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Reserve Bank of India warns of another global financial crisis

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has warned of another financial crisis brewing, as global liquidity becomes a concern amidst central banks pegging their lending rates at near zero levels, leaving scope for another asset bubble to take down the global financial system.

"There is, thus, incontrovertible evidence that there is yet again a huge under-pricing of risks in the financial system and, therefore, it is not a question of if, but when, the generic asset bubble caused by manifold increases in balance sheets of central banks will burst," said RBI, executive director, VK Sharma in his address in Singapore on 'Identifying Systemic Risks in the Global Markets - Lessons Learnt from the Crisis'. He spoke about what has been done by Asian central bankers in detecting and mitigating risks of future crises similar to the one in 2008-09.

One of the major worries this time around, which did not exist back then, is global liquidity, Sharma said. Balance sheets of major banks have grown by almost three times from pre-2007 levels, while near-zero policy rates have added $4 trillion in incremental central bank liquidity. Sharma mentioned that the US has been keeping excess reserves of about $1.5 trillion with the Federal Reserve rather than lending it to small businesses and households

Alongside, non-financial corporations in the US are reportedly sitting on cash and liquid assets worth $2 trillion which they do not know what to do with it. In this background of huge deluge of global liquidity, there are unmistakable signs of asset bubble inflating again in almost a replay of the last global financial crisis." Sharma said.

"In India, we have had remarkable financial stability, not fortuitously, but thanks to pre-emptively and pro-actively delivered prudential measures like increase in risk weights for exposures to commercial real estate, capital market, venture capital funds and systemically important non-deposit accepting NBFCs.

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