Credit woes highlight unprecedented situation

Worldwide credit problems have caused the first crisis of financial globalisation, according to a vice-president of the Swiss National Bank, Phillip Hildebrand.

This content was published on March 6, 2008 - 15:16

In an interview with the Swiss French-language magazine L'Hebdo, Hildebrand spoke of "serious loopholes" in the United States subprime mortgage market that had led to the current crisis.

"Many of the new instruments, which had not been tested so far, have been in a difficult situation. There is, without doubt, an element of surprise," he said.

Hildebrand has warned the global credit crisis showed little signs of abating and may be entering a more dangerous phase.

Switzerland's largest financial institution, UBS, has been hard hit by the current turbulences and analysts said on Thursday they expected further writedowns at the bank on top of the $18 billion (SFr18.59 billion) in 2007.

Hildebrand told L'Hebdo that UBS was now a leader in terms of transparency but it was still too early to give an all-clear.

"As long as the American real estate market continues to reconstitute itself and as long as this situation impacts other credit markets, it is impossible to claim that the problems are over," he said.

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