Adéu a Nihil Obstat | Hola a The Catalan Analyst

Després de 13 anys d'escriure en aquest bloc pràcticament sense interrumpció, avui el dono per clausurat. Això no vol dir que m'hagi jubilat de la xarxa, sinó que he passat el relleu a un altra bloc que segueix la mateixa línia del Nihil Obstat. Es tracta del bloc The Catalan Analyst i del compte de Twitter del mateix nom: @CatalanAnalyst Us recomano que els seguiu.

Moltes gràcies a tots per haver-me seguit amb tanta fidelitat durant tots aquests anys.

dijous, 2 d’octubre de 2008

Stiglitz i les subprimes

Al premi Nobel d’Economia Joseph Stiglitz la crisi financera li ha vingut bé per refermar la seva tesi que el cost de la guerra de l’Iraq és una de les seves causes principals. La responsabilitat, doncs, recauria totalment en l’administració republicana i per tant el que s’hauria de fer per solucionar-ho és posar Obama a la Casa Blanca.

És per aquesta posición tant inequívoca de Stiglitz que resulta de gran interés saber que va ser contractat per Fannie Mae l’any 2002 per demostrar la importancia de la missió de la GSEs i que les empreses patrocinades pel govern, com Fannie i Freddy no comportaven cap risc per al contribuent. En un informe de març del 2002 Stigliz conclou que el risc és pràcticament nul.

This analysis shows that, based on historical data, the probability of a shock as severe as embodied in the riskbased capital standard is substantially less than one in 500,000 – and may be smaller than one in three million.20 Given the low probability of the stress test shock occurring, and assuming that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold sufficient capital to withstand that shock, the exposure of the government to the risk that the GSEs will become insolvent appears quite low.

Given the extremely small probability of default by the GSEs, the expected monetary costs of exposure to GSE insolvency are relatively small — even given very large levels of outstanding GSE debt and assuming that the government would bear the costs of all GSE debt in the case of insolvency. For example, if the probability of the stress test conditions occurring is less than one in 500,000, and if the GSEs hold sufficient capital to withstand the stress test, the implication is that the expected cost to the government of providing an explicit government guarantee on $1 trillion in GSE debt is just $2 million.

Two other points are worth noting. First, analysis of the risks posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must carefully consider the alternatives. In the absence of
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage risk would likely be held by large banks and other types of financial institutions, which themselves benefit from the perception that they are “too big to fail.” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are among the largest financial institutions in the country. Even in the absence of a GSE charter it is likely that they would continue to benefit from their size, since the government has intervened on behalf of other large institutions in the past.

Secondly, and more broadly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would likely require government assistance only in a severe housing market downturn. Such a severe housing ownturn would, in turn, likely occur only in the presence of a substantial economic shock. Regardless of the structure of the mortgage market, the government would almost surely be forced to intervene in a variety of markets — including the mortgage market — in such a scenario. Fundamentally, given the public’s aspirations to homeownership and the myriad ways in which government subsidies are channeled to homeownership, the government is indirectly exposed to risks from the mortgage market regardless of the existence of the GSEs.
(Via Extrême-Centre)