July 28, 2018

The access to bank credit war might be more dangerous than trade wars, but gets much less attention.

Sir, Cecilia Malmström, the EU’s trade commissioner when discussing the threat of trade wars writes about the need for“developing tools that allow instances of uncompetitive and unfair behaviour to be addressed quickly, whether these are linked to state intervention or to countries acting unilaterally on the international stage. It would also require greater control over subsidies and the operations of state-owned enterprises, for instance.”, “Reform rules-based trade before it is too late” July 27.

Absolutely, but how sad it is that another war waged with tariffs and subsidies, that of the access to bank credit war, does not receive remotely the same attention.

In a letter the Washington Post recently published I argued: 

“The risk-weighted capital requirements for banks also translate de facto into subsidies and tariffs, which have resulted in a too much-ignored allocation of bank credit war. 

One consequence is that those perceived as risky, such as entrepreneurs, have their access to bank credit made more difficult than usual, and our economy suffers. Another is that by promoting excessive exposures to what is especially dangerous, because it is perceived as safe, against especially little capital, guarantees that when a bank crisis results, it will be especially bad. 

In terms of Mark Twain's supposed saying, these regulations have bankers lending out the umbrella faster than usual when the sun shines and wanting it back faster than usual when it looks like it is going to rain.”

That war has among others assigned a risk weight of 0% to sovereigns and one of 100% to citizens, which allow governments to have “uncompetitive and unfair” access to bank credit. It will, as it destroys the markets capacity to signal the rates effectively, cause the over indebtedness of all nations… 0% risk weighted Greece was just a small preview of the tragedies to come