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希腊银行自造政府债券应对债务危机

更新时间:2015-4-9 10:03:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As Greece Battles a Debt Crisis, Its Banks Issue More Short-Term Debt
希腊银行自造政府债券应对债务危机

A strange thing is happening as Greece struggles to avert bankruptcy: Its troubled banks are loading up on more debt.

在希腊竭力避免破产之际,一件怪事发生了:该国陷入困境的银行正在累积更多债务。

These short-term bonds, which have been issued by the country’s largest banks and carry the guarantee of the Greek government, are not being sold to foreign investors. They are being issued to the only entity that would dare buy them: themselves.

希腊大型银行发行的这些由希腊政府担保的短期债券,并没有出售给外国投资者。它们正在被卖给唯一敢于购买它们的实体:它们自己。

In the last four months, some of Greece’s largest banks, including Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank — have self-issued more than 13 billion euros’ worth, or $14.3 billion, of these government-guaranteed bonds.

过去四个月,希腊一些大型银行——包括Piraeus、Alpha和Eurobank——发行的这类政府担保债券价值超过130亿欧元(约合870亿元人民币)。

Wounded by vanishing deposits and bad loans, Greek bank bonds are about as toxic an investment as can be found. The banks are on life support via an emergency lending program overseen by the European Central Bank, via which they have access to short-term loans from their own central bank.

受到存款减少和不良贷款的影响,希腊银行的债券几乎是眼下最糟糕的一种投资。这些银行正在靠一个由欧洲央行监管的紧急借贷项目生存,通过该项目获得本国央行的短期贷款。

But to secure this credit line, about 71 billion (more than half the deposits outstanding in Greece), these banks need to provide collateral to the Greek central bank.

不过,为了得到这些贷款——大约710亿欧元(超过希腊存款一半),这些银行需要向希腊央行提供抵押。

As was the case in Cyprus during its banking crisis, when a financial system implodes, finding acceptable collateral to swap for desperately needed loans can be difficult.

就像塞浦路斯银行业危机时的情形一样,当金融系统崩溃时,寻找可以接受的担保从而换取急需的贷款是十分困难的。

The solution has been for the banks to manufacture and issue billions of euros of short-term bonds, which — because they carry the guarantee of the Greek government — can be used as collateral to secure much-needed cash from the European Central Bank.

这些银行的解决方案是,编造和发行数十亿欧元的短期债券。由于有希腊政府的担保,这些债券可以作为抵押品,帮助这些银行从欧洲央行获得急需的现金。

As long as the bank’s problem is access to short-term funds and not solvency, such machinations can work. In the last year or so, Greek banks have issued more than 50 billion worth of these securities at artificially high interest rates (the higher the rate, the more valuable the collateral becomes in securing loans).

只要银行面临的问题是如何获得短期资金而不是偿付问题,这样的诡计就能够得逞。过去一年左右时间里,希腊银行发行了价值超过500亿欧元的此类债券,人为设定较高的利率(利率越高,申请贷款时作为担保就越有价值)。

But the strategy has been controversial, and it was criticized by none other than Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, who, a year ago described the practice as a “hidden bailout from European taxpayers.”

不过,这个策略一直存在争议,而且受到了希腊财政部长亚尼斯·瓦鲁法基斯(Yanis Varoufakis)的批评。后者一年前形容这种做法是“被掩盖的欧洲纳税人救助”。

Mr. Varoufakis, then a relatively unknown economist, argued that the loans were a potent risk for Greece, which would have to assume responsibility for them if the banks failed.

瓦鲁法基斯当时还是一个相对默默无闻的经济学家,他辩称,这些贷款对于希腊是个大威胁,因为如果银行失败,希腊就将不得不为它们承担责任。

The practice has also been flagged by two German economists as a questionable way for troubled eurozone economies to extract funding from the central bank.

两名德国经济学家也认为,对于陷入困境后想从央行获取资金的欧元区经济体,这是一种不可取的做法。

Uncomfortable with the amounts of bonds being issued, the European Central Bank said that, as of March, it would no longer accept such paper.

欧洲央行(European Central Bank)表示,由于对发行的债券数额感到不安,从三月开始它将不再接受此类债券。

But there appears to be no restriction on the banks using these bonds to tap credit from their own central banks, and they have done so. The most recent case occurred Tuesday, when Piraeus, Greece’s largest bank, issued a 4.5 billion note at 6 percent, which matures in July.

但是,银行在利用这些债券从自己的央行筹款时,似乎没有受到任何限制,而且它们已经这么做了。最近的案例发生在周二,当时希腊最大的银行Piraeus以6%的利率,发行了价值45亿欧元的债券,此债券将于7月到期。

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