Last weekend, Credit Suisse repo guru published what may have been the most insightful snippet of the entire European energy crisis (to date) when he extended the infamous “Minsky Moment” framework to Europe, and specifically Germany, which he said “can’t cover its payments without Russian gas and the government is asking citizens to conserve energy to leave more for industry.” He then elaborated that “Minsky moments are triggered by excessive financial leverage, and in the context of supply chains, leverage means excessive operating leverage: in Germany, $2 trillion of value added depends on $20 billion of gas from Russia… …that’s 100-times leverage – much more than Lehman’s.” (Zoltan’s entire note is a must read for everyone with a passing interest in what comes next).
But while Germany still pretends it can somehow avoid a devastating crisis this winter besides bailing out Uniper, one of the country’s biggest utilities (after all, admission would make Trump’s 2018 warning accurate and prescient, and everyone knows that according to Western intellectual snobs Trump can’t possibly ever be correct), other European nations are succumbing to what Zoltan dubbed a “supply-chain Minsky moment.”
On Wednesday it was Austria, which announced it would bail out the country’s main energy supplier with a two-billion-euro ($2 billion) loan, the AFP reported. Chancellor Karl Nehammer said the loan to Wien Energie was an “extraordinary rescue measure” to ensure its two million customers – mainly Vienna households – continue to receive electricity. It will run until next April.
Wien Energie asked for a bailout this weekend after suffering financial trouble amid soaring energy prices and speculation the company mismanaged their funds. Nehammer said Wien Energie, which is owned by Vienna, would have to answer questions as to how they got into trouble.
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