Swiss, Germans Set To Unleash Capital Controls As European Companies Prepare For Euro
Even as Eurozone leaders attempted to instill some meager sense of accomplishment following the latest (but certainly not last) Euro summit culminating with yet another 7-page term sheet which achieved absolutely nothing, and in fact succeeded in alienating the UK even more, the real game continues behind the scenes. And it is a game which the euro looks set to lose. As Bloomberg reports, in the aftermath of the Telegraph's latest report confirming what has been said here all about the collateral crunch in Europe, Europe's CEO are now actively preparing for the worst case outcome: the end of the Euro (despite UBS' and other banks' repeated calls that such an event would result in an end of the world). To wit: "Grupo Gowex (GOW), a Spanish provider of Wi-Fi wireless services, is moving funds to Germany because it expects Spain to exit the euro. German machinery maker GEA Group AG is setting maximum amounts held at any one bank. “I don’t trust Spain will remain in the euro zone,” said Jenaro Garcia, founder and chief executive officer of Madrid- based Grupo Gowex, which provides Wi-Fi access in 15 countries. “We moved our cash and deposits to Germany because Spain will come back to the peseta"... Contingency planning for an unraveling of the currency involves cutting investment, moving money to Germany, transferring headquarters to northern Europe from southern, and even going out of business." And to all the chatterboxes on CNBC repeating ad inf that a Eurozone collapse would be "manageable" here is a person who actually knows what he is talking about: "“How do you control an explosion in a controlled way?” Fiat SpA (F) Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne told reporters in Brussels on Dec. 2. “That’s a contradiction in terms. This will be an implosion of some size with potentially disastrous consequences." He is right, and while the outcome is certain, it will not stop Europe's financial leader Germany from intervening in an attempt to prevent a surge in Deutsche Marks once the currency returns, and will likely set up capital control measures - that last bastion to every failing monetary system - to halt what is sure to be a record inflow of post-collapse DEM appreciating capital.
The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, registered capital inflows of 11.3 billion euros ($15 billion) from non-banks in September, according to the breakdown of its current account published Nov. 9. That helped transform a deficit of 47.3 billion euros in Germany’s balance of other capital flows in August to a surplus of 700 million euros in September.
In another bid to end the debt crisis, European leaders added 200 billion euros to their warchest and tightened anti- deficit rules in what they called a “fiscal compact” at a meeting in Brussels. European stocks dropped and the euro was little changed as the plan disappointed some investors.
And confirming the case for capital controls, is Handelsblatt which reports that Switzerland is preparing contingency plans in the event that the €-crisis escalates.
The government would oppose a flight to the Swiss franc. In this context, a working group is examining and negative interest rates and capital controls, the Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said in Parliament yesterday. At negative interest rates of foreign assets in CHF are subject to a penalty tax.
"We are certainly prepared for possible alternatives," Widmer-Schlumpf said on questions of deputies, the government would like to respond. To capital controls or negative interest rates, she said: "These are questions which are examined in this Task Force on the franc strength."
But just like any other centrally panned intervention this one too shall fail. What is more important, is that now that the concept of a EUR end is tangible, it will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy:
Companies switched gears from preparing for a possible exit by Greece to some sort of currency breakdown after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government collapsed and 10-year Italian bond yields rose past 7 percent in November.
“A couple of weeks ago I would never have thought about having conversations on the probability of the euro disappearing, but now there is more speculation on such a scenario,” Wolters Kluwer NV (WKL) CEO Nancy McKinstry said in a Nov. 29 interview at the company’s headquarters outside Amsterdam.
The board of Wolters Kluwer, Europe’s largest tax and legal publisher with offices in Frankfurt, Milan, London and Phoenix, has spent more time on scenario planning, she said.
“We obviously have plans in place if something happens,” ABB Ltd. (ABBN) CEO Joe Hogan said in Zurich on Dec. 1. “They can never be as robust as you’d want them to be but we certainly are prepared if there is a crisis.”
The Swiss engineering company “updated what we would do” in the past few weeks, Hogan said. “We just keep updating and making our plan more and more detailed.’
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, has honed its plans developed following the 2009 financial crisis and is prepared to act if markets dive, Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said in November.
The Munich-based carmaker’s response would include reducing production by as much as 30 percent and using its banking unit to directly tap central bank reserves. The company also has reduced its leasing portfolio to manage risks in case used car values decline.
In other words, what is certain is that nobody has any certainty what will happen, and the result would be a massive deleveraging wave of epic proportions. What is also certain is that the global central banking cartel (sans the ECB in the post non-EUR world), would do everything to halt said deflationary vortex, and will just hit the CTRL+P combination on every possible device in its arsenal to stave off the inevitable. What is then absolutely sure, is that the second to last step will be the realization of Bernanke's theoretical threat to dump money out of helicopters... with the final outcome being history repeating itself once again, in that no civilization has ever collapsed from a deflationary collapse but always from the authoritarian response to it, yet which has seen hard assets survive in fair value form for over 20 centuries.