Saturday, October 4, 2014

Game of Bulgarian Bank Bargaining

They're still writing the rules--unavoidable, pace Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber--or, actually, trying to elect someone capable of writing the rules;
Bulgarian voters fed up with political deadlock may end up with another shaky coalition after a snap election on Sunday, leaving the European Union's poorest member struggling to resolve a banking crisis and revive growth.
Which will leave Bulgaria with its fifth fourth government in the last two  nine years. [See update below]
Top of the list of the new government's priorities is what to do with Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), Bulgaria's fourth-biggest lender, which was closed after a run on deposits in June and whose fate has been in limbo ever since.
Furious customers at the bank have been unable to access their money for more than three months and the bank's main shareholder is charged with embezzlement. But efforts to sort out the mess were derailed by political squabbles, and there is still no clarity on whether authorities will rescue the bank, and how its depositors and bondholders will be treated.
Then there's the little matter of Russia and its threats to cut Bulgaria off from its energy supplies this winter.  

Fragile is, as fragile does. Just listen to the sample clip.

Update; Cato's Steve Hanke runs the misery numbers.
 Since the Kostov years [1997], Bulgaria has had four governments and the misery index has fluctuated around a reading of 20. The currency board has clearly given Bulgaria fiscal discipline and monetary stability. The misery index readings in the table attest to that fact. The other thing that the misery index readings make clear is that the socialist-led governments in Bulgaria have delivered misery (Videnov 1995–97, Stanishev 2005–09, and Oresharski 2013–14).

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