International Economics - International Finance - International Financial Stability

International Financial Stability

From the time of the Great Depression onwards, regulators and their economic advisors have been aware that economic and financial crises can spread rapidly from country to country, and that financial crises can have serious economic consequences. For many decades, that awareness led governments to impose strict controls over the activities and conduct of banks and other credit agencies, but in the 1980s many governments pursued a policy of deregulation in the belief that the resulting efficiency gains would outweigh any systemic risks. The extensive financial innovations that followed are described in the article on financial economics.

One of their effects has been greatly to increase the international inter-connectedness of the financial markets and to create an international financial system with the characteristics known in control theory as "complex-interactive". The stability of such a system is difficult to analyse because there are many possible failure sequences. The internationally systemic crises that followed included the equity crash of October 1987, the Japanese asset price collapse of the 1990s the Asian financial crisis of 1997 the Russian government default of 1998(which brought down the Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund) and the 2007-8 sub-prime mortgages crisis. The symptoms have generally included collapses in asset prices, increases in risk premiums, and general reductions in liquidity.

Measures designed to reduce the vulnerability of the international financial system have been put forward by several international institutions. The Bank for International Settlements made two successive recommendations (Basel I and Basel II) concerning the regulation of banks, and a coordinating group of regulating authorities, and the Financial Stability Forum, that was set up in 1999 to identify and address the weaknesses in the system, has put forward some proposals in an interim report.

Read more about this topic:  International Economics, International Finance

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