A week ago we exposed an awkward reality – that as a handful of mega-tech companies in America were dragging stock indices higher, some of the world’s most systemically important financial institutions were falling dramatically.
And things have got considerably worse in the last few days…
At some point, says Ian Hartnett, chief investment strategist at London-based Absolute Strategy Research, central bankers will have to respond to bearish signals from almost half the global SIFIs, rather than continuing to tighten monetary policy:
“The clue is in the name,” he said.
“If these banks are supposed to be systemically important then policymakers ought to be watching them to see what is happening.”
“The synchronised dips were a sign of global financial stress.”
And now, a portfolio of the SIFI’s stocks has tumbled into a bear market from those January highs…
As The FT wrote last week, what many of the harder-hit Sifi banks have in common, said Mr Harnett, was a heavy dependence on US-dollar funding, putting them at risk of a squeeze if US rates continue to rise and the dollar continues to strengthen. Banks in Canada, Australia and Sweden, in particular, came through the last crisis in relatively good shape, thanks largely to their exposures to China and a strong commodities market. But in the years since then, the banks had overextended, he said, trying to support rapid asset growth with wholesale funding, rather than traditional deposits.
When will Powell be told to slow it down?