Monday, 28 February 2011

Bail whom?

The presidents of the top three Portuguese private banks have been saying that they are against an eventual IMF/EU loan to Portugal. Today Ricardo Salgado, the President of Banco Espírito Santo, explained why: because, he says, a negative correlation between the bailout and deposits by residents could be observed in Greece and Ireland. The link is that the bailout reduces confidence and thus domestic savings. Is this so? Is there a literature on the determinants of domestic savings, particularly in those two countries and Portugal? Salgado's reasoning seems a bit odd to me. He certainly knows better, but I wonder whether his "feeling" would be confirmed by a proper analysis of the data.

6 comments:

  1. In any event, causality and correlation are two quite different things which should not be mixed, and the way the sentenced is phrased suggests such a mistake in the reader's mind. Just a note, thought.
    Ricardo Salgado's concerns are of a different nature in my view: a serious IMF intervention would have to deal with debt ceilings and that is obviously something banks are not interested in.

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  2. There is no data, at least a statistically significant one. The only evidence is the one felt by local banks which for obvious reasons are reluctant to disclose the true dimension of the run on the bank they have been subject to. But for any observer of the markets it should be obvious that the IMF/EU loans are not sufficient per se to solve the problem.

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