过度自信的清算所

坎布里奇——为了降低再次发生2007—2008年金融危机的可能性,监管者如今正在寻求对金融机构的长期支持方案——至少当他们的注意力可以从希腊债务危机、美国国债上限危机以及潜在的欧元区主权债务危机转变为银行债务危机这样的当务之急解放出来之后是如此。在他们的各项努力中,最重要的便是为金融衍生品(即导致金融危机中AIG和其他机构倒闭的金融工具)设立清算所。但清算所并非万能灵药,它的局限性影响十分深远的——虽然人们经常忽略这一点。

当一家公司试图保护自己免受货币波动干扰时,它可以通过衍生品减少自己在目标货币上的风险暴露(比如,它可以承诺,若欧元升值,就赔付其交易对手,而当欧元贬值时,则有交易对手赔付给它)。尽管使用衍生品的公司减少了它在欧元贬值上的风险暴露,但衍生品实际上带来了新的风险——对手方风险。如果交易对手方倒闭——就像AIG、贝尔斯登和雷曼兄弟一样——那么该公司就会遭受对手方风险,即使欧元下跌,它也得不到赔付。

更糟糕的是,我们看到,当发生金融危机时,如果许多金融机构持有了太多的合约,一条破产传闻就能让某家机构的衍生品交易对手一窝蜂地要求增加抵押品或立刻赔付,从而触发类似于经典银行挤兑的挤兑,接着,挤兑会蔓延到其他公司。

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