The global financial system has undergone a period of unprecedented turmoil. Market confidence dwindled and has remained fragile, leading to the collapse or near-collapse of large, and in some cases systemically important, financial institutions, and calling forth public intervention in the financial system on a scale not seen for decades. The financial system has been severely weakened by mounting losses on impaired and illiquid assets, uncertainty regarding the availability and cost of funding, and further deterioration of loan portfolios as global economic growth slows. Finding a purely private sector resolution of financial market strains has become increasingly difficult, while case-by-case intervention by authorities has not alleviated market concerns. In response, more comprehensive approaches are now being considered or implemented to bring about a more orderly process of deleveraging and to break the adverse feedback loop between the financial system and the global economy. Such a comprehensive approach—if well coordinated among countries—should be sufficient to restore confidence and the proper functioning of markets and avert a more protracted downturn in the global economy.

Financial Stress and Deleveraging Macrofi nancial Implications and Policy