Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year? Certainly not economically!

What can we expect in 2009? Among other things, more financial revelations amongst the results of the IMF’s rigorous assessment of the U.S. financial system.

Under its bylaws, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is charged with the supervision of the international monetary system. Officials with the IMF however informed Ben Bernanke of a plan that would have been unheard-of in the past: The IMF's board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is to be carried out in the United States. It is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system.

For seven years, US President George W. Bush refused to allow the IMF to conduct its assessment. Even now, he has only given the IMF board his consent under one important condition: The review could only begin in Bush's last year in office.

Roughly two-thirds of IMF members -- but never the United States -- have already endured this painful procedure. As part of the assessment, the Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the major investment banks, mortgage banks and hedge funds will be asked to hand over confidential documents to the IMF team.

The final report on the risks of the US financial system is to be released by 2010 -- and it is likely to cause a stir internationally.

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