Monte dei Paschi shares are swinging wildly as the bank's bailout crisis comes to a head

Shares in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena are swinging wildly in morning trade on Thursday as the ongoing crisis at the bank finally starts to come to a head, just before the Christmas break.

The bank’s stock plunged by almost 9% as the markets opened for the day causing them to be briefly halted after reaching the so-called “limit down” — the point where stocks are electronically halted when they move too far either up or down — before fighting back and coming close to where they started the day. 

The stock then dropped again, and was down around 3%, before climbing to trade higher by 2.4% as of 9.40 a.m. GMT (4.40 a.m. ET).

Here is how that looks:

On Wednesday, the bank said it would run out of liquidity in four months, rather than the 11 months that investors had previously thought, sending shares down massively.

It then emerged that the bank had failed to successfully secure an anchor investor for its offer of new shares. Reuters reports that two sources close to the matter said this had in turn dissuaded other institutional investors from supporting this part of the €5 billion rescue plan, essentially killing off any hopes of a private sector rescue.

That leaves just one realistic option open for the bank, a state bailout. While the move will help the lender, it could also see the Italian government fall foul of EU rules of bank bailouts, launching a fresh political crisis in a country. Italy has just appointed a new prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, following the resignation of Matteo Renzi after his crushing defeat in the country’s constitutional reform referendum.

Italy’s financial sector is carrying more than €300 billion in nonperforming loans and may ultimately need an injection of about €52 billion, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Paola Sabbione.

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