CCTV Script 18/03/13
This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on March 18, Monday.
Welcome to the CNBC business daily.
European markets took a hit today after the Cyprus said it would slap a bank levy on depositors. However with Monday being a bank holiday, many Cypriots were unable to withdraw their cash in bid to escape the tax.
Cyprus Finance Minister spoke to CNBC's Julia Chatterley in this exclusive interview.
[Sound on tape by Michael Sarris, Finance Minister of Cyprus: What we did accept is an exchange of a relatively small part of somebody's deposit once and for all with shares in an institution. This is not a very agreeable outcome for sure but it compares well with much more serious and grave proposals that were on the table.
Chatterley: And my understanding is the money that remains after the levy isn't going to be frozen so people can remove their deposits as of Tuesday - is that right?
Sarris: Absolutely, there is no capital restriction, people can move. I hope people will believe us, believe the collective leadership of the European Union that this was a necessary step but a single shot at the problem, and that from now on they can be very confident that nothing will happen to their savings.
Chatterley: And you're going to be closely monitoring those deposit flows - will you use capital controls if you have to?
Sarris: No, capital controls are not part of the European system. We have the back-stopping of the ECB and we expect that this will be sufficient for stability to return to our banking system.
Chatterley: You're heading to Russia next week. How confident are you that you will have a bailout deal in the works in terms of getting more flexibility on the loan they have already given to you?
Sarris: Based on indications and statements by our Russian friends, and having a framework of an agreement. In fact the possibility for help from Russian facilitated the agreement, and in some sense, it's a chicken and egg situation, now that we have an agreement we hope things will be easier in reaching an agreement with our Russian friends.]
The levy also faced fierce criticism from Moscow, as Russian deposits account for eight times of Cyprus' GDP, and European markets reacted dramatically to the news, falling to 12-month lows.
Analysts CNBC spoke to said that uninsured depositors should not be made to take the hit.
[Sound on tape by Peter Redward, Principal, Redward Associates: I think unsecured bond holdings should be the first to take hair cuts. Depositors should be protected at all costs.]
[Sound on tape by Richard Jerram, Chief Economist, Bank of Singapore: Going for the ones below the deposit insurance limit looks dubious ethically and also looks quite dangerous in terms of future deals.]
[Sound on tape by Kelvin Tay, Regional CIO, UBS Wealth Management: Whether it poses an immediate risk for contagion to spread to the rest of Eurozone, I think it's limited to a certain extent right now. But I think it's just bad news across the board, because if I'm an Italian or Spanish depositor, I'd be very, very nervous right now.]
Analysts also told CNBC that Cyprus was just the tip of the iceberg, with peripheral Euro Zone countries like Spain and Portugal potentially under threat.
Li Sixuan, from CNBC's Asia headquarters.