January 16, 2009

Disagreement over root of credit crisis

The global credit crisis did not originate with China's build up of savings, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said.

Albert Keidel, in effect, discounted U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr.'s analysis of the credit crisis, the China Daily reported Friday.

In the years leading up to the crisis, super-abundant savings from fast-growing emerging nations such as China and oil exporters ... put downward pressure on yields and risk spread everywhere, Paulson said.

But, Keidel said, China's exchange reserve only started to grow after its entry into the WTO (World Trade Organization) in 2001.

Before that the bubble in the United States was already was already brewing, he said.

The credit crisis is often traced to the easy credit years when the Federal Reserve, after the Internet bubble burst in 2000, cut interest rates to 1 percent, the newspaper said.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted to it was a mistake to believe financial firms would manage their own risks.

Keidel believes deregulation of financial markets set the stage for banks to lower their standards on mortgage applications, which led the subprime credit crisis, the China Daily said.