Monday, February 16, 2009

Geithner Put and nationalization!

Paul Krugman draws attention to the fact that the combined market capitalization of Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan is only $200 bn, whereas their potential losses (a guide to the amount of capital the federal government needs to put in to make these banks viable) are estimated by CreditSights to be $450 bn! This difference, or a major part of it, constitutes the Geithner Put, which will have to be met by the tax payers in the hope that assets prices will recover in future so that atleast a share of it can be recouped. The only thing certain with this course of action is that it will bailout the existing shareholders of these banks!

Krugman says that the stress tests proposed under FSP will only get more such alarming numbers out into the open, and given the political opposition to bailing out greedy shareholders, there will be no option but nationalization!

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