MGI’s mission is to help leaders in the commercial, public, and social sectors develop a deeper understanding of the evolution of the global economy and to provide a fact base that contributes to decision making on critical management and policy issues.
After 12 months of the global credit crisis, it is easy to see the difficulties that continue in the marketplace. In reviewing this MGI document it is clear that serious problems remain. My own opinions are not of importance, but it really seems that we have been using debt to fuel the western lifestyle for the past 20 years. To find the value that should have been generated during this past 20 years, is a lonely and difficult task. I see the bureaucracy as being the main culprit here. Accusing the bureaucracy is somewhat self serving for me to say, but I don't see any value being generated through this archaic form or organization. Continuing on in the fashion that we are, shows me that we will be challenged in keeping the global economy moving forward.
I leave you with a few select and sobering quotes.
Going forward, our research suggests that global capital markets are entering a new era in which the forces fueling growth have changed. For the past 30 years, most of the overall increase in financial depth—the ratio of assets to GDP—was driven by the rapid growth of equities and private debt in mature markets. Looking ahead, these asset classes in mature markets are likely to grow more slowly, more in line with GDP, while government debt will rise sharply. An increasing share of global asset growth will occur in emerging markets, where GDP is rising faster and all asset classes have abundant room to expand.
Given the decline in asset values and growth in debt, we see that leverage in the global economy has increased during the financial crisis rather than declined. This is true for many households, governments, banks, and some segments of the corporate sector. In aggregate, the global debt-to-equity ratio nearly doubled, jumping from 124 percent in 2007 to 244 percent by the end of 2008. This raises the vulnerability of the global economy to further shocks. It also indicates that the long process of deleveraging in the private sector has at best only just begun, and in the public sector has yet to begin.
One of the most striking consequences of the financial crisis was a steep drop-off in cross-border capital flows, which include foreign direct investment (FDI), purchases and sales of foreign equities and debt securities, and cross-border lending and deposits. These capital flows fell 82 percent in 2008, to just $1.9 trillion from $10.5 trillion in 2007 (Exhibit 7). Relative to GDP, the 2008 level of cross-border capital flows was the lowest since 1991. This created turmoil in the global banking system, causing severe liquidity crises and hurting borrowers dependent on foreign loans. It is unclear at this writing how quickly these flows will recover.
Although the crisis started in the United States, it followed multi-year borrowing expansions in many other countries as well. Total global borrowing—comprising all loans, forms of credit, and debt securities—rose by 70 percent from 2000 through 2008, to $131 trillion. Not only has the recent credit market turmoil nearly stopped this growth, but it has set the stage for a long process of debt reduction going forward.Many parts of the economy will need to be rebuilt. Oil and gas is rebuilding around the Joint Operating Committee and the vision of the Draft Specification. Please join me here.
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