Mike Mish Shedlock explains how Germany has been financing the Southern European nations and may get left holding the bag. From Shedlock at mishtalk.com:
Eurozone Target2 imbalances have touched or exceeded the crisis levels hit in 2012 when Greece was on the verge of leaving the Eurozone. Others have noted the growing imbalances as well.
I had a couple of questions for the ECB regarding Target2, which they have answered, I believe disingenuously.
First, we will explain Target2, then we will take a look at various charts, viewpoints, and the email exchange with the ECB.
Target2 stands for Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement System. It is a reflection of capital flight from the “Club-Med” countries in Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, and Italy) to banks in Northern Europe.
Pater Tenebrarum at the Acting Man blog provides this easy to understand example: “Spain imports German goods, but no Spanish goods or capital have been acquired by any private party in Germany in return. The only thing that has been ‘acquired’ is an IOU issued by the Spanish commercial bank to the Bank of Spain in return for funding the payment.”
This is not the same as an auto loan from a dealer or a bank. In the case of Target2, central banks are guaranteeing the IOU.
Target2 also encompasses people yanking deposits from a bank in their country and parking them in a bank in another country. Greece is a nice example, and the result was capital controls.
If Italy or Greece (any country) were to leave the Eurozone and default on the target2 balance, the rest of the countries would have to make up the default according to their percentage weight in the Eurozone.