BIS Quarterly Review, June 2012

4 June 2012

The BIS Quarterly Review for June 2012: returning doubts drive up financial market volatility. The June issue also provides highlights from the latest BIS data on international banking and financial activity.

Statistical tables:

International banking and financial market developments

Optimism evaporates
Over the past three months, financial market participants have shifted their attention from hopes of global economic recovery to concerns about Europe. Sentiment improved substantially after the ECB's longer-term refinancing operations. And hopes of a steady economic recovery were raised by positive US economic news and resilient growth in emerging markets, lifting equity and commodity markets. Credit spreads tightened significantly for banks and selected euro area sovereigns, and capital inflows to emerging markets surged. But by late May, optimism had given way to doubts about European economic growth, the financial health of euro area sovereigns and banks, the impact of fiscal consolidation on growth, and political stability inside the euro area. Together with signs of greater fragility in US and Chinese growth, all this unsettled investors and stoked global financial market volatility. More...
Highlights of the BIS international statistics
During the fourth quarter of 2011, BIS reporting banks recorded their largest fall in aggregate cross-border claims since the drop following the Lehman Brothers collapse three years earlier. The decline was worldwide, although it was driven by the deleveraging of banks headquartered in the euro area. Cross-border lending to non-banks also fell, but the drop in claims on banks was sharper. Cross-border lending fell around the globe. BIS reporters' cross-border claims on both banks and non-banks in developed economies shrank by $630 billion. Euro area banks accounted for most of this decline. Cross-border claims on emerging market economies fell by $75 billion, or 2.4%. The decline was concentrated on Asia-Pacific in general and on banks in China in particular. For China, this was the first overall decrease since the opening quarter of 2009. Among all developing countries, only those in Latin America and the Caribbean saw an increase in cross-border claims. The notional amount of outstanding over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives fell by 8% in the second half of 2011, while a rise in price volatility drove up the market value by 40%. Gross credit exposures rose 32%. After accounting for netting and posted collateral and adjusting for the double-counting of collateral in the industry data, the BIS estimates that credit exposures between counterparties in the bilateral OTC derivatives market increased slightly, to at least $2.1 trillion. More...

Special features

Countercyclical policies in emerging markets
Emerging market economies (EMEs) have historically faced challenges in implementing countercyclical policies. However, the policy environment has changed. This paper finds evidence that EMEs were able to conduct countercyclical monetary and fiscal policies over the past decade. Indeed, the EMEs that have leaned more heavily against the business cycle have generally used both monetary and fiscal tools to do so. More...
Eurodollar banking and currency internationalisation
It is widely held that currencies of surplus countries, such as China, cannot enjoy wide international use. We argue that the eurodollar market has had little to do with the direction of net capital flows or the US current account balance. It has played different roles over the past 38 years, most of all intermediation among non-US residents. Looking at the eurodollar market could help predict the evolution of the offshore renminbi market. Even if it now mainly serves as a conduit of funds to mainland China from abroad, in the future this market, too, could mainly intermediate between non-Chinese residents. More...
The expansion of central bank balance sheets in emerging Asia: what are the risks?
Central bank balance sheets in emerging Asia expanded rapidly over the past decade because of the unprecedented rise in foreign reserve assets. The corresponding expansion of the central banks' liabilities has created dangers - risks of inflation and financial instability and financial market distortions - that require attention. More...

Quarterly Review boxes

Uncovered counterparty exposures in global OTC derivatives markets
International debt security issuance in the first quarter of 2012