Central banks: Between a rock and a hard place?

Central banks: Between a rock and a hard place?

Fecha: julio 2023

José Ramón Díez Guijarro

Central banks

SEFO, Spanish and International Economic & Financial Outlook, V. 12 N.º 4 (July 2023)

Financial turbulence has been easing in recent weeks, reflecting the idiosyncratic nature of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Credit Suisse (CS) failures and the adequacy of the responses by the affected central banks, although some risks remain. Monetary tightening led to a more than 4pp increase in official rates worldwide in 18 months, a movement with no precedent in recent decades in terms of its speed or intensity. Such pronounced and intense rate increases constitute a steep stress test for banks with solvency and/or liquidity weaknesses. The good news is that the fallout has been fairly limited. The US authorities have managed to: protect deposit holders; minimise risks for taxpayers; and, curtail the loss of confidence in the regional banks which in many states are key for monetary policy transmission. Questions remain as to where the next hotspots of instability could lie, with potential high-risk areas including: commercial real estate valuations; hedge fund leverage; loans by US banks to non-bank financial institutions; liquidity at certain life insurers in the US; and, structural weaknesses in some mutual fund categories. Thus, we need to be aware of the difficulties that will face the central banks as they near the end of their rate tightening process, as the complexity of restoring price stability while minimising outbreaks of financial stress is set to increase.

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