Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The €1 Trillion+ German Toxic Asset Problem

RGE Monitor caught an interesting snippet out of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which claims to have seen a report out of BaFin, the German regulator made famous for allowing Volkswagen to become the world's most valuable company in the world with no repercussions. The article (here for the original, and here for the translated version for those who need to brush up on their Bavarian accent) claims that regulators see toxic assets in the German banking system at over €816 billion, which is well over $1 Trillion. From RGE:
A report by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, citing an internal paper by the banking regulator that puts the total of bad assets in the German banking system at €816bn, caused outrage among German officials (in particular as the report appears to be true). The number includes toxic securitized assets, and also bad loans, and unlike previous lists, this one names and shames the banks. In one case, half of all assets of a particular Landesbank are classified as toxic, Commerzbank is also on the list with a huge depot of toxic waste.
In addition to Commerzbank, is of course Hypo, which has been evaluated to hold €268 billion in toxic assets, as well as an additional 17 banks which will likely need a gentle interventional hand from the government soon, including Westdeutsche Landesbank and Landesbank Baden-Wurttermberg.

And here is the link to the rather boisterous response SZ article has generated (original and translated).

However, with trade between the US and Europe (and maybe the world) soon to hit 0, it is feasible that none of this data is relevant. After all America is fully self-dependent for all aspects of its economy. Or, if not, there are many foreclosed homes in California that can be purchased to generate the perception that the economy is turning around as consumers max out their credit cards in anticipation of the same leniency as mortgage defaulters are getting. Sphere: Related Content
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