Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Fall of Finance

Probably the best coverage of global financial markets is done by McKinsey.
This is a yearly report and here is the  latest:
Some amazing stats:
Falling equities accounted for virtually all of the drop in global financial assets. The world's equities lost almost half their value in 2008, declining by $28 trillion. Markets have regained some ground in recent months, replacing $4.6 trillion in value between December 2008 and the end of July 2009. Global residential real estate values fell by $3.4 trillion in 2008 and nearly $2 trillion more in the first quarter of 2009. Combining these figures, we see that declines in equity and real estate wiped out $28.8 trillion of global wealth in 2008 and the first half of 2009
That's well over double the size of the US economy
Credit bubbles grew both in the United States and Europe before the crisis. Contrary to popular perceptions, credit in Europe grew larger as a percent of GDP than in the United States. Total US credit outstanding rose from 221 percent of GDP in 2000 to 291 percent in 2008, reaching $42 trillion. Eurozone indebtedness rose higher, to 304 percent of GDP by the end of 2008, while UK borrowing climbed even higher, to 320 percent.
I must ask Steve Keen what the equivalent Australian stat is
Financial globalization has reversed, with cross-border capital flows falling by more than 80 percent.
This is a total collapse of financial globalisation
It is unclear how quickly capital flows will revive or whether financial markets will become less globally integrated.
Some global imbalances may be receding. The U.S. current account deficit—and the surpluses in China, Germany, and Japan that helped fund it—has narrowed. However, this may be a temporary effect of the crisis rather than a long-term structural shift.

Mature financial markets may be headed for slower growth in the years to come. Private debt and equity are likely to grow more slowly as households and businesses reduce their debt burdens and as corporate earnings fall back to long-term trends. In contrast, large fiscal deficits will cause government debt to soar.

For emerging markets, the current crisis is likely to be no more than a temporary interruption in their financial market development, because the underlying sources of growth remain strong. For investors and financial intermediaries alike, emerging markets will become more important as their share of global capital markets continues to expand.

This is a big call given the preceding stats ...
What really matters for the world economy over the next year or so is a sustained (and sustainable) recovery in demand, especially in the US, Europe and Japan. Remember that consumer spending in the US accounts for just less than 20 per cent of the global economy.