Cyprus May See Significant Bank Withdrawals, Schmieding Says

Bank customers in Cyprus, which agreed to a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout today, may line up to withdraw money when savings institutions reopen, Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said.

“That is quite possible that we get a significant withdrawal of deposits in Cyprus, but I guess that the European Central Bank, the local authorities see to it, that there is enough cash for the deposits to be withdrawn,” Schmieding said on Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers with Stephanie Ruhle and Scarlet Fu. “We may see queues.”

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades agreed earlier today to shut the country’s second-largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl. The accord with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund spares bank accounts below the insured limit of 100,000 euros while imposing losses that two EU officials said would be no more than 40 percent on uninsured depositors at Bank of Cyprus Plc, the country’s largest bank. Those who will be largely wiped out include uninsured depositors and bondholders, including senior creditors. Senior bondholders will also contribute to the recapitalization of Bank of Cyprus.

“Outside Cyprus I do not expect generally a rush,” Schmieding said. “I would expect more of a trickle of deposits leaving some other countries.”

Bank Closure

Banks in Cyprus, which have been shut for the past week, will remain closed until further notice.

It’s the second time in nine days that Cyprus struck a deal with European creditors and the IMF. The previous Cypriot accord, reached March 16, fell apart three days later when the parliament in Nicosia rejected a key plank -- a tax on all bank accounts that sparked the indignation of smaller depositors. Efforts to win an alternative bailout from Russia, which lent Cyprus 2.5 billion euros in 2011 when the nation was shut out of international markets, failed.

With the ECB threatening to cut off emergency financing for tottering banks as soon as today, Cyprus’s leaders bowed to creditors’ demands to find another way of shrinking the Mediterranean island’s financial system.

Downsizing its banking system will probably lead to the island losing a “significant chunk” of Russian business, causing changes to the Cyprus-Russia relationship and a “big problem” for the Cypriot economy, Schmieding said.

The agreement won’t have any impact for ECB policy because the final accord “is a fairly good deal and ultimately Mario Draghi can be content with the role that the ECB has in the end played in this,” Schmieding said, referring to the president of the region’s central bank.

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