‘Dr. Doom’ Nouriel Roubini Warns of Looming Banking Crisis and Trilemma for Central Banks
Economist Nouriel Roubini has shared his opinion about bank problems in the United States in a recently published opinion editorial. In the article, Roubini insists that “most U.S. banks are technically near insolvency, and hundreds are already fully insolvent.”
Roubini: ‘Liquidity Support Cannot Prevent This Systemic Doom Loop’
The renowned economist Nouriel Roubini, also known as “Dr. Doom,” shared an opinion editorial on April 1 via MarketWatch. The article discusses turmoil in the U.S. banking sector, and Roubini highlights how banks in America carry unrealized losses on securities amounting to $620 billion. Furthermore, Roubini mentioned the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate hike and said, “Making matters worse, higher interest rates have reduced the market value of banks’ other assets as well.”
In light of this factor, Roubini says, “U.S. banks’ unrealized losses actually amount to $1.75 trillion, or 80% of their capital.” Moreover, Roubini emphasized that “the ‘unrealized’ nature of these losses is merely an artifact of the current regulatory regime, which allows banks to value securities and loans at their face value rather than their true market value.” Roubini continues his blistering criticism of the U.S. banking system, stating:
In fact, judging by the quality of their capital, most U.S. banks are technically near insolvency, and hundreds are already fully insolvent.
Dr. Doom Says ‘Everyone Should Be Preparing for the Coming Stagflationary Debt Crisis’
In the op-ed, Roubini discusses a concept called the “deposit-franchise,” and he asserts that depositors can sense deterioration in deposit safety, leading to a loss of trust. “If depositors flee, the deposit franchise evaporates, and the unrealized losses on securities become realized. Bankruptcy then becomes unavoidable,” Roubini opines. The economist also believes that the U.S. economy may face a harder landing due to the credit crunch caused by banking stress and referred to it as a “house of cards.”
Roubini stresses that the world’s central banks “face not just a dilemma but a trilemma.” Furthermore, regional banks, which are vital for financing small and medium-sized businesses and households, are particularly affected, Roubini opined. Therefore, the trilemma for central banks is presented, as interest rate hikes aimed at achieving price stability may result in a recession and higher unemployment, while also increasing the risk of severe financial instability.
The economist dubbed “Dr. Doom” concludes that the trilemma of challenges is compounded by negative aggregate supply shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Roubini’s op-ed adds:
A severe recession is the only thing that can temper price and wage inflation, but it will make the debt crisis more severe, and that in turn will feed back into an even deeper economic downturn. Since liquidity support cannot prevent this systemic doom loop, everyone should be preparing for the coming stagflationary debt crisis.
What steps do you think should be taken to address the potential banking crisis and the trilemma facing central banks? Do you agree with Roubini’s op-ed? Share your thoughts about this subject in the comments section below.