リーマン1年 金融再生に教訓を生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Sep. 15, 2009)
Apply lessons learned from Lehman Shock
リーマン1年 金融再生に教訓を生かせ(9月15日付・読売社説)

The global financial crisis that originated in the United States, said to be the worst in a century, has been easing, but a full-fledged recovery seems a long way off.

A year has passed since major U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008. The so-called Lehman Shock caused an unprecedented financial crisis that pushed nations across the world into a simultaneous economic downturn.

Prior to Lehman Brothers' collapse, the housing bubble had burst in the United States, and the market for higher-risk financial derivatives packed with mortgages had contracted sharply. This happened because monetary authorities failed to take swift action to respond to market volatility.

A year after the failure of Lehman Brothers, instability in global financial markets has finally been alleviated, and the world financial and economic situation is picking up.


U.S. economy remains weak

Japan, China, European nations, the United States and other major countries mobilized every possible policy weapon at their disposal, including large-scale economic pump-priming activities and extraordinary easy-money policies. It is significant that international cooperation brought about good results and prevented the crisis from spiraling out of control.

Stock prices in Japan, Europe and the United States, which had tumbled, have recovered to levels about 10 percent lower than those recorded before the Lehman Shock. Stock prices in emerging countries, such as China, are turning up.

Economies in major countries are on a recovery track. Among leading countries that have registered negative growth, Japan returned to positive growth during the April-June period. Although Europe and the United States have so far been unable to sail out of the economic doldrums, their economies are expected to bottom out this year. China has maintained an economic growth rate of about 8 percent.

But the financial crisis is not over. There is little ground for optimism.

In the United States, the jobless rate has risen to about 10 percent. Individual consumption remains low, and the economy remains weak. There are fears that a double-dip recession could occur.

The sluggish U.S. economy could have serious consequences for the rest of the world, including Japan. Given that the global economy has yet to make a full-fledged recovery, it would be premature to begin an exit strategy and scale down economic pump-priming measures.


G-20 meet focus of attention

To avoid a recurrence of the crisis, it is an urgent task to strengthen financial regulation and supervision.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has announced its new reform proposals to tighten controls over the financial sector. But there are moves in the United States to oppose Obama's reform proposals.

The Group of 20 developed and emerging nations also aims to strengthen regulations by reviewing the capital adequacy ratios of financial institutions and capping executive bonuses, but has had difficulty setting international rules due to conflicts of interest.

It is feared that movements of speculative money have revived, taking advantage of a delay in efforts by individual countries to strengthen financial regulations. Crude oil and gold prices are soaring. We should stay alert for the rapid expansion of money flowing outside the real economy.

The G-20 financial summit meeting will be held in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24-25. How will the world's financial leaders apply the lessons learned from the Lehman Shock? Their ability to take action to accelerate financial revitalization will be put to the test.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 15, 2009)
(2009年9月15日01時09分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-09-15 08:49 | 英字新聞

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