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S&P Warns Of Stress On Banking Systems


NEW YORK (Standard & Poor's) Dec. 11, 2002--As the world economy slows after several years of robust expansion, banks in mature economies are increasingly exposed to a potential fall in residential real estate prices and the rising level of household and corporate debt, according to a commentary issued today by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.


"Over time, booms and busts in asset prices have been leading contributors to financial stress for global banking systems," said Ernie Napier, a global banking credit anal cyst at Standard & Poor's. "While the current business cycle has lasted longer than many had expected, there are growing signs that a correction of the imbalance between asset prices and household income may be on the way. However, the real negative impact from the unwinding process may not occur until interest rates start to rise again," he continued.

In the Standard & Poor's commentary, "Global Financial System Stress," the credit ratings agency monitors several leading indicators to spot adverse trends. These indicators are excessive credit growth, increasing leverage of the private sector, asset price inflation, and the weakening of a banking system's external position.


The commentary cites banking systems potentially facing stress in Ireland, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.


Banking systems in Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Taiwan, and Turkey have been identified as already under stress.

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Stutz: from the magambo gurus latest: "So a bullish bet on the global economy right now is that Alan Greenspan, in tight cooperation with the other powerful central bankers around the world and planetary system, utilizing a consistent theory of monetary/banking policy, will, for the very first time in history, actually conquer the fabled "business cycle," that pesky boom-bust scenario, that has been the bane of man.



To paraphrase an old joke about out-running lions, they don't need to outrun the "business cycle," they just need to outrun the bears. They need to transform the landscape. No mean feat. Personally, I think we wake up one morning and the whole festering credit system will have seized up. Very possibly shorts will be declared social criminals, and their brokerage accounts blocked. And we/I sail completely off the map.

I don't know what "they" will do, but I'll make book it's not nothing.

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Stutz: no argument they will do "something" and it will surely not be pretty. But at the end of the day it will not overtake the natural cycles and laws of nature. Pretty grim, but I would rather stay on top of the situation than bury my head in the sand and hope.

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