Most people have never heard of Jaime Caruana even though he is the head of an immensely powerful organization. He has been serving as the General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements since 2009, and he will continue in that role until 2017. The Bank for International Settlements is a rather boring name, and very few people realize that it is at the very core of our centrally-planned global financial system. So when Jaime Caruana speaks, people should listen. And the fact that he recently warned that the global financial system is currently “more fragile” in many ways than it was just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers should set off all sorts of alarm bells. Speaking of the financial markets, Caruana ominously declared that “it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally” and he noted that “markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”. In other words, he is saying what I have been saying for so long. The behavior of the financial markets has become completely divorced from economic reality, and at some point there is going to be a massive correction.
So why would the head of ‘the central bank of the world’ choose this moment to issue such a chilling warning?
Does he know something that the rest of us do not?
According to a recent article in the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Caruana is extremely concerned about rising debt levels and the current level of euphoria in the financial markets…
The world economy is just as vulnerable to a financial crisis as it was in 2007, with the added danger that debt ratios are now far higher and emerging markets have been drawn into the fire as well, the Bank for International Settlements has warned.
Jaime Caruana, head of the Swiss-based financial watchdog, said investors were ignoring the risk of monetary tightening in their voracious hunt for yield.
“Markets seem to be considering only a very narrow spectrum of potential outcomes. They have become convinced that monetary conditions will remain easy for a very long time, and may be taking more assurance than central banks wish to give,” he told The Telegraph.
Mr Caruana said the international system is in many ways more fragile than it was in the build-up to the Lehman crisis. Debt ratios in the developed economies have risen by 20 percentage points to 275pc of GDP since then.
And you know what?
Caruana is certainly correct to be warning us about these things.
As I have written about previously, the total amount of government debt in the world has grown by about 40 percent since the last recession, and the “too big to fail banks” have collectively gotten 37 percent larger since that time.
The U.S. national debt has grown from about 10 trillion dollars to more than 17.5 trillion dollars, and even the Bank for International Settlements admits that the global derivatives bubble has grown to at least 710 trillion dollars.
The massive financial imbalances that we were facing during the last crisis have not been fixed. Instead, they have gotten much, much worse.