Nicolas Sarkozy

So Europe’s all better now, or something. The banks are anyway. They have had the money flung at them, in the form of the European Central Bank advancing them tons of medium-term funding at attractive rates and with pretty chill collateral requirements, and now they just have to sit back and be awesome.

Since they’re now all flush and awesome, various people have come out of the woodwork to help them spend their money. (I’m happy to help too! Call me!) One possible answer is “bail out your reprobate governments,” which FT Alphaville have dubbed the “Sarko trade” after a guy who said this:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the ECB’s increased provision of funds meant governments in countries like Italy and Spain could look to their countries’ banks to buy their bonds. “This means that each state can turn to its banks, which will have liquidity at their disposal,” Sarkozy told reporters at the summit in Brussels.

Alphaville point to a equity research note by Morgan Stanley, who estimate that the size here is maybe less than Sarkozy hoped for but much, much more than zero. You can have various views on the desirability and/or plausibility of this.

Another thing the banks could do is take all these gobs of money and actually go lend it to people to, like, buy Portuguese villas and stuff. This seems very broadly speaking like a good thing for them to do, since banks lending to people and businesses is sort of their job. One guy likes this idea: Read more »

The leaders of France and Germany disappointed financial markets Tuesday by ruling out issuing euro bonds to fix Europe’s debt crisis. Instead, they agreed to float proposals in September for a tax on financial transactions and push for closer joint governance of economic policy. Many experts say the only way to ensure affordable financing for the bloc’s most financially distressed countries would be for the euro area to issue joint eurobonds. But both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they believed euro bonds were not part of the solution to Europe’s debt crisis…Sarkozy and Merkel also proposed that all 17 euro zone countries commit to balanced finances and write that goal into their constitutional law by summer 2012. Among other measures announced, he said they would also seek to ensure better cross-border economic government for the euro zone via twice-yearly meetings of leaders and the creation of a two-and-a-half-year presidency to steer this forum. [CNBC, earlier]