By Chi Lo (auth.)
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Additional info for Asia and the Subprime Crisis: Lifting the Veil on the ‘Financial Tsunami’
Money markets will also be smaller and more expensive, so that banks will have to rely more on the traditional funding source of deposits. A plain vanilla banking model of simple lending and borrowing will return; fancy derivatives will be gone. When one considers the essence of the subprime crisis, this is not an overly pessimistic scenario for the post-crisis global banking environment. A modern economy cannot grow if its financial system is not operating effectively. Banks, along with the wider financial system, act as vital intermediaries allowing credit to flow from savers to borrowers with viable ventures.
Asian regulators should take the subprime crisis lesson seriously to improve their regulatory systems. As Asian financial markets expand into new terrain, policymakers should put in place measures to deal with risks posed by financial innovation, but should not shy away from financial liberalisation or suppress financial innovation. 3 The Subprime Impact on China The damaging financial effect of the subprime crisis on China and its banking system is limited: less than 1% of total assets in the system, according to the market estimation.
Notably, Thailand, where the Asian crisis started, had a current account deficit of over 8% of GDP prior to the crisis; the USA had a current account deficit of 6% in the year before the subprime crisis! The Americans have gone into a debt-financed spending spree for over a decade, pushing the loan-to-deposit ratio in the banking system to over 100%. Everything from personal consumption to financial investment has been funded by debts. 1 Asian crisis 3* (1996) Thailand (1996) Current account balances before crisis Note: * Average of Korea, Indonesia, Thailand.