19 March 2013

Cyprus - what happens next?

Good question.  The answer is that nobody knows.

It remains possible that, as the Cypriot parliament has rejected the deal, the troika withdraws its (conditional) offer of a bail-out.  Cyprus renegues on its debts and its banks go bust.  The EU throws it out of the euro and Cyprus starts again with a new currency and capital controls.

But this will not suit anyone.  The obvious next step is for the troika and the Cypriot authorities to get together and thrash out a new deal.  But it is difficult to see how the gap between the two sides can be bridged.  Nor does it seem possible that the Cypriot banks can re-open until the issues are resolved (as everyone would immediately empty their accounts).  How long can a country survive without a functioning banking system?  We may be about to find out.

Could the Russians come to the rescue?  In return for what?  And where would that leave the EU?  And what about contagion spreading to Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal?

We live in interesting times ...

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