Banking crisis ‘may happen again’

British think-tank says problems at root of financial meltdown have not been addressed.

The report warns that unless action is taken there is a danger that a financial collapse will happen again
The report warns that unless action is taken there is a danger that a financial collapse will happen again

International co-ordination

In depth

 Selling a new US financial system
 Video: Obama urges finance reforms
 Video: Lessons learned from Lehman
 Video: Lehman’s collapse a year on
 Timeline: Global financial crisis
 The financial crisis one year on

The think-tank argues that reforms should include greater international co-ordination of economic policies in the world’s major economies, with countries such as China and India given a larger role in bodies like the International Monetary Fund.

It also calls for “a financial system that operates for the benefit of the whole economy, not just in its own narrow, short-term interests – which will require increased regulation, preferably based on internationally agreed principles”.

Focusing on the UK, it says economic growth should be based more on exports and investment and less on debt-fuelled consumption.

This would “require the government to be active in addressing market failures in innovation, training, infrastructure and finance”.

The report’s themes pick up on a similar warning from Barack Obama, the US president, in a speech to Wall Street on Monday.

Obama warning

Obama said that while a $787bn package to prop up the country’s ailing economy had worked, he remained concerned that some financial institutions are still acting irresponsibly.

“Unfortunately, there are some in the financial industry who are misreading this moment,” the president said in New York. 

“Instead of learning the lessons of Lehman and the crisis from which we are still recovering, they are choosing to ignore them.

“The old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand. And to the extent that some have so readily returned to them underscores the need for change and change now. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself.

Congress resistance

Gaps in the regulation of US banks and capital markets have been widely blamed for the subprime mortgage crisis and the global financial chaos triggered after Lehman Brothers’ collapse.

Obama said ‘the old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand’ [AFP]

Obama’s regulatory efforts since taking office – which include plans to give the US Federal Reserve new powers to monitor big financial firms and allow the government to seize and liquidate them when they fall into trouble – have hit resistance in congress.

In recent weeks, economic indicators have suggested that things are looking up in the US economy following the $787bn stimulus plan, which was touted as a way to save up to 1.1 million jobs.

Officials are predicting a possible return to positive economic growth in the third quarter of this year, a moment that will mark a political milestone for the administration.

Though the White House insists the gains mean its policies are working, officials admit there is still economic pain to come, predicting that even in recovery, unemployment will hit 10 per cent.

Source : News Agencies


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