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During the economic boom and credit expansion that followed the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), Berlin was the equivalent of an emerging market, Amsterdam’s merchant bankers were the primary sources of credit, and the Hamburg banking houses served as intermediaries between the two. But some Amsterdam merchant bankers were leveraged far beyond their capacity. When a speculative grain deal went bad, the banks discovered that there were limits to how much risk could be effectively hedged. In this issue of Crisis Chronicles, we review how “fire sales” drove systemic risk in funding markets some 250 years ago and explain why this could still happen in today’s tri-party repo market.
experienced a rapid rise in loan delinquencies and defaults during the 2007-09
recession, driven by rising unemployment and falling real estate prices, among
other factors. More than four years on from the official end of the recession, how do things look now?
in the euro area periphery such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain saw
large-scale capital flight in 2011 and the first half of 2012. While events
unfolded much like a balance of payments crisis, the contraction in domestic
credit was less severe than would ordinarily be caused by capital flight of
this scale. Why was that? An important reason is that much of the capital
flight was financed by credits to deficit countries’ central banks, with those
credits extended collectively by other central banks in the euro area. This balance of payments financing was
paired with policies to supply liquidity to periphery commercial banks. Absent
these twin lifelines,
periphery countries would have had to endure even steeper recessions from the
sudden withdrawal of foreign capital.
The January Indexes of Coincident Economic Indicators (CEIs) for New York State, New York City, and New Jersey, released today, show fairly robust economic growth entering 2012. Importantly, this month’s release incorporates the annual benchmark employment revisions for 2010 and 2011, with the revised indexes revealing that the regional economy had more momentum in the second half of 2011 than previously thought.
In response to the enormous losses experienced during the recent financial crisis, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision reached a new international agreement on the amount of capital banks will be required to hold. The “Basel 3” agreement introduces a new, two-tiered structure for regulatory capital requirements involving much more stringent standards for the amount of common equity banks must hold. In a previous post, I discussed how the minimum capital requirement component of the Basel 3 agreement was calibrated. In this post, I explain how the other component—the common equity buffer—was calibrated using information on losses during the recent and past financial crises.
Recent financial developments are calling into question the future of regional economic integration. Market confidence deteriorates across countries in a contagious way. The place is Europe, the time is . . . now? Or twenty years ago? In fact, in the early 1990s Europe went through a systemic crisis that displays remarkable similarities to today’s events. In this post, we go back to those momentous times and briefly recall how the last Europe-wide crisis started, unfolded, and concluded. The 1992 crisis was eventually resolved, suggesting that there may be some light at the end of the current tunnel as well.
Wonk alert: technical content One of the many striking features of the recent financial crisis was the sudden “freeze” in the market for the rollover of short-term debt. In this post, based on my paper “Rollover Risk and Market Freezes,” I explain how firms may be unable to borrow overnight against high-quality assets even in the absence of the usual frictions (asymmetric information, adverse selection, or moral hazard) that can cause credit rationing.
The Federal Reserve introduced the Term Auction Facility (TAF) in December 2007 to provide term loans to banks during the recent financial crisis. In this post, we report on the effectiveness of the TAF during the early stages of the crisis. We find that the TAF was associated with a decrease in the “liquidity premium,” one component of a bank's borrowing cost. In other words, the TAF worked as intended.
The financial crisis of 2008-09 brought about one of the largest collapses in world trade since the end of World War II. Between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, the value of real global GDP fell 4.6 percent while exports plummeted 17 percent, as can be seen in the chart below. The dramatic decline in world trade—a loss of $761 billion in nominal exports—came through two channels: decreased demand for imports and supply effects, most likely arising from financial constraints. In this post, we look at evidence that supply effects, including curtailed funding for export-related activities, played a key role in the trade collapse—and thus in the transmission of the financial crisis from Wall Street to “Main Street,” here and abroad.
Wonk alert: technical content During the 2007-09 financial crisis, we saw that losses spread rapidly across institutions, threatening the entire financial system. Distress spread from structured investment vehicles to traditional deposit-taking banks and on to investment banks, and the failures of individual institutions had outsized impacts on the financial system. These spillovers were realizations of systemic risk—the risk that the distress of an individual institution, or a group of institutions, will induce financial instability on a broader scale, distorting the supply of credit to the real economy. In this post, we draw on our working paper “CoVaR”—issued in the New York Fed’s Staff Reports series—to do two things: first, propose a new measure of systemic risk and, second, outline a method that can help bring about the early detection of systemic risk buildup.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and policy. The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Donald Morgan.
The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.
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