The International Financial System: A New Partnership - speech by Mervyn King

In a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), Mervyn King, Deputy Governor, addresses current themes relating to the international financial system.
Published on 09 August 2001

He outlines the need for a new partnership between those countries exporting capital - normally developed countries - and those countries importing capital - normally emerging market economies. Mr King discusses the need for a restatement of the role of international financial institutions and a clearer understanding of their modus operandi. He says that the international financial institutions set up at Bretton Woods over 50 years ago were designed to deal primarily with problems of current account imbalances. However, one of the key differences between the world of Bretton Woods and the world today is the size and volatility of private capital flows, and major financial crises in recent years have originated in the capital account. He says that although capital flows bring real economic benefits, "flows on this scale can reverse themselves as suddenly as they appear" and "the result of such sudden and large reversals of short-term capital flows has been a series of international financial crises". He adds, "it is clear, therefore, that it is dangerous for countries to sail unprepared into the deep waters of international capital markets." A build-up of short-term debt creates vulnerabilities that can result in a liquidity run, pushing interest rates to extremely high levels.

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