By Deniz Igan
July 3, 2018
During the global financial crisis, policymakers faced a steep trade-off in handling bank failures. Using public funds to rescue failing banks (bail-outs) could weaken market discipline and lead to excessive risk taking—the moral hazard effect. […]
February 22, 2018
When the capacity to communicate effectively on financial stability policies is not there, it is like trying to fly a plane with one wing missing. It takes more than sound policy making. Communications is an essential part of the job.
Following the global financial crisis, many countries redoubled their efforts to build stronger financial stability frameworks. Central banks and supervisory agencies have enhanced their capacity to identify and monitor systemic risks in the financial system and have developed new policies to mitigate them. […]
On April 15-16, the IMF organized the third conference on “Rethinking Macro Policy.“
Here are my personal take aways.
1. What will be the “new normal”?
I had asked the panelists to concentrate not on current policy challenges, but on challenges in the “new normal.” I had implicitly assumed that this new normal would be very much like the old normal, one of decent growth and positive equilibrium interest rates. The assumption was challenged at the conference.
On the one hand, Ken Rogoff argued that what we were in the adjustment phase of the “debt supercycle.” Such financial cycles, he argued, end up with debt overhang, which in turn slows down the recovery and requires low interest rates for some time to maintain sufficient demand. Under that view, while it may take a while for the overhang to go away, more so in the Euro zone than in the United States, we should eventually return to something like the old normal.
Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, low interest rates and other central bank policies in the United States remain critical to encourage economic risk-taking—increased consumption by households, and greater willingness to invest and hire by businesses. However, this prolonged monetary ease also may have encouraged excessive financial risk-taking. Our analysis in the latest Global Financial Stability Report suggests that although economic benefits are becoming more evident, U.S. officials should remain alert to excessive financial risk-taking, particularly in lower-rated corporate debt markets.
Bullish financial risk-taking bears monitoring
Persistently low global interest rates have prompted investors to search for higher returns in a wide range of markets, such as stocks, and investment-grade and high-yield bonds. This has resulted in escalating asset prices, and enabled issuers to sell assets with a reduced degree of protection for investors (we give you an example below). The combined trends of more expensive assets and a weakening quality of issuance could pose risks to stability.