Economist: Tighter financial regulations will impact Island for a few more years
The pressure Bermuda has felt from the tightening of financial regulations by the US and Europe in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis and is likely to continue for a few more years.
That is the view of HSBC US economist Ryan Wang, who gave his assessment of economic trends when he addressed a Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week.
Mr Wang said Bermuda had felt the impact of financial regulations introduced or strengthened to ensure the banking and finance system was safer in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
“That is ongoing,” he said, but added he did not think Bermuda should be concerned that there was “another shoe to drop”. Mr Wang said US banks were now healthier, and he felt the pressure of new financial regulations would dissipate, adding: “But the process is not over yet. It will go on for several more years before it normalises.”
During his keynote speech in the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Mr Wang spoke about the global interest rates environment and explained the Federal Reserve in the US had stated it would wait until the country’s employment figures were back to the level they were at five years ago before it would allow interest rates to rise. But even though that had now happened the Fed had not altered interest rates.
Mr Wang thought the reasoning for that might be to allow more time for householders to benefit from lower rates, such as by remortgaging their homes at a cheaper rate. He said that even though employment had recovered, it still weighed on the US economy partly because wage growth was subdued and median household income in the US had slipped. He said rates would start to rise “as people feel more confident in the economy and if the gains in the housing market play out”.
Looking at the US government debt, Mr Wang said it was still rising but at a slower rate due to debt reduction initiatives. “The curve has been bent, but it has not flattened,” he said. “The US has done half the job.”
He warned the US would face big spending challenges in the future associated with medical care, due in part to rising costs and the rising number of people needing such care as the country’s demographic changed.
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