quarta-feira, novembro 30, 2011

A (balance of payments) crisis by any other name

An interesting McKinsey article about the Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990's describes hot money capital flows in Thailand circa 2000.  It could be transposed to Europe circa 2011 and deserves a good re-reading.

In Asia, it was seen as a banking crisis, in Europe it's now  seen as a sovereign debt crisis, but in fact the crises nearly always originate in foreign trade and balance of payments imbalances.

Therefore, we  need to explore the causality  in more detail,  from the current account deficits financed by hot money capital inflows, made possible by over-extended  foreign banks and over-leveraged local borroweres.  When these flows reverse suddenly, it causes a local financial contraction.

From where we sit in Lisbon, we have to wonder whether such "free capital flows" are such a good thing after all.  In fact, they prove to be anything but "free".

See:  Hot money

Hedge funds are commonly blamed for the recent financial crises in Asia and Russia, but banks were the real culprits