Jamus Lim doesn’t believe recent bank failures are symptomatic of bigger banking crisis but warns of vulnerabilities in Asian economies – Singapore News

SINGAPORE: Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Jamus Lim wrote in a Facebook post on Mar 23 (Thursday) that in spite of the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Credit Suisse, he does not believe this is “symptomatic of the beginning of a more generalized banking crisis,” though he noted that this could be a case of “famous last words.”

However, the Sengkang GRC MP, an Associate Professor of Economics at ESSEC Business School, pointed out that there are “real imbalances and stressors in financial markets, including a buildup of sovereign debt in the aftermath of the pandemic, and eroding foreign exchange reserves in a number of emerging Asian economies,” and added that these “points of vulnerability” are bigger issues of concern for him.

Assoc Prof Lim added that should these weaknesses be triggered, this could give rise to a graver problem.

“The massive devaluation due to a currency crisis could lead to higher import prices that give rise to an inflation crisis, for example, or make interest payments on external debt unbearable, giving rise to a sovereign debt crisis,” he added. “These then induce defaults on private borrowing that makes the banking system fragile.”

Assoc Prof Lim was invited recently to deliver a guest lecture as part of the distinguished speaker series in Economics and Society at the College of Integrative Studies at the Singapore Management University.

He spoke on the Political Economy of International Financial Crises, a timely subject given the collapse of SVB and Credit Suisse, and one he’s been particularly interested in since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, which he described as “an experience that shaped the views of an entire generation of Asian economists.”

“I’ve published a bunch of papers on the topic, and my doctoral dissertation research dealt with the intersection of such crises and political economy matter (hence my choice of topic for the lecture),” he added.

Assoc Prof Lim was also interviewed concerning UBS’ purchase of Credit Suisse and its implications, which can be found here. /TISG

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