The announcement of a plan to salvage the U.S. banking industry that yesterday led the Stock Exchanges to a favorable effervescence and revived the hope of being able to avert the most profound financial crisis in recent decades, also affected the Ibex 35, which recorded its biggest rise since
1991. But the deep market volatility does not ensure that the stock market recovery will last nor that a clear exit from the economic crisis has been found.
The restlessness in world markets confirmed that the body of interventionist actions promoted by the Bush Administration, in an attempt to minimize the impact of so-called "toxic assets" on the balance sheets of banks that are the cause of the persistent financial turbulence, has been better received by the markets than the injection of $180 million concerted by the Federal Reserve, the ECB and other major central banks. It underlines the paradox according to which the only response capable of pacifying the system is the direct involvement and commitment of the public powers.
But this rare intervention in the rules of the free market, which in the case of the U.S. could lead to the practice of nationalization of multimillion dollar losses generated by "junk mortgages", involves substantial risks that will not be dissipated before the conviction that inaction would be even more damaging. In promoting a kind of safety net under investment companies, markets could be counterproductive and imbued with the impression that it is possible to force the speculative economic practices to the limit, because, ultimately, the public administration would be willing to bear the burdensome consequences. To offset that moral risk, it is not enough to impose restrictions on 800 U.S. companies that specialize in bottom sales.
There is a defined rigorous action by the monetary authorities that reinforces the control of banking mechanisms and forces the healing of balance sheets whose exact deterioration urges quantification, so that regulators can reliably establish the infiltration of the crisis. Only the guarantee of a more healthy and transparent financial sector in the future will overcome the embarrassment and social reservations that can cause such unusual rescue operations.