On Tuesday, chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Economics and Energy, Peter Ramsauer, commenting on the Die Welt publication about the tension in relations between the United States and Germany, said: We are currently seeing extortionate claims for damages in the case of Deutsche Bank. ”
Ramsauer is an experienced politician. Earlier in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, he served as Minister of Transport, Construction and Urban Development of Germany. The more important is his assessment that the conflict that has arisen is from the United States an “economic war” against the Federal Republic of Germany. Ramsauer seriously fears further escalation of events.
Small revenge with great consequences
Not only Peter Ramsauer was worried. In the same Die Welt, a member of the European Parliament from the CSU party, Markus Ferber, accused the US Department of Justice that his attack on the largest German bank was an incorrect answer to the decision of the European Commission regarding the largest American corporation Apple.
The Europeans caught the computer giant on tax evasion and in August, filed a lawsuit against 14 billion dollars. A month later, the US Treasury filed claims against Deutsche Bank AG for exactly 14 billion dollars. The US government has long accused the German bank of manipulating the prices of mortgage securities in the pre-crisis period (up to 2008 of the year). Negotiations on damages have been going on for a long time. In the end, the size of the fine was higher than expected. This gave Marcus Ferbery grounds to state: “The amount of punishment in respect of a German bank looks like an eye for an eye on the part of the US authorities.”
German politicians remembered to the occasion history with the car concern Volkswagen. Last fall, the United States government accused Volkswagen of violating US environmental protection laws, and at the beginning of the year filed a formal claim for damages. Their claims to the United States are estimated at 18 billion US dollars.
It was rumored that the amount of the claim could increase to tens of billions. After all, Volkswagen was convicted of a serious breach - hiding data on the actual volume of exhaust gases produced by cars with diesel engines. The leaders of the automaker apologized to the Americans and offered several options for resolving the conflict.
The government of the United States did not accept Volkswagen. However, the Americans did not force the events. Experts agreed that the scandal, which in the press was called “dieselgate”, the Americans will try to use to promote their project - the creation of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) zone between the US and the EU countries.
The American project alerted European politicians. Under the terms of TTIP, the European Union had to open the market for goods from the USA - even those that do not comply with EU legislation. The consent of the Germans to these conditions was, if not key, then very weighty. However, it did not work out.
28 August, the Associated Press issued a statement by the Minister of Economy and Energy, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, that "the TTIP negotiations de facto failed." As Gabriel noted, no one acknowledges the failure of the talks, but “for the 14 rounds of negotiations, the parties could not reach agreement on any of the 27 chapters discussed.”
As you can see, the irritation of the Americans caused not only a fine on Apple. The Barack Obama administration was unable to put a beautiful point in its history (in the form of an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and brought down anger on the heads of Europeans. The answer was “predatory” claims against Deutsche Bank AG, which could lead to the bankruptcy of the German bank - the largest financial conglomerate on the continent.
Cash instead of bank deposits
In a German bank, things are really going badly. He never recovered from the 2008 crisis of the year. At the end of June, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called Deutsche Bank "the most serious source of risk for the global financial system among all the global systemically important banks." The IMF explained its assessment in the following way: “Deutsche Bank is closely connected with other publicly-traded banks and insurance companies in Germany and, thus, can become a source of their financial contamination ..., and the situation in the German banking system can worsen with certainty a chain reaction and banking crisis in the world. "
About trouble in the Deutsche Bank has long been known. Back in 2012, there was information that the bank concealed losses on 12 billion euros from operations with derivatives (secondary securities on already functioning financial assets). Later, in 2013, Deutsche Bank recognized that it needed additional capital for normal financial sustainability. Then for the first time they started talking about his bankruptcy, but the situation was saved by the issue of shares for 3 billion euros for shareholders of the bank.
In subsequent years, the bank undertook large-scale restructuring, reduced staff, reorganized the financial operations themselves. It did not bring much sense. Bank profit declined by two thirds. Capitalization fell sharply anyway.
Currently, net worth is estimated at just 60 billion euros, with a nominal amount of derivatives in it - 72,8 trillion. American dollars. This is 20 times Germany’s GDP in 2015. According to Berenberg Bank analyst James Chappell, Deutsche Bank's debt burden (debt to equity ratio) is now 40: 1. It is clear that it is no longer possible for one shareholder to pull the bank out of the load of such problems. Need government help.
This is exactly the problem. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is categorically against raising budget money to replenish bank capital. This summer, she did not support the request of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to suspend EU rules on saving banks for the recapitalization of Italian credit organizations.
The board of the European Central Bank agreed with Merkel. Now the Bundeskanzlerin has become a hostage to its former position and is already forced to respond just as hard to the request of the largest German bank that directly affects the welfare of the German economy.
Difficult situation today, not only at Deutsche Bank. Many European banks faced difficulties in placing liquid funds. This forced credit institutions to introduce negative deposit rates. Essentially, banks began to take money from customers for the safety of their funds. As it is doing now, for example, Raiffeisenbank Gmund. Since September, he began to charge clients 0,4% on deposits in excess of 100 thousand euros.
In the new conditions the Germans moved to the storage of money at home. This is confirmed by the manufacturers of safes. They recorded an increase in demand for their products. She said a weighty word and German statistics. Experts point out that today, about 80% of retail transactions in Germany are made using cash.
Meanwhile, the incomes of not all burghers are placed in safes. The most enterprising Germans have already found the sources for increasing their money. They became foreign banks - first of all, American ones. And this is another reason for the attack by the US government on the largest German bank.
He is trying to resist. In late September, Deutsche Bank agreed to sell its insurance business in the UK to the Phoenix Group Holdings group. This was reported by the newspaper of American business circles Wall Street Journal. The deal is valued at 1,2 billion dollars. Naturally, it will not solve all the problems of the German bank, but it determines its possible way out of an acute crisis. After all, the proceeds from the sale of this insurance business at once will increase the capital adequacy ratio of the first level on 10 basis points.
Statement on the deal in the UK for some time supported the stock quotes of Deutsche Bank. However, many financiers are sure: without the help of the authorities of the European Union and Germany, the bank is unlikely to get out of the pit into which it was pushed by the Americans - friends, partners and allies of Germany. And, perhaps, already opponents, since the actions of the United States are already directly called by the German politicians an “economic war”? The answer to this will show further developments. Peter Ramsauer, as we remember, fears their further escalation ...
The Germans found the hand of Americans in their pockets and now suspect a senior partner in waging an economic war.
- Gennady Granovsky