So, where does the global financial system stand at the moment? Yes, we have witnessed improvements recently, but we are also observing a dichotomy between the economy and the financial system. While the global economic recovery has been continuing, financial stability is still at risk, because of a persistent lack of investor confidence in some advanced country sovereigns and their banking systems.
It would be unfair for any assessment of global economic and financial stability not to acknowledge the tremendous progress has been made in repairing and strengthening the financial system since the onset of the global crisis.
Fearful financial markets, an uncertain growth outlook, fiscal anxieties, long unemployment lines….no other financial crisis since the Great Depression has led to such widespread dislocation in financial markets, with such abrupt consequences for growth, trade, and employment.
Monetary stability seems almost a given today, even taken for granted. It wasn’t always like that. Not so long ago, high and volatile inflation routinely raised its ugly head and threatened living standards. Some of us even remember those days! It wasn’t pleasant. But since then, an effective antidote has pretty much wiped out rampant price instability. Over the past three decades, better monetary frameworks have caused the level and volatility of inflation to fall sharply. These frameworks enshrined price stability as the main monetary policy objective, and provided independence and constrained discretion in the pursuit of this objective, often set out through formal inflation targets.
Financial system reform has reached a critical point around the world. Pressure is building from the financial industry to slow reform and concerns about fiscal conditions risk drawing public and political energies away from the need to act on financial sector problems. Fortunately, the Group of Twenty (G-20) reaffirmed its commitment at a summit in Toronto on June 26-27 to a comprehensive reform agenda—and we must seize the moment.
Financial supervisors often get a raw deal. They are the stodgy “buttoned-up” guys who stand in the way of innovation, the died-in-the-wool bureaucrats who resist change and meddle with markets. On the list of thankless jobs they rank somewhere between traffic wardens and tax administrators.
Let me begin with our overall assessment of global financial stability. The IMF has just released its new Global Financial Stability Report. We find that risks to stability have eased somewhat. The policy stimulus enacted at the height of the crisis has provided substantial support to financial institutions and markets, and has underpinned the global recovery. This has helped to improve a broad range of risk indicators and financial conditions.
Over the past two years, disruptive failures, shotgun marriages, and government bailouts of some household names in the financial industry have placed the age-old issue of “too big to fail” at the center of financial sector policy discussions. As well, the Lehman bankruptcy and government support for AIG extended the “too-big-to-fail” notion from banks to […]
Some countries with similar financial and regulatory systems fared differently during this crisis. What are the reasons for this? And what made some financial institutions with similar business models, and in the same country, better equipped to deal with the virulence of the crisis?To find the answers, we need to ask the following question: How […]