No, it\’s not dastardly speculators, not the CDS market, hedge funds or anything of the sort.
In total, BNP Paribas, which has been at the centre of market fears connected to its exposure to eurozone sovereign debt, said it had reduced its government debt exposure by 25pc in the third quarter from €106bn (£91bn) to €80bn.
The reductions mirrored those seen at Dutch lender ING, which said it had reduced its holdings of Italian government debt by 54pc to €3.38bn.
ING said it had sold off 31pc of its holdings in Greek sovereign debt and 28pc of its Spanish government exposures.
Overall, the Dutch bank pared back its sovereign debt exposure by 44pc in the third quarter, taking the value of its portfolio to €6.13bn.
People who used to own the debt have been selling it.
Which, given the likelihood that it will decline in price further, is rather a good idea really.
And no, it\’s not something that a financial transactions tax would stop or reverse. This isn\’t short-term trading, this is just \”this is shit, get rid of it\” type trading.