Mozambique: The biggest corruption case in Africa
A $2 billion corruption scandal continues to upend the political and economic landscape in Mozambique. Manuel Chang, the former finance minister, has been arrested by U.S. authorities along with several co-conspirators. His legal fate, which now hangs in the balance in South Africa, will have major repercussions in his home country. Extradition to the U.S. could implicate other Mozambican officials and help turn back on the flow of international aid and investment.
Prospects for two-tiered banking regulation in Europe
The European Union’s complex and lengthy set of rules for banks is putting a burden on small lenders, which often form the backbone of a country’s banking sector. The solution, some propose, is to have a two-tiered system in which the banks that are “too big to fail” must follow the most stringent regulations, while simpler, less complicated rules apply to the smaller players. Such a system is already being used in the United States. Could Europe follow?
‘Basel IV’ and the stability of the financial industry
The Basel Committee on Bank Supervision has rolled out new recommendations that most international banks are expected to follow. Many in the industry criticize the rules’ complexity and restrictiveness, but regulators say they don’t go far enough. Everyone agrees, however, that more regulations are soon to come. In the meantime, the stability of the global financial system remains uncertain.
‘Overbanking’ in Europe
While American banks recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, lenders in Europe have languished. Contrasting regulatory approaches and economic environments account for some of the differences, but European banking authorities have their own explanation: “overbanking.” Their reasoning is odd, not least because the European Union’s banking sector is shrinking.
Orderly failure: The EU’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive
After the 2008-2009 financial crisis, governments are wary about bailing out distressed banks with taxpayer money. But the bail-in procedures implemented in 2016 by the European Union, while helping minimize some risks, have their own drawbacks. If new proposals are adopted to give resolution authorities more preemptive powers, they will give technocrats unprecedented control over the banking industry.
From regulation to supervision – the trajectory of MiFID II
The European Union’s ambitious attempt to re-regulate the financial industry (MiFID II) took effect this year. Companies are struggling to meet its complex disclosure requirements, which can only be met by powerful and costly IT solutions. Early experience suggests MiFID II is so unworkable that it may soon have to be replaced; but the bigger worry is that it may be the precursor of a real-time, global surveillance apparatus.
Opinion: Ready for the next recession?
Economists enjoy delivering bad news. The current favorite being shared by academics and financial experts is that the world is headed for a recession, in 2020 or 2021 at the latest. But we regard this as unlikely, unless there is a major political accident – such as a trade war or turmoil in China. While a slowdown is always possible, especially in Western Europe, that does not make a recession.
Can India bank on its banks?
As the ratio of nonperforming assets in India’s banking sector rises, there have been loud calls for reform. The condition of loan portfolios at state-controlled banks is now so parlous that it is choking off the availability of new credit and forcing the government into ever more ambitious recapitalization schemes. But for all the smoke and noise, substantive change has been elusive.
Is Brexit inevitable?
Signs are accumulating that the preliminary divorce agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union is starting to unravel, and that a year from now, on March 29/30, 2019, we could witness a “hard Brexit” with no transition arrangements and chaos in areas hitherto regulated by the EU. The damage to both sides’ economies would be substantial, and time for softening the blow is running out.