The news of the morning: Finance ministries in France and Belgium will step in to protect the creditors and depositors at the Belgian bank Dexia, which has been getting crushed lately.
There’s just one teeny problem.
This chart from Reuters shows Dexia assets as a percentage of the GDP of France and Belgium. It alone has more assets to guarantee than Belgium’s annual GDP. Now granted, this doesn’t represent total wealth of France and Belgium and obviously you wouldn’t assume that all the assets of Dexia are worthless (they’re not). But you’ll see charts like this all around Europe, where the balance sheets of various banks add up to more than some national GDPs.