Banks and Banking

Primary Sources

Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Finance ministers from fifty-seven countries met in Beijing in October 2014 and signed a memorandum to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will focus on funding infrastructure to boost economic development in the Asia Pacific region. The Articles of Agreement were opened for signature on June 29, 2015 and must be ratifed domestically by December 31, 2016.

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Op-Ed

Regional Institutions Can Be Good for World Policy

Author: Sheila A. Smith
New York Times

China's new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank has raised questions about United States policy in Asia. Several European nations, South Korea and Australia have signed on to China's initiative, which seeks to raise $50 billion to $100 billion for Asian development. While the U.S. remains cautious about this new China-led effort to fund infrastructure and development, it should welcome the participation of others.

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Op-Ed

Europe’s Dodgy Bank Stress Tests

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil and Dinah Walker analyze the market reaction to the publication of the European Central Bank's long-awaited bank stress test results. The ECB's coddling of stress-tested banks — through the use of inflated inflation estimates and generous treatment of tax offsets against future profits which may never arise — precipitated a sell-off of bank stocks in a period when broad European indexes were up significantly. Unlike with the successful 2009 U.S. stress tests, there is no credible backstop of public funds available for Eurozone bank recapitalization, which would account for the ECB's reluctance to draw attention to the sector's undercapitalization.

 

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Must Read

NYT: The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street

Author: Michael Lewis

"Katsuyama and his team did measure how much more cheaply they bought stock when they removed the ability of some other unknown trader to front-run them. For instance, they bought 10 million shares of Citigroup, then trading at roughly $4 per share, and saved $29,000 — or less than 0.1 percent of the total price… It sounded small until you realized that the average daily volume in the U.S. stock market was $225 billion. The same tax rate applied to that sum came to nearly $160 million a day."

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Op-Ed

What Europe Can Learn From the U.S. Bank Crisis

Authors: Benn Steil and Dinah Walker
Wall Street Journal

Benn Steil's latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, co-authored with Dinah Walker, explains why the ECB's anticipated foray into more aggressive monetary stimulus next week won't have any significant effect on the availability and cost of private-sector credit. The ECB believes that its ongoing bank stress tests will help revive the eurozone's moribund banking industry, but they argue that the tests are counterproductive without a mechanism in place to assure sufficient recapitalization of banks that fall short—as there was in the United States in 2009.

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Must Read

FT: The Scandal at the Vatican Bank

Author: Rachel Sanderson

"After a decade of paedophilia scandals, the allegations of financial impropriety seemed set to unleash another storm of criticism and had to be addressed. Outside auditors as well as financial risk consultants were already coming into the Vatican but the arrest of Scarano made the case for reform unavoidable. "We cannot have any more scandal. It is so shameful," a senior member of the Vatican's financial administration said."

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Must Read

Financial Times: Money Mirage Exposes Emerging Markets

Author: Gillian Tett

"As money has rushed into emerging markets in recent years, this has created an image of abundant liquidity. But this image may be dangerously illusory, some policy makers fear, as one of the little-noticed ironies of the 2013 financial system is that there may now be fewer–not more–shock absorbers in the markets than there were before 2008. This factor may explain why this summer's gyrations in emerging market assets were so dramatic."

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Must Read

Wall Street Journal: This Bond Manager Hates Bonds

Author: Tommy Stubbington

"Managing a bond fund these days is a peculiar business. Global central banks have aggressively supported government bonds, driving up—many would say distorting—their prices. Market observers generally agree that support will eventually ebb, bringing prices back down and bond yields up, but no one can be certain when. What is an investor to do?"

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