Cite JOURNAL ARTICLE
Eurogeldmärkte Entwicklung, Probleme und Perspektiven
Credit and Capital Markets – Kredit und Kapital, Vol. 13 (1980), Iss. 3 : pp. 402–410
Have the industrial and developing countries who are dependent on petroleum imports learnt a lesson from the 1973 crisis? Unfortunately, in view of the second oil shock in 1979 and its disastrous consequences for the affected economies, this questions must be answered with a clear “No”, And so the high surpluses of the OPEC countries are piling up, while even strong economies like the Federal Republic of Germany, to say nothing of the traditionally net-deficit developing countries, are sliding downhill into enormous deficits on current account. Since the net-surplus countries are extremely chary of risks and, in line with their investment strategy, reject direct financing of deficits apart from a few exceptions, rather entrusting their funds to a small group of top-rated banks that engage in international business, the latter are left with the thankless task of performing the turntable function and assuming high risks. While performance of this function was still relatively easy in 1973, it now involves increasing difficulties. On the one hand, this has resulted in the balance-sheets of the banks being puffed up enormously in the past few years, leading to permanent increases in net worth; on the other hand, the share represented by foreign countries in the balance sheets and the attendant risks coupled with simultaneously narrowing margins have constantly become greater. A time can already be foreseen when this trend will reach limits that can be exceeded only with great difficulty. Since there is a lack of genuine alternatives and even supranational institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank can play the role of intermediary between net-surplus and net-deficit countries only to a very limited extent, the respective national bank supervisory authorities must provide the banks with purposive general conditions which are commensurate with the risks and internationally competition-neutral. The solution of this problem is most urgent and must be found in the next few years.