found a slightly unsettling post on A Fistful of Euros. Bascially what happened over the past few months was that whenever the financial crisis was discussed in relation to Austrian economy, the argument would eventually be made that, since Austrian banks are so involved in Eastern European economies, they are safer than those who make business with the US. This seemed like a ridiculous assumption made in the face of a GLOBAL crisis, that was still spreading. Any country stating it was better off than the others was hit, sooner or later, by awful results and perspectives. My question was: if the investments made in Eastern Europe were just as risky as those made everywhere else, why would the mere fact that this is an emerging region that really needs investment make it fool-proof or less likely to fail?
The cited Standard-article was hard to find - this was not widely picked up by Austrian news. And this is strange, since it paints a very grim picture for the coming months.
"Die österreichischen Banken geraten zusehends in den Fokus von Analysten, die sich um das hohe Kreditobligo sorgen. In dieses Lied stimmt nun auch der Internationale Währungsfonds ein, der bei seiner letzten Sonderprüfung die Vorherrschaft des österreichischen Finanzsektors in den Reformländern trotz einiger Hinweise auf die Gefahren unter dem Strich gelobt hatte.
Das hat sich geändert. In einem unveröffentlichten Bericht warnt der Fonds aus Washington vor einem Flächenbrand, sollten die Banken wegen des Konjunkturabschwungs zum Rückzug blasen und Gelder abziehen. "Die wahrscheinliche Folge wäre ein Kreditschock in der gesamten Region" , schreiben Andrea M. Maechler und Li Lian Ong. "
This is the short bit reported by Bloomberg. It was something I kind of expected to happen, but it's the first sign of it actually reported.
"Austrian banks have the biggest credit exposure to east Europe and would suffer from a credit contraction in the region, Der Standard reported, citing an unpublished report by the International Monetary Fund.
Austrian banks have loans outstanding that equal about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, more than any other country, according to the report. "

Bloomberg: Austrian Banks Have Biggest East Europe Exposure, Standard Says

No comments: