This study identifies five distinctive stages of the current global financial crisis: the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market; spillovers into broader credit market; the liquidity crisis epitomized by the fallout of Northern Rock, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers with counterparty risk effects on other financial institutions; the commodity price bubble, and the ultimate demise of investment banking in the U.S. The study argues that the severity of the crisis is influenced strongly by changeable allocations of global savings coupled with excessive credit creation, which lead to over-pricing of varied types of assets. The study calls such process a “wandering asset-price bubble”. Unstable allocations elevate market, credit and liquidity risks. Monetary policy responses aimed at stabilizing financial markets are proposed.
This paper addresses the question of whether and how easy monetary policy may lead to excesses in financial and real asset markets and ultimately result in financial dislocation. It presents evidence suggesting that periods when short-term interest rates have been persistently and significantly below what Taylor rules would prescribe are correlated with increases in asset prices, especially as regards housing, though no systematic effects are identified on equity markets. Significant asset price increases, however, can also occur when interest rates are in line with Taylor rules, associated with periods of financial deregulation and/or innovation. The paper argues that accommodating monetary policy over the period 2002-2005, in combination with rapid financial market innovation, would seem in retrospect to have been among the factors behind the run-up in asset prices and financial imbalances -- the (partial) unwinding of which helped trigger the 2007/08 financial market turmoil.