Why is financial stability essential for key currencies in the international monetary system?
Linda Goldberg, Signe Krogstrup, John Lipsky, Hélène Rey, 26 July 2014
The dollar’s dominant role in international trade and finance has proved remarkably resilient. This column argues that financial stability – and the policy and institutional frameworks that underpin it – are important new determinants of currencies’ international roles. While old drivers still matter, progress achieved on financial-stability reforms in major currency areas will greatly influence the future roles of their currencies.
Could the dollar lose its status as the key international currency for international trade and international financial transactions, and if so, what would be the principal contributing factors? Speculation about this issue has long been abundant, and views diverse. After the introduction of the euro, there was much public debate about the euro displacing the dollar (Frankel 2008).
Topics: Financial markets, International finance
Tags: capital flows, Currency, dollar, financial stability, reserve currency, SIFIs, spillovers
Financial stability and monetary policy
Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 27 July 2014
The monetary policies implemented by the Federal Reserve since late 2008 have raised concerns about the risk taking of financial institutions. This column discusses the effect of some of these policies on life insurance companies and market mutual funds. While the effect on life insurance companies has been stabilising, money market funds did not actively reach for yield.
In the winter of 2008, the Federal Reserve began an unprecedented campaign to combat the economic downturn. The mix of policy instruments included a near zero federal funds rate, explicit communication regarding the forward path of the funds rate, and a balance sheet that ballooned to more than $4 trillion as of this writing.
Topics: Financial markets, Monetary policy
Tags: financial stability, life insurance, mutual funds
Repairing the transmission of monetary policy through asset-backed securitisation
Markus K Brunnermeier, Yuliy Sannikov, 3 June 2014
Eurozone monetary policy transmission is broken. A key aspect of this is the failure of credit to get to small and medium enterprises, and consumers. This column uses the ‘I theory of money’ to diagnosis the problem and propose ‘prudently designed’ asset-backed securitisation as the cure. This would transform illiquid SME and consumer loans into a liquid asset class that would broaden the transmission mechanism while providing a lasting intermediation market for this segment in the Eurozone.
Recent data show a decline in credit to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and private loans. Lack of credit growth to productive firms is one of the main obstacles to reignite the European growth engine.
Topics: Monetary policy
Tags: asset backed securities, financial stability, monetary policy, price stability, risk premia, securitisation
Spillovers from systemic bank defaults
Mark Mink, Jakob de Haan, 24 May 2014
To date, much uncertainty exists about how large the spillovers would be from the default of a systemically important bank. This column shows evidence that the market values of US and EU banks hardly respond to changes in the default risk of banks that the Financial Stability Board considers globally systemically important (G-SIBs). However, changes in all G-SIBs’ default risk explain a substantial part of changes in bank market values. These findings have implications for financial-crisis management and prevention policies.
Financial-crisis management and prevention policies often focus on mitigating spillovers from the default of systemically important banks. During the recent crisis, governments avoided large bank failures by insuring and purchasing intermediaries’ troubled assets, by providing them with capital injections, and even by outright nationalisations.
Topics: Financial markets
Tags: banking, banks, financial stability, regulation, spillovers, systemic risk
The two faces of cross-border banking flows: An investigation into the links between global risk, arms-length funding, and internal capital markets
Dennis Reinhardt, Steven Riddiough, 7 May 2014
Cross-border funding between banks collapsed following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, but the withdrawal of funding was not uniform across countries. This column argues that the composition of cross-border bank-to-bank funding can help to explain why. Interbank funding between unrelated banks is particularly vulnerable to global shocks, but intragroup funding between related banks can act as a stabilising force, particularly for advanced economies with a high share of global parent banks. Policymakers should look at disaggregated cross-border bank-to-bank flows, as doing otherwise could result in a misleading assessment of financial stability risks.
Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, global risk spiked and the world witnessed a collapse in cross-border funding between banks. On closer inspection, however, not all countries’ banking systems experienced a withdrawal of cross-border finance. In fact, a number actually enjoyed an inflow of funding from banks overseas (Figure 1).
Topics: Financial markets, International finance
Tags: banking, cross-border banking, Cross-border lending, financial stability, interbank lending, Wholesale funding
Exploring the transmission channels of contagious bank runs
Martin Brown, Stefan Trautmann, Razvan Vlahu, 10 April 2014
Contagious bank runs are an important source of systemic risk. However, with observational data it is near-impossible to disentangle the contagion of bank runs from other potential causes of correlated deposit withdrawals across banks. This column discusses an experimental investigation of the mechanisms behind contagion. The authors find that panic-based deposit withdrawals can be strongly contagious across banks, but only if depositors know that the banks are economically related.
Financial contagion – the situation in which liquidity or insolvency risk is transmitted from one financial institution to another – is viewed by policymakers and academics as a key source of systemic risk in the banking sector.
Topics: Financial markets
Tags: bank runs, banking, banks, contagion, experimental economics, financial crisis, financial stability, global crisis, systemic risk
Banks’ disclosure and financial stability
Rhiannon Sowerbutts, Ilknur Zer, Peter Zimmerman, 5 April 2014
Inadequate disclosure by banks increased funding costs and contributed to the recent crisis. This column presents quantitative indices to measure progress of disclosure between banks and over time. Internationally, disclosure has improved since 2000. However, more information alone is not sufficient to solve the problem. More needs to be done to ensure that the information provided is useful to investors, and that investors are incentivised to use this information. The ongoing reform agenda aims to address this.
Investors in banks need information about the risks that they are exposed to in order to be able to assess and price those risks properly. However, during the recent crisis, investors found that they did not have enough information to assess these risks, which led to a dramatic increase in funding costs, intensifying the crisis (Gorton 2008).
Topics: Global governance, International finance
Tags: bank disclosure, financial stability, risk information
The role of central banks in financial stability: How has it changed?
Willem Buiter, 16 January 2012
The global crisis inaugurated a new era for central banks in the advanced economies, when their conventional role as interest rate-setters and lenders and market makers of last resort expanded. Central banks have become the custodians of stability for financial markets – a role for which they lack both democratic accountability and political legitimacy, argues Willem Buiter in DP8780. He decries the new “perverse division of labour” between central banks and fiscal authorities and appeals for a reassessment of this pathological arrangement.
Vox readers can download CEPR Discussion Paper 8780 for free here.
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Topics: EU institutions, Financial markets, Global crisis, Global economy, Institutions and economics, Macroeconomic policy, Monetary policy, Politics and economics
Tags: accountability, Central Banks, financial stability, global crisis, unorthodox monetary policy
Coordinating bank-failure costs and financial stability
Iman van Lelyveld, Marco Spaltro, 27 October 2011
The dissent brewing throughout Europe hinges on the question of whether the financial burdens of the Eurozone crisis should be shared between weak and strong. This column presents a new paper arguing that the wealthier, more stable economies don’t have much choice.
During the financial crisis, failure or distress of cross-border firms has been met by ad hoc coordinated solutions (eg Fortis and Dexia) or national solutions (eg UK and US banks).
Topics: Europe's nations and regions, Global crisis, International finance
Tags: bank resolution, burden-sharing, cross-border banking, Eurozone crisis, financial stability
Rethinking central banking
Barry Eichengreen, Eswar Prasad, Raghuram Rajan, 20 September 2011
Central banks have massively broadened their remit in recent crisis-laden years, but the standard analytic framework – ‘flexible inflation targeting’ – has not changed. This column argues that it is time to properly flesh out an alternative framework. Financial stability should be an explicit mandate of central banks, and international coordination among central banks should be boosted by forming a small group of systemically significant central banks that regularly meets and issues reports to the G20 on their financial-stability policies.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, there is an emerging consensus that the framework underpinning modern central banking – known as flexible inflation targeting – needs to be rethought.
Topics: Monetary policy
Tags: central banking, financial stability, flexible inflation targeting