Capital account liberalization and financial institutions: the case of South Africa during the Asian contagion

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. E. Schaling en_US
dc.contributor.author Maphumulo, Thobelani L.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-23T08:30:13Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-23T08:30:13Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-23
dc.date.submitted 1999
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6545
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract The objective of this thesis was to discuss capital account liberalization and banking crises in emerging markets, against the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. This was discussed with an underlying objective of evaluating the soundness of the South African banking system. The basis of this thesis was that a sound banking system coupled with good macroeconomic policies would make South Africa less vulnerable to global financial volatility. On the East Asian financial crisis, we found that the main cause of this crisis was the lack of prudent lending practices by most banking institutions. Lending practices were largely shaped by institutionalized corruption. Bad lending practices originated from connected lending as banks were owned and had strong links with big family conglomerates. These conglomerates were highly leveraged with very low profit margins and survived on cross-subsidization. As a result, they could not service their debts, resulting in large bad debts and non-performing loans in the banking systems. These non-performing loans and debt defaults had significant negative effects on banks' profitability and business survival, as they eroded earnings and shot up credit exposure. Furthermore, we also found that governments' political influence in the lending system and weak macroeconomic management (large current account deficits, fixed exchange rates and expansionary fiscal policies) contributed significantly to the East Asian financial fragility. Against this background, we recommend that emerging markets that want to liberalize their capital accounts should ensure that sound banking systems are properly entrenched. When financial systems are not strong, emerging countries would be exposed to imprudent credit risk assessments by banking institutions, resulting in nonperforming loans and collapse of those banking institutions. Secondly, our view is that emerging markets should pursue and adhere to the core banking principles of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The objective of these principles is to ensure that banks operate profitably and have good business frameworks. The Basel Committee requires commercial banks to have solid and efficient supervision departments, with strong intentions of evaluating credit risks associated with loans and advances. Furthermore, central banks or any other custodians of banking institutions should have capital adequacy requirements in order to protect depositors and investors against any unforeseen liquidity pressures. From this thesis, we found that the South African banking system is sound. The low level of non-performing loans in the domestic banking system is indicative of prudent credit risk management. Even with prime interest rates at an all time high of 25% in late 1998, most banks managed to escape large non-performing loans, especially from the corporate sector. The brunt was mostly felt in the small business sector and household debt category. The South African Reserve Bank's Supervision Department sets out stringent guidelines with regard to the lending practices of banks. Banks are not allowed to overexpose themselves to particular clients, as was the case in East Asia. This also extends to deposits. Banks are not allowed to take deposits above 25% from a single source. The objective is to guard against liquidity pressures that could occur when that particular depositor withdraws the funding. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Financial crises - Asia en_US
dc.subject Capital movements en_US
dc.subject Finance - South Africa en_US
dc.subject Banks and banking - South Africa en_US
dc.title Capital account liberalization and financial institutions: the case of South Africa during the Asian contagion en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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