July 11, 2018

Martin Wolf, ask the Greeks: Who is more dangerous, Trump with his trade tariffs, or​ ​bank regulators with their risk-weights?

Sir, Martin Wolf lashes out against the President of the United States’ “administration’s trade actions and announced [trade] intentions defining him as an “ignoramus” “Trump creates chaos with a global trade war” July 11.

I just know central bankers and bank regulators should know more about their specialized line of activity, than what a real estate developer should know about trade policy. And so, when it comes down to the title of world-class ignoramus, in my mind that one should clearly go to those who came up with the senseless idea of the risk weighted capital requirements for banks.

Dare to explain to a Greek that European technocrats assigned a 0% risk weight to their government, and that this was what led bankers into lending to it way over its capacity to use the loans. And then ask the Greek who is more dangerous, Donald Trump with his trade war, or bank regulators with their war, with subsidies and tariffs, on the allocation of bank credit?

Yes, Trump poses a threat to significant part of world trade, but the besserwisser in the Basel Committee have dangerously distorted most of the allocation of bank credit in the world.