By Eoin Callan and Jeremy Grant in Washington and Tony Barber in Brussels
The crisis of confidence in credit markets is likely to last longer than previous financial shocks of the past two decades, Hank Paulson, Treasury secretary, warned on Tuesday.
He said the uncertainty in credit markets would last longer than the turmoil that followed the Asian crisis and the Russian default of the 1990s or the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s.
Mr Paulson was speaking in Washington as Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank president, warned that it was time for global financial authorities to tackle unregulated entities whose activities had contributed to the latest upheavals.
The comments came as it emerged that credit ratings agencies have been called to a special meeting in Washington by the umbrella body for the world’s securities regulators to explain how they rate structured financial products based on mortgage assets.
Like Mr Trichet, Mr Paulson said the complexity and global distribution of the securities at the heart of the credit crisis would prolong it. “We expect this period of turbulence to go on for a while,” he said.
Mr Paulson said he had been an investment banker at Goldman Sachs during the “Russian default, Asian crisis . . . and Latin American credit crisis” and expected this bout of uncertainty in credit markets was “going to take longer” to resolve.
US authorities expect that the uncertainty over valuing subprime mortgages could last for up to two years as many such loans reset to higher rates.
However, equities rallied strongly as investor hopes continued to rise that the Federal Reserve would be forced to make interest rate cuts by as much as 50 basis points next week in a bid to stop the economy sliding into a sharp economic downturn. More...