RBA chief says Cypriot bailout not a blueprint
The head of Australia's Reserve Bank has cast doubts on whether the deal to save the Cypriot banking system will be used as a "blueprint" to bail out other stricken eurozone nations.
But Monday's agreement, struck hours before a deadline that would have triggered a collapse in the Cyprus banking system, was much better than the initial proposal, RBA governor Glenn Stevens told a forum.
The deal involved a radical plan to secure a €10 billion ($12.3 billion) bailout from European authorities without imposing losses on Cypriots with deposits worth less than €100,000.
Initial market euphoria from Europe's eleventh hour Cypriot bailout deal quickly gave way to fear after the head of the Eurogroup Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem suggested the deal could form the basis for future bailouts in the economically troubled zone.
Australia followed global markets lower with the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday ending down 0.8 per cent at 4950.2.
Adding to concerns, Cyprus reversed course and decided to keep its banks shut until Thursday. This cancelled an earlier decision to open most banks on Tuesday. The banking sector of the island nation has been in a 10-day lockdown for fear of a run on deposits.
After European markets closed, Mr Dijsselbloem's office sought to clarify the comments, saying Cyprus "is a specific case with exceptional challenges".
Mr Stevens told an Australian Securities and Investments Commission forum on Tuesday that global markets were in a "better place" now than they were a few days ago.
"The reconstructed deal, as I understand it ... is a better one than the initial proposal," he said.
"We've had a number of programs now. We've had Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and they're all actually a bit different. So I'm not sure if any one of them is clearly a template.
"And I suspect that the Europeans will be somewhat case-specific as they deal with these things.
Separately, Mr Stevens said changes to global bank regulations have been more difficult than anticipated, with only Australia and 10 other jurisdictions so far adopting key parts of the reforms. Europe and the US are yet to make all the changes.
Rather than implementing global financial regulations, the emphasis should be on the implementation and monitoring of how the changes are helping or how they are hurting.
"Reforms that seemed so simple and obvious, so bold and so sweeping in the immediate aftermath of the crisis of 2008, have turned out to be harder to implement than first expected," he said.
The RBA governor said it would be years before the full effect of the reforms could be assessed.
Australia will be in a greater position to influence the progress of further regulation when it takes over the G20 presidency in 2014.