All Cyprus plan Bs look dreadful

By Hugo Dixon
March 20, 2013

The Cypriots have an expression: eninboro allo. It means: I cannot take any more of it.

Cyprus deposit grab sets bad precedent

By Hugo Dixon
March 18, 2013

Cyprus’ deposit grab sets a bad precedent. Money had to be found to prevent its financial system collapsing. But imposing a 6.75 percent tax on insured deposits – or even the 3 percent being discussed on Monday morning – is a type of legalised bank robbery. Cyprus should instead impose a bigger tax on uninsured deposits and not touch small savers.

Markets too sanguine about Italy

By Hugo Dixon
March 11, 2013

The markets are too sanguine about Italy. The country’s politics and economics are messed up – and there are no easy solutions. And while Rome does have the European Central Bank as a backstop, it may have to get to the brink before using it.

Spain probably won’t catch Italian flu

By Hugo Dixon
March 4, 2013

One knee-jerk reaction to Italy’s shock election was to worry about contagion to Spain. As Rome’s bond yields shot up last Tuesday, Madrid’s were dragged up in sympathy. These are the two troubled big beasts of the euro zone periphery and an explosion in either of them could destroy the single currency.

Italy could reignite euro crisis

By Hugo Dixon
February 26, 2013

Can the Italians be serious? That is likely to be the reaction of financial markets and the country’s euro zone partners as they ponder a disastrous election result, which could reignite the euro crisis. More than half of those who voted chose one of two comedians: Beppe Grillo, who really is a stand-up comic; and Silvio Berlusconi, who drove Italy to the edge of the abyss when he was last prime minister in 2011. Both are anti-euro populists.

The Bundesbank isn’t mad

By Hugo Dixon
February 18, 2013

The Bundesbank isn’t mad. In a world where it is increasingly fashionable to call for central banks to print money, the German central bank is one of the last bastions of orthodoxy. Although its stance is extreme, it is a useful antidote to the theory that easy money is a cost-free cure to economic ills.

Banks must probe clients’ motives

By Hugo Dixon
February 11, 2013

Should an investment bank worry about a client’s motive when it engages in a complex and potentially suspicious transaction?

Mario Draghi’s poisoned banking chalice

By Hugo Dixon
February 4, 2013

When euro zone governments agreed last year to give the European Central Bank the power to supervise its banks, that looked like another victory for its president Mario Draghi. It is more like a poisoned chalice.

MPS saga not just a local affair

By Hugo Dixon
January 28, 2013

The Monte dei Paschi di Siena saga is not just an Italian affair. Revelations that complex financial transactions used by the country’s third largest bank had the effect of hiding losses are causing a political storm in Italy.

UK faces five years of limbo-land

By Hugo Dixon
January 23, 2013

The UK faces half a decade of limbo-land. David Cameron’s promise of an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union by the end-2017— provided he wins the next election – means an extremely long period of uncertainty for business. That will be bad for investment. It also heightens the risk of an eventual “Brexit” – a British exit from Europe – which would be even worse for the economy.