#cross border payments

6 10, 2023

FedFin Assessment: Basel Lays Big Plans for Basel V

2023-10-06T14:47:18-04:00October 6th, 2023|The Vault|

As we noted yesterday, the Basel Committee’s October meeting concluded not only with plans for new disclosure consultations, but also a report on lessons learned from the 2023 crisis.  We have long considered the “end-game” standards so substantive as to constitute Basel IV; now, as this report details, Basel is laying plans for Basel V via new liquidity, interest-rate, capital, and structural changes to the current construct.  We thus focus on the supervisory and regulatory action steps Basel posits as necessary responses to the financial-market volatility sparked earlier this year by SVB, SBNY, FRC, and CS’s failures.  While Basel states that none of its recommendations necessarily presages near-term global standards, …

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here and here.…

7 03, 2022

Karen Petrou: Why Armies Now March on Their Wallets

2023-04-04T12:29:27-04:00March 7th, 2022|The Vault|

Napoleon famously said that armies march on their stomachs.  Now, it’s clear that armies also march on their wallets.

The dollar’s blitzkrieg triumph isn’t due to any love of the greenback — even America’s closest allies have long hoped to counterbalance US. economic dominance with rival payment systems able to operate unscathed regardless of U.S. sanctions.  However, the EU, U.K., and Japan have never gotten much past dreaming about payment-system challenges because the embedded dollar-based system has become essentially friction- and risk-free.  That’s hard to beat.

China might still have a shot at a yuan-based substitute, but it would have to ensure liquidity (essentially impossible when a currency isn’t freely convertible) as well as political neutrality.  China’s decision suddenly to mount de facto nationalization of what was once a thriving, privately-owned digital-commerce sector will at the least give pause to those whose funds would move through a Chinese-dominated system.

Any nation that wants to replace the dollar also has to have sovereign obligations readily understood to be a safe haven under acute stress that are issued in amounts sufficient to absorb extreme shock.  China and the EU has no single issuer of sovereign bonds in quantity and quality sufficient to substitute for Treasury obligations.  Most market participants think China is more likely to be the cause of a shock than ever to serve as a shock absorber, ruling out its sovereign debt even if it grows large enough to mount a challenge to the U.S. Treasury.

And, finally, there’s the …

27 01, 2022

FedFin on: U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency

2023-04-11T16:11:59-04:00January 27th, 2022|The Vault|

Months after initially promising to release a discussion draft on central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Federal Reserve is now seeking comment on whether and how it might create one. Reflecting the hesitancy of several FRB leaders, Chairman Powell included, the draft emphatically states that the Board has made no decision to issue a CBDC and, should it do so, it will seek at least tacit approval from both Congress and whichever Administration is in charge at the time.

The full report is available to retainer clients. To find out how you can sign up for the service, click here.…

10 01, 2022

Karen Petrou: Senate Banking’s CBDC Questionnaire

2023-04-25T14:04:57-04:00January 10th, 2022|The Vault|

It’s certain that Jay Powell’s confirmation hearing will put him through the wringer on inflation, equality, “insider” trading, and the rules he’ll foster under the new vice chair for supervision.  This is enough to try even the most patient of souls, but there’s another issue senators should be sure to raise:  what’s taking the Fed so, so long to start its CBDC deliberations, let alone conclude them?

After initially dismissing the need for a U.S. central bank digital currency, Chairman Powell announced last May that the Board would seek public comment sometime that summer.  At about the same time, Gov. Brainard spoke about a possible CBDC construct and the Boston Fed announced a technical build-out project along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Innovation Hub also has CBDC ambitions.  Although Fed officials were quick to point out that none of these nor any of the subsequent high-profile papers commits the Fed to anything, work seemed well under way to join the dozens of other central banks convinced that CBDC is essential in the quick-digitization payment future clearly emerging outside the reach of central bankers.

What’s happened since the summer CBDC storm?  Not much.

Mr. Powell and other Fed officials at one point promised that the CBDC paper would come in September, but autumn came and went.  The Fed’s certainly been busy tidying up after its “transitory” inflation goof and ongoing macroeconomic challenges, but it neglects CBDC at its and our peril.

First, whether …

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