Verso la normalità

BRUXELLES – Una crisi finanziaria scoppia quando una cospicua quantità di asset finanziari all'improvviso sembra comportare dei rischi, e gli investitori vogliono sbarazzarsi delle loro partecipazioni. Tali titoli diventano "tossici", nel senso che non solo presentano un fattore di rischio, ma questo non può neanche essere quantificato. I titoli tossici non vengono negoziati in base al normale rapporto tra rischio e rendimento, e dato che il rischio non può essere calcolato, chi li possiede vuole venderli e basta, talvolta a qualunque prezzo.

Negli Stati Uniti, nel biennio 2007-2008 questo destino è toccato a una classe di titoli basati su mutui residenziali garantiti da ipoteca (i titoli RMBS - Residential Mortgage Backed Securities). Durante la fase del boom, questi titoli erano stati venduti come privi di rischio, partendo dal presupposto che i prezzi degli immobili americani non sarebbero mai scesi, poiché un fatto del genere non era mai accaduto prima in tempo di pace.

Questa convinzione, però, si è infranta quando, nel 2007, si è verificato un calo generalizzato dei prezzi degli immobili, mentre i tassi di perdita hanno improvvisamente cominciato a crescere. I titoli RMBS si sono così rivelati molto più rischiosi del previsto. All'inizio, non vi erano basi sufficienti per rideterminare i prezzi in maniera più razionale, perché l'evento (una diminuzione, in tempo di pace, dei prezzi degli immobili negli Stati Uniti) non aveva precedenti. Inoltre, le banche e gli altri istituti finanziari che detenevano ingenti volumi di RMBS non possedevano gli strumenti adatti per misurare il rischio, e in alcuni casi sarebbero falliti se fossero stati costretti a svendere i titoli ai prezzi in vigore al culmine della crisi.

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