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From the financial crisis to the euro area debt sovereign crisis: facts, interpretations and policy actions 4 Lectures 1. The financial crisis of 2007-09.

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Presentation on theme: "From the financial crisis to the euro area debt sovereign crisis: facts, interpretations and policy actions 4 Lectures 1. The financial crisis of 2007-09."— Presentation transcript:

1 From the financial crisis to the euro area debt sovereign crisis: facts, interpretations and policy actions 4 Lectures 1. The financial crisis of How banking regulation is changing 3. The euro area crisis and the Italian economy 4. The new European governance, the ECB monetary policy and theBanking Union Facoltà di Economia, Sapienza Università di Roma, 2013 Riccardo De Bonis

2 The crisis of It has been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression Outline of the lecture i) Facts ii) Interpretations iii) Final remarks

3 The chronology of the 2007/09 crisis The story of the crisis may be divided into two periods a) the financial turmoil started in the summer of 2007; b) the eruption of the crisis in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed After large actions by governments and central banks, there were signs of stabilization from March

4 4 The Stock Market in the US and Italy (31//12/1994=100) Most of industrial countries recorded credit booms, and house and share prices increases, until 2007

5 5 The start of the crisis: the subprime market In the US signals of increase in subprime mortgage defaults were first noted in February 2007 June-July 2007: the mortgage subprime market shows a more severe stress and new home sales and house prices started to decline

6 6 The first measures taken by the Central banks July-August 2007: subprime exposure drags down two German banks, IKB and Sachsen Landesbanken, a State owned bank August 2007: strong turmoil in the interbank market, where rates increased August 2007: in response to the freezing up of the interbank market the ECB injected 95 billions of euro in overnight credit to banks. The FED injected 24 billions of dollars

7 7 The Northern Rock crisis September 2007: a bank run hits the English bank Northern Rock In the nine years from 1998 to 2007, NR’s lending increased 6.5 times and was mainly financed by wholesale funding, not by retail deposits The run on retail deposits after the Bank of England announced the intention to provide emergency liquidity support to NR In the last quarter of 2007, to alleviate the liquidity crunch, central banks reduced their rates, broadened the type of collateral that banks could post and lengthened the lending horizon

8 8 The Bearn Stearns’ bail-out March 2008: bail out of the US investment bank Bearn Stearns BS was highly leveraged and had a large mortgage exposure. It was unable to secure funding on the repo market BS was too entangled to fail, having 150 million trades spread across various counterparts The FED decided to bail-out BS to minimize counterparty credit risk The bail-out was financed by the FED, through a loan of $30 billion to JP Morgan Chase

9 9 The summer of 2008: the bail-out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac In 2008 mortgage delinquency rates continued to increase Fannie Mae e Freddie Mac were two publicly traded but government chartered institutions that securitized a large part of US mortgages and had about $1.5 trillion of bonds outstanding July 2008: the US Treasury made its implicit government guarantee explicit

10 10 The AIG’s collapse AIG - a global insurance company – had a large derivative business September 2008: AIG’s stock price fell more than 90 per cent Owing to AIG’s links in the credit derivatives market, the FED organized a bail-out of $85 billions

11 11 The Lehman Brothers’ crisis 15 September 2008: bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers The stock price of LB in January 2008 was about $65: on September 12 it was under $4 The bank was highly leveraged, having about 700 billion of assets against a capital of approximately $25 billions

12 12 The Lehman Brothers’ crisis LB is a story of excessive risk taking, excessive leverage, bad corporate governance and nondisclosure LB had long term illiquid assets – commercial real estate and private equity-like investments - mainly financed through short term repos LB ensured the public that it had sufficient liquidity to overcome any foreseeable economic downturn

13 13 Why was Lehman Brothers not bailed-out? Some intermediaries did not want to buy LB or refused to take over LB without a government guarantee Eventually, the Fed and the Treasury decided not to offer a guarantee funded by taxpayers The previous bail-outs of Bearn Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG created a cultural bias against further State aid

14 14 The reactions of Central banks October 2008: financial crisis spreads to Europe 3 October: US Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), authorizing expenditures of 700 billions of dollars October 8: there was a coordinated reduction in policy rates by six major central banks Governments of OECD countries decide to back banks, providing State aid, extending the coverage of deposit insurance and enlarging the insurance to bank bonds

15 The end of the financial crisis Conditions of financial markets improved since March However the real effects of the financial crisis persisted for many months: 2009 was a recession year for many economies. Real GDP contracted by 5,5% per cent in Italy The reaction of governments and central banks to the crisis was very different from what we observed in the Thirties. Both fiscal and monetary stances were very expansive There was a Great Recession, not a Great Depression 15

16 16 Now we turn to the interpretations of the crisis We will first look at the macro scenario and then at the microeconomic explanations of the crisis

17 The macro scenario showed global imbalances

18 18 Global imbalances From traditional net absorbers of financial capital from the rest of the world many emerging countries – notably China – became net exporters of financial capital The US run a current deficit of the balance of payments and had a large net debtor position with the rest of the world, becoming the main absorber of international capital flows

19 19 Monetary policy in the US before the crisis In 2000 the US underwent the burst of the internet economy started in 1995 (the dot.com bubble) Monetary policy became expansionary: the Greenspan’s put. Low interest rates favoured loan demand American politicians looked with favour at a larger homeownership and at mortgage equity withdrawal. House prices started increasing The increase of house prices increased the value of collateral for banks, boosting a new rise of mortgages Household leverage increased, while saving was negative

20 20 Which were the causes of the crisis? Around mid 2007 the insolvencies on subprime lending hit the US economy but to assign the responsibility of the crisis to the subprime defaults is like to assign the responsibility of the I World War to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 …

21 21 The key question How the original loss of some hundred billion dollars in the mortgage market was sufficient to trigger an extraordinary series of global financial and economic consequences (Blanchard 2009)?

22 22

23 23 The crisis amplification mechanisms There were global unbalances in the world economy but amplification mechanisms transformed a relatively small trigger – the subprime market collapse - in the Great Recession (Brunnermeier, 2009)

24 24 First amplification mechanism: the interbank market From August 2007 to February 2009 banks reduced drastically loans granted to other intermediaries and raised their cost But interbank markets were and are indispensable for banks Since the 1990s the growth of loans was higher than the growth of deposits Therefore interbank resources were indispensable to cover the “funding gap”

25 25 The interbank market The block of the interbank market contributed to the “credit crunch” of Two explanations of why interbank markets did not work a)A perception of high counterpart crisis b)Banks wanted to remain liquid because they were afraid that liquidity could be indispensable in the future

26 26 A run took place on the interbank market It was similar to the Diamond – Dybvig story but it was not a run of small depositors that want to withdraw their funds from banks On the contrary intermediaries run the repo market and the commercial paper market Central banks reacted increasing the supply of liquidity and introducing innovation in monetary policy instruments (Cecioni, Ferrero and Secchi, 2011)

27 27 The interbank market The run on the repo market explains why investment banks suffered more than commercial banks Bearn Stearns was bought by JP Morgan Chase Lehman Brothers was liquidated Merril Lynch was bailed-out by Bank of America Only Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs survived but asked the FED to receive the commercial bank license, in order to be able to receive liquidity from the central bank

28 28 The interbank market A large part of investment banks funding derived from repos and commercial paper On the asset side their portfolios were full of securities linked to the mortgage market. Therefore the liquidity of their assets decreased since the summer of 2007 Regulation of investment banks was light The idea was that regulation must put the emphasis on commercial banks, especially on the defense of small depositors’ saving But investment banks do not collect deposits from the public …

29 29 The interbank market The presumption was that investment banks’ assets could be always liquidated and that their liabilities – repos and commercial paper – cannot be object of a run Leverage of investment banks was very high, also because capital requirements applied only to commercial banks

30 30 Second amplifications mechanism: securitizations Since the Nineties commercial banks increased their securitization business to get new liquidity and therefore to increase their supply of loans From “originate to hold” to “originate to distribute” Mortgages were the first object of securitizations. Special purpose vehicles bought the loans from banks issuing asset backed securities (ABS). Then also ABS have been securitized. Other vehicles invested in ABS issuing for instance collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), multiplying securities with a AAA rating

31 31 Second amplifications mechanism: securitizations Since 2007 markets lost trust in financial instruments linked to securitizations Notwithstanding their high ratings, securitization products became impossible to liquidate Diversification of risk theoretically ensured by securitizations was illusory (Rajan 2005): the risk was always held by banks or other intermediaries

32 32 Third amplification mechanism: excessive Leverage Investment banks and non-bank financial intermediaries were excessively leveraged Low leverage implied that banks and other intermediaries were not able to bear the first losses and were forced to sell assets, then contributing to a general decrease of asset prices

33 33 Fourth amplification mechanism: regulatory and supervisory mistakes In the US regulation and supervision of non bank intermediaries was poor What is the shadow bank system? Prudential rules were insufficient for vehicles that invested into securitization products, for money- market mutual funds, and for investment banks In the US and the UK there was a “competition in laxity”, often inspired by an ideological bias against State regulation and in favor of self-regulation

34 34 From the web site of the Nobel Prize Paul Krugman (photo taken on 3/6/2003)

35 35 Final remarks Some elements of the crisis are recurrent in all the crises (Reinhart and Rogoff 2009): -excessive leverage: today not of industrial firms, but especially of households and intermediaries -crash of share prices (in Italy -49 per cent in 2008), after a bubble (with herd behavior and“irrational exuberance”, according to Shiller) -decrease of house prices, after a bubble in many countries -defaults and subsequent State bail-outs of banks, leading to a worsening of public finance

36 36 Final remarks But there were are also new characteristics of the crisis and new causes of instability 1) The systemic impact was analogous only to that of the Great Depression in the Thirties 2) Interbank markets did not work properly 3) Securitizations – and rating agencies - created wrong incentives 4) High leverage of intermediaries

37 37 Final remarks 5) Liquidity risk was more important than credit risk 6) There where mainly market failures but also supervisory mistakes, in an intellectual environment that was sceptical versus State intervention in banking Like the Great Depression, no single account of the financial crisis is sufficient to describe it (Rephrasing Tolstoj: every financial crisis takes place in its own way)

38 38 References Blanchard O. (2009), “The Crisis: Basic Mechanisms, and Appropriate Policies”, IMF Working paper, April, n. 80 Brunnermeier M. K. (2009), “Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch ”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, n. 1, Cecioni M., Ferrero G. and Secchi A. (2011), “Unconventional monetary policy in theory and in practice”, Bank of Italy Occasional papers, 102 Gorton G. B. and A. Metrick (2012), “Getting-up to speed on the financial crisis: a one-week-end-reader’s guide”, NBER working paper n Lo A. L. (2012), “Reading About the Financial Crisis: A Twenty-One- Book Review”, Journal of Economic Literature, n. 1, Rajan R. (2005), “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?, NBER WP n , October Reinhart, C. M. and K. S. Rogoff (2009), “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press


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