Saturday 12 March 2022

Will the effect of sanctions on the Cypriot (or Maltese or even Greek) economy cause another euro crisis?

I'd say Cyprus is the most vulnerable. In the Big Four there I am told there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the moment.

Matthew Lynn in the Telegraph yesterday:

'If anyone thinks London was a laundromat for oligarch money they have not been paying attention to Cyprus. It is the offshore banking centre for Moscow and St Petersburg.

'There was more than €100bn of Russian investment in the island - with a population of just 1.2 million - in 2020 alone. Cyrus is also by far the largest investor in Russia, as money gets recycled through its financial system into the homeland (it 'invests' almost 20 times as much money into Russia as Germany, according to data from the central bank in Moscow).

'What happens to that now is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t sound good. Malta is in the same boat: it stopped selling passports to wealthy Russians last week, but there is plenty of its money on the island.

'Even Greece was becoming heavily dependent on Russian money. Normally, Cyprus, Malta and Greece would simply devalue their currencies to cope with the adjustment. Within the euro, as we learned so painfully in 2010 and 2011, that isn’t possible.

'If one of those economies crashes, just as in the Greek crisis of a decade ago, the entire eurozone will quickly be plunged into crisis.'

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