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Weekly Commentary: BIS Annual Economic Report (for posterity)

Weekly Commentary: BIS Annual Economic Report (for posterity)

With attention focused on unfolding trade wars and summer vacations, the release of the Bank of International Settlement (BIS) Annual Report garnered scant notice (with the exception of Gillian Tett’s Thursday FT article, “Holiday Trading Lull Flashes Red for Financiers”).
From the BIS: “It is now 10 years since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) engulfed the world. At the time, following an unparalleled build-up of leverage among households and financial institutions, the world’s financial system was on the brink of collapse. Thanks to central banks’ concerted efforts and their accommodative stance, a repeat of the Great Depression was avoided. Since then, historically low, even negative, interest rates and unprecedentedly large central bank balance sheets have provided important support for the global economy and have contributed to the gradual convergence of inflation towards objectives.”

As we near the 10-year financial crisis anniversary, I would approach back slapping with caution. The key issue today is not whether central bank post-Bubble reflationary policies avoided a repeat of the Great Depression. Rather, did the unprecedented concerted – and protracted – global central bank response increase the likelihood of a more destabilizing future crisis – one where the dark forces of global depression might prove difficult to escape?

I’m not interested in bashing the BIS. They strive to have a balanced approach. Yet when reading through their insightful annual report it’s apparent that major holes remain in the contemporary central banking analytical framework. To their Credit, they do recognize the unprecedented buildup of global debt and imbalances. In my view, however, they fail to appreciate how central bankers these days continue fighting the last war.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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