William White

Bank For International Settlements (BIS): Global Economy Situation Similar To Pre-2008 Crash Era

At the end of last week I left readers with that post about individuals credited with publicly predicting the 2008 global economic crisis.

Yesterday, I learned that some organizations correctly forecast the carnage. In particular, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Phillip Inman reported on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

The BIS was one of the few organisations to warn during 2006 and 2007 about the unstable levels of bank lending on risky assets such as the US subprime mortgages that eventually led to the Lehman Brothers crash and the financial crisis.

Curious to know what the “central bankers’ bank” thinks about the state of the global economy these days? Inman revealed:

Investors are ignoring warning signs that financial markets could be overheating and consumer debts are rising to unsustainable levels, the global body for central banks has warned in its quarterly financial health check.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said the situation in the global economy was similar to the pre-2008 crash era when investors, seeking high returns, borrowed heavily to invest in risky assets, despite moves by central banks to tighten access to credit.

The BIS, known as the central bankers’ bank, said attempts by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England to choke off risky behaviour by raising interest rates had failed so far and unstable financial bubbles were continuing to grow.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not going to steal The Guardian’s thunder here, so head on over to the article on their website for the full story.

By the way, Inman noted the following about the BIS chief economist who was around during those alarms sounded in 2006 and 2007:

William White, who now chairs the OECD’s review committee, warned last year that global debt levels had escalated to unstable levels largely in response to almost zero interest rates to create a situation that was “worse than 2007”.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Former BIS Chief Economist William White: ‘Situation Is Worse Than It Was In 2007’

For over a decade now, I’ve read an enormous amount of material concerning developments in the global economy/larger financial system. Particularly as it pertains to the health of that system. And not too many articles have grabbed my attention during that time like the one penned by The Telegraph’s (UK) international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on their website last week. From his January 19 article:

The global financial system has become dangerously unstable and faces an avalanche of bankruptcies that will test social and political stability, a leading monetary theorist has warned.

“The situation is worse than it was in 2007. Our macroeconomic ammunition to fight downturns is essentially all used up,” said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s review committee and former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

“Debts have continued to build up over the last eight years and they have reached such levels in every part of the world that they have become a potent cause for mischief,” he said…

“The only question is whether we are able to look reality in the eye and face what is coming in an orderly fashion, or whether it will be disorderly”

The European banking system may have to be recapitalized on a scale yet unimagined, and new “bail-in” rules mean that any deposit holder above the guarantee of €100,000 will have to help pay for it.

The warnings have special resonance since Mr White was one of the very few voices in the central banking fraternity who stated loudly and clearly between 2005 and 2008 that Western finance was riding for a fall, and that the global economy was susceptible to a violent crisis…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case some readers didn’t know, the Bank of International Settlements, or BIS, is basically the bank of central banks. And White was their chief economist.

He also commented on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate quagmire. From the piece:

Mr White said the Fed is now in a horrible quandary as it tries to extract itself from QE and right the ship again. “It is a debt trap. Things are so bad that there is no right answer. If they raise rates it’ll be nasty. If they don’t raise rates, it just makes matters worse,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Crash prophet” Peter Schiff has been harping on the rate trap for some time now.

It’s one thing when someone like Schiff points out fissures in the system. And it’s another when an “insider” like William White sounds the alarm.

You can read Evans-Pritchard’s disturbing article in its entirety here on The Telegraph website.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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