BIS (Bank For International Settlements) Warns of Depression
Posted by jeremiasx on August 28, 2007
This story is a week old but bears being reposted…I think these people MIGHT just know what the hell they are talking about. They are the central bank to the central bankers. HELLO. WAKE UP people. Things could indeed get ugly. Original story in the UK Telegraph.
The Bank for International Settlements, the world’s most prestigious financial body, has warned that years of loose monetary policy has fuelled a dangerous credit bubble, leaving the global economy more vulnerable to another 1930s-style slump than generally understood.
The BIS said China may have repeated the disastrous errors made by Japan in the 1980s
“Virtually nobody foresaw the Great Depression of the 1930s, or the crises which affected Japan and southeast Asia in the early and late 1990s. In fact, each downturn was preceded by a period of non-inflationary growth exuberant enough to lead many commentators to suggest that a ‘new era’ had arrived”, said the bank.
The BIS, the ultimate bank of central bankers, pointed to a confluence a worrying signs, citing mass issuance of new-fangled credit instruments, soaring levels of household debt, extreme appetite for risk shown by investors, and entrenched imbalances in the world currency system.
“Behind each set of concerns lurks the common factor of highly accommodating financial conditions. Tail events affecting the global economy might at some point have much higher costs than is commonly supposed,” it said.
The BIS said China may have repeated the disastrous errors made by Japan in the 1980s when Tokyo let rip with excess liquidity.
“The Chinese economy seems to be demonstrating very similar, disquieting symptoms,” it said, citing ballooning credit, an asset boom, and “massive investments” in heavy industry.
Some 40pc of China’s state-owned enterprises are loss-making, exposing the banking system to likely stress in a downturn.
It said China’s growth was “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable”, borrowing a line from Chinese premier Wen Jiabao
In a thinly-veiled rebuke to the US Federal Reserve, the BIS said central banks were starting to doubt the wisdom of letting asset bubbles build up on the assumption that they could safely be “cleaned up” afterwards – which was more or less the strategy pursued by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan after the dotcom bust.
It said this approach had failed in the US in 1930 and in Japan in 1991 because excess debt and investment built up in the boom years had suffocating effects.
While cutting interest rates in such a crisis may help, it has the effect of transferring wealth from creditors to debtors and “sowing the seeds for more serious problems further ahead.”