how years of ‘free money’ have led to a fragile banking system

By Bertille Bayart



To date, nothing better has been invented to maintain confidence in the system than the liquidity provided by central banks. Reuters Photographer/REUTERS

DECRYPTION – Last weekend, the Fed came to the preventive rescue of regional banks that risked suffering through contagion from the bankruptcy of SVB. The same reinsurance was expected Wednesday from the Swiss National Bank.

Do four swallows make a spring, or rather do four canaries which succumb in a mine announce a terrible firedamp? In view of the difficulties experienced by four banking establishments, investors fear that a new financial crisis will break out.

The four victims at the heart of the turbulence are however very different birds. The first bank broke in flight is Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the sixteenth in the United States. Its bankruptcy, declared last Thursday, is the second largest bankruptcy recorded in the American deposit banking sector after Washington Mutual in 2008. The fall of SVB was caused by a chain of fairly simple circumstances. The Californian institution placed large volumes of the deposits of its customers, the tech companies that had been flooded with money in 2021, in long-duration Treasury bonds whose value collapsed when the The Fed has decided to raise quickly and…

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