On 1 March 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published its latest Quarterly Review.
In its overview of market developments covering the three months to late February, the Review:
- recounts how the late 2019 market upswing faltered amid unease over the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak;
- notes that the sell-off was uneven across asset classes and regions, affecting countries with close geographical or economic links to China more than others;
- investigates the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak by comparing it with the SARS epidemic of early 2003 in terms of their relative effects on stock markets around the world; and
- discusses the rapid expansion and future direction of private credit, which is the provision of loans to small, less creditworthy firms by non-bank intermediaries, and highlights similarities with the better known leveraged loan market.
The Review also contains five feature articles covering:
- how technological advances are making domestic payments safer, faster and cheaper;
- why the number of cross-border correspondent banks shrank almost 20% between 2011 and 2018;
- how payments across borders and currencies can be made faster, cheaper and more transparent;
- how digital disruption, and tokenisation in particular, might transform securities clearing and settlement; and
- how a trusted and widely usable retail central bank digital currency must be secure and accessible, offer cash-like convenience and safeguard privacy.