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Global Financial Crisis 2008 Finance Essay

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Date added: 17-06-26

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Financial Crisis is a situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated with a panic or a run on the banks, in which investors sell off assets or withdraw money from savings accounts with the expectation that the value of those assets will drop if they remain at a financial institution (Bhatia2011, p.12).

.1.2 Importance of the issue

Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 has been the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s.The financial crisis has had a profound effect, much more than that anticipated by many. The national borders have been breached and the ramifications are still being felt far from the epicenter. Although the global economy is recovering, the confidence in the markets is still weak as market participants are looking for a direction which is by no means straight forward.

The aim of this essay is to understand the financial crisis, its causes, impacts and lesson that could be learnt from this crisis.

Financial crisis history

In order to understand the causes of the crisis we need to understand the past events that molded the current crisis. They include the financial landscape existing before the crisis, working of the global financial system and the shadow banking system. Reinhart and Rogoff (2011) and Schularick and Taylor (2012) provide a consistent picture of the run‐up to a financial crisis: an acceleration of debt from both governments and financial intermediaries are the most important antecedents. According to Reinhart and Rogoff (2008). First, there was the Asian financial crisis of 199798, which saw Asian economies generate large current account surpluses that had to be invested offshore to keep their nominal exchange rates low. Capital flowed out of Asia into US dotcom stocks driving up equity prices. Next was the bursting of the dotcom bubble, which saw the booming NASDAQ over 1998-2000 burst in 2001.

Fearing a downturn and possible deflation, the US Federal Reserve eased monetary policy in 2001 in a series of steps to 2004. Rising demands from China (and, to some extent, India), plus a booming world economy saw commodity prices rise across oil, minerals and food from late 2004 to late 2007(Warwick2009,p.4).

Financial crisis 2008

3.1 Causes of financial crisis

3.1.1The bursting of the housing bubble

Falling house prices has a major effect on household wealth, spending and defaults on loans held by financial institutions. Events in the United States typify a global phenomenon. From 2000 to 2006, house prices in some areas doubled to subsequently collapse. These changes in some areas have generated dramatic news headlines but, overall the United States index of house prices has fallen by 6.2 percent in real terms from the 1st quarter 2008 to the same quarter in 2009.

While house prices were rising so strongly, credit was supplied liberally to meet the demand as perceptions of risk fell. The rising wealth boosted confidence and spending. The housing bubble was a global phenomenon centered mainly on the Anglo Saxon world (Warwick2009, p.6).

3.1.2 Rising equity risk premie

The surprise upswing in commodity prices from 2003 but most noticeable during 2006 and 2007 led to concerns about inflation leading to the sharp reversal in monetary policy in the US. This tightening in US policy also implied a tightening of monetary policy in economies that pegged to the US dollar. It was the sharpness of this reversal as much as the fall in US house prices and the failures of financial regulation (for example, the mortgage underwriters

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that led to the financial problems for 2008/09. Lehman

Brothers' failure was primarily due to the large losses they sustained on the US subprime mortgage market. Lehman's held large positions in the subprime and other lower rated mortgage markets. But mortgage delinquencies rose after the US housing price bubble burst in 2006. In the second fiscal quarter 2008, Lehman reported losses of $2.8 billion. It was forced to sell off $6 billion in assets.

3.1.3A rise in household risk

The reappraisal of risk by firms as a result of the crisis also applies to households. As households view the future as being more risky, so they discount their future earnings and that affects their savings and spending decisions. As with the previous shock, we model two scenarios: one permanent and the other temporary. The increase in household risk in the United States is assumed to be 3 percentage points in the permanent scenario and returning to zero by year three in the temporary scenario.

3.2 Effects

3.2.1 Stock market

The financial shock has the largest negative impact on stock market values from baseline in 2009 and an equally large impact as the bursting of the housing bubble on investment. The equity risk shock causes a shift out of equities into other domestic assets, such as housing and government bonds as well as to asset purchases overseas. The shift into government bonds drives up their prices and pushes down real interest rates substantially. This surprisingly raises human wealth because expected future after tax income is discounted at a much lower real interest rate. Thus in the US, the equity shock alone is positive rather than negative for consumption in the short run.

Investment on the other hand falls sharply. The equity shock reduces US investment by about 20 percent below baseline. The rise in equity risk implies a sharp selloff of shares due to a large rise in the required rate of return to capital. The higher equity risk premium implies that the existing capital stock is too high to generate the marginal product required from the financial arbitrage condition and investment falls and, over time, due to the existence of adjustment costs, the capital stock falls and potential output is permanently reduced.

3.2.2 Lowered real Gross Domestic Product of US

Each of the shocks has a negative effect on the United States and, combined, has the effect of lowering real GDP by 7 percent below baseline in 2009 and real GDP does not return to baseline until 2017, nearly a decade later. That is sufficient to put the US into recession in 2009 (baseline growth is 3.4 percent) but will allow positive growth in 2010.

3.2.3 Fall in demand for manufactured goods

A key compositional effect also occurs when household discount rates rise and risk premia generally rise. The effect is a much sharper fall in the demand for durable goods relative to other goods in the economy.. Imports and domestic production of durable goods falls by more than non durable goods. The high risk adjusted cost leads to a reduction in the flow of services from durables and therefore the demand for these goods drops sharply. This compositional effect is for the trade outcomes. Countries that export durable goods are particularly affected by a crisis.

3.2.4 Effects to other world economy.

According to Harvey (2010), the recession in the United States has three main effects on the world economy.

The negative knock on effect from the loss in activity with those economies most dependent on the United States market most affected.

As prospects dim in the United States, so the returns on investment look better elsewhere. Money flows out of the United States (or strictly in the case of the US, less inflow than otherwise) and into other economies where it stimulates investment and economic activity. This is illustrated by the effect on China. The United States is a large importer from China. As US imports fall, China's exports fall with a combined effect from the three shocks of a drop in exports of 5 percent below baseline in 2009.

The most affected sectors by the economic crisis are agriculture, mining, tourism, textiles and manufacturing in Africa. There have been many job loses which have direct negative effects on worker's living standards for examples, South Africa: 36,500 jobs have been lost in the automobile industry.

3.2.5 Decrease of demand for consumer loan

There was an overall decrease in demand for consumer loans, as measured by applications to both affected and unaffected savings banks. The effect is stronger for mortgages, as compared to consumer loans. If a borrower had a prior relationship with the savings bank, the effect is mitigated, that is, those customers are less likely to have their applications rejected compared to new customers.

What Did We Learn from the Financial Crisis of 2008?

According to Shibashish (2008), these are the lessons learnt from the 2008 financial crisis:

(i) The importance of voluntary and involuntary disclosures on financial products, or the lack of both, (ii) the importance of regulators and how important it is for them to regulate and have an oversight of the macroeconomic indicators, (iii) existing risk management practices especially for the big banks and rating agencies, (iv) the most important of all, it is the exercise of rationality while making large investment decisions by the investors.

From a policy-making perspective the crisis has been a wakeup call for the regulators who have until now ignored the Keynesian economic model that speaks about free market economy along with strong oversight. In fact the accounting regulation body such as the Financial Accounting

Standards Board (FASB) have completely failed to keep up with the pace at which firms have evolved in the recent years. There are some legitimate concerns such as the fair value accounting of non-tradable assets, etc. However, the big picture is still that the market value of the banking firms far exceeds in their intangible assets value than their tangible assets and still the accounting regulations do not require these firms to disclose sufficiently on their intangible assets. This is the leading factor that creates a huge information asymmetry in the market where the investors have a limited knowledge about the instruments in which they are making large investments, and definitely before the crisis the scale was unprecedented. The scope information asymmetry is plenty in the banking sector that starts from processes, culture, human capital and the capacity for the bank to be innovative. These asymmetries are constructive asymmetry and can benefit the investors from the diversification perspective. What is not recommended is that investors are deliberately kept in the dark because of lack of reporting standard about derivatives such as CDOs and CDSs, which can be lucrative investment vehicles and banks are able to sell these instruments in enormous quantities creating a shift in the systematic risk quotient of the market.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the U.S. banks in order to remain globally competitive regulators have to fix the shortcomings of the financial reporting standards and market oversight policies. This should motivate banks to formulate their risk management and disclosure strategies rather carefully. With more information and understanding about seemingly complicated derivative products perhaps investors will also make better choices and informed decisions.


This paper has explored the impact of major shocks representing the global financial crisis on the global economy. For the crisis itself shocks are needed to capture the observed drop in asset prices and reduction in demand and trade. It is necessary to simulate the bursting of the housing bubble centered in the United States and Europe, but extending elsewhere, rising perceptions of risk by business as reflected in the equity risk premium over bonds and rising perceptions of risk by households. The regulatory bodies identified lack of transparency in the financial system as the basic problem that hindered effective oversight of the institutions (McKibbin and Stoeckel 2009b). The complex structure of the securitized products did not allow purchasers of MBS to correctly evaluate the quality of underlying assets and to understand the risks involved

There is no doubt that more coordination in regulatory policies would be required at the global level. Special care would have to be given to the capital and liquidity requirements for financial institutions. The global nature of the financial system makes this coordination imperative. The enhanced capital and liquidity requirements will be phased in along the next 5 years. Simply put, this should make the banks safer by providing a greater cushion to survive the mistakes and accidents from which they suffer.

Generally, the regulatory proposals have been aimed at reducing the impact of the current crisis and preventing recurrences. The proposals have targeted a host of issues, including executive pay, financial cushions, consumer protection, the regulation of derivatives and the so‐called shadow banking system, and the power of the Federal Reserve to wind‐down systemically significant financial institutions

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