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Financial Crash, Commodity Prices, and Global Imbalances

From: Brookings Papers on Economic Activity
Fall 2008
pp. 1-55 | 10.1353/eca.0.0013



The current financial crisis has its origins in global asset scarcity, which led to large capital flows toward the United States and to the creation of asset bubbles that eventually burst. In its first phase the crash exacerbated the shortage of assets in the world economy, which triggered a partial re-creation of the bubble in commodities markets, and oil markets in particular. This bubble in turn led to an increase in petrodollars seeking financial assets in the United States, which became a source of stability for the U.S. external balance. The second phase of the crisis is more conventional and began to emerge in the summer of 2008, when it became apparent that the financial crisis would permeate the real economy and sharply slow global growth. This slowdown worked to reverse the tight commodity market conditions required for a bubble to develop, ultimately destroying the commodity bubble.

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