Monday, September 15, 2008

And the next one please ....

Turns out the clever-clogs who've developed so many innovative and ingenious financial instruments over the last thirty years aren't so clever after all. Our old friend moral hazard could have pointed out the long-term conseqences of your bonus size being dependent on the risks you take with other people's money. Only a few years ago bank share prices and profits were at record levels.

Ten of the world's biggest banks have established a $70bn (£38.74bn) emergency bail-out fund intended to avert further failures following a dramatic weekend in which Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch succumbed to a takeover.

As top financial regulators burned the midnight oil on Sunday night to get a grip on a rapidly widening banking crisis, the US treasury secretary Henry Paulson issued a statement acknowledging an "extraordinary environment" in the financial markets. The Federal Reserve weakened its guidelines to make it easier for troubled institutions to access urgent funds.

Ten international banks including Barclays, Credit Suisse, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs announced that they were each contributing $7bn to a hastily arranged fund. If any of them find themselves in danger of collapse, they will be able to access the pool of money with any single troubled bank able to draw up to a third of the $70bn total.

The banks said they were acting together to "enhance liquidity and mitigate the unprecedented volatility and other challenges affecting global equity and debt markets".

It's 8.30 and there's only one (quite readable) CiF post on the subject. The inevitable "this spells the doom of global capitalism" piece is yet to appear. My money's on Shameless Milne.

Of course it doesn't spell any such thing. Maybe it spells the doom of one variety - and good riddance if it does. Perhaps we'll even be back to the pre-Thatcher, pre "credit liberalisation" days - when if you wanted a mortgage, you had to have been saving, usually for several years, with the institution you were borrowing from.

The government banking guarantee limits compo to £35,000 per bank. Those readers fortunate enough to have liquid assets in excess of that should perhaps consider spreading the risk between several banks. Or moving, ironically, to Northern Rock !

PS - Jackie Ashley :

The inner core of Gordon loyalists differ from the rest in one respect only. They cling to the hope that this is all really about the economy and that, if it improves quickly, so will his and Labour's ratings.
Oh dear.


Anonymous said...

This is looking less like we are heading for a normal recession and more like the Great Depression Mark 2. The irony is that whereas the last Great Depression saw the widespread adoption of socialism in many countries, it may be the end of socialism here in the UK.

Stock up on those tins of beans. It's going to get rough. Really rough. You might even want to consider getting a shotgun, because if you think crimes bad now it certainly ain't gonne be getting any better over the next 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the bankers will be after plenty of 'socialism for the rich', i.e. taxpayers' money bailing them out now they're not doing so well.

Trofim said...

Bugger. I've killed seven squirrels for having my hazel nuts, and only had the foresight to put one in the freezer. Next one is straight in the casserole.azwoqis

Anonymous said...

Leave those squirrels alone! After years of the little buggers nicking our hazelnuts, last year they started bringing us walnuts.

Anonymous said...

The problem is racism.
Immigration is good for the economy, and if you rednecks hadn't limited immigration to only 600,000 a year this crisis would have never happened.