Did Trade Finance Contribute to the Global Trade Collapse?
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.
Valuing the Capital Assistance Program
The Capital Assistance Program (CAP) was announced on February 10, 2009, in a joint statement by the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision outlining a financial stability plan.
The Capital Assistance Program (CAP) was announced on February 10, 2009, in a joint statement by the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision outlining a financial stability plan. The first phase of the plan called for a stress test to assess the capital needs of nineteen major U.S. financial institutions in the event of a worse-than-expected recession. In the second phase, banks requiring additional capital that were unable to raise sufficient private capital would sell to the Treasury convertible preferred securities and warrants on common shares. The combination of the stress test, which provided information about the downside risk faced by the largest U.S. banks, and the CAP securities, which provided backup capital to mitigate this downside risk, was an unprecedented regulatory response to a financial crisis. In this post, we discuss the valuation of CAP securities. The valuation described in our 2009 New York Fed staff report is aligned with the stock market reaction to the announcement of the CAP terms.
CoVaR: A Measure of Systemic Risk
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.