Day By Day

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meanwhile in Athens

The flight (or non-flight) of money from Greek bank accounts continues to befuddle analysts.
The amazing thing about the Greek banking system since 2009 is not just the 25 to 30 per cent of deposits that have left, but the 70-75 per cent which have stayed. They have stayed through two years of Greece transparently getting closer to leaving the euro and turning these deposits into drachma. We’re being serious. It’s a real challenge to prospect theory. Up to €170bn remained in banks at the end of March.

Although deposits clearly do respond to politics — the Greek President made that fairly clear this week — they have tracked the rate of Greece’s economic decline since 2009 pretty closely too. Maybe that says something about general pressure on Greek household wealth, as a driver of deposit flows. In any case, depositor flight has been what Gabriel Sterne, an economist at Exotix, has previously called a ‘bank jog’. Something to think about. What it becomes now with a month to go before fresh elections is another question.
From the Financial Times, with a hat tip to Richard Fernandez for the pointer.

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