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Mapped: Which Countries Have the Highest Inflation?

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Mapped: Which Countries Have the Highest Inflation Rate?

Mapped: Which Countries Have the Highest Inflation Rate?

Inflation is surging nearly everywhere in 2022.

Geopolitical tensions are triggering high energy costs, while supply-side disruptions are also distorting consumer prices. The end result is that almost half of countries worldwide are seeing double-digit inflation rates or higher.

With new macroeconomic forces shaping the global economy, the above infographic shows countries with the highest inflation rates, using data from Trading Economics.

Double-Digit Inflation in 2022

As the table below shows, countless countries are navigating record-high levels of inflation. Some are even facing triple-digit inflation rates. Globally, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, and Venezuela have the highest rates in the world.

CountryInflation Rate, Year-Over-YearDate
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe269.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ง Lebanon162.0%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ช Venezuela156.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡พ Syria139.0%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Sudan103.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina88.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey85.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka66.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท Iran52.2%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ท Suriname41.4%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ญ Ghana40.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡บ Cuba37.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Laos36.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova34.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡น Ethiopia31.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ผ Rwanda31.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡น Haiti30.5%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Sierra Leone29.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan26.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine26.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ผ Malawi25.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania23.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia22.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฎ Burundi22.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡น Sao Tome and Principe21.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia21.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary21.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria21.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Macedonia19.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Myanmar19.4%Jun 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan18.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland17.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria17.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฒ Turkmenistan17.5%Dec 2021
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ Bosnia and Herzegovina17.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช Montenegro16.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola16.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ซ Burkina Faso16.5%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt16.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Comoros15.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyzstan15.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania15.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡พ Belarus15.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic15.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia15.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia14.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia14.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands14.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Azerbaijan13.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ซ Afghanistan13.6%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Gambia13.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia13.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana13.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ณ Senegal13.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile12.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฝ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Kosovo12.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia12.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ณ Guinea12.4%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium12.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia12.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Uzbekistan12.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Congo12.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Nicaragua12.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡พ Cayman Islands12.1%Jun 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡บ Mauritius11.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mozambique11.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy11.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Mali11.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ท Mauritania11.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom11.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria11.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden10.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Uganda10.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช Georgia10.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany10.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras10.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark10.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal10.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Jamaica9.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia9.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น Guatemala9.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Zambia9.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenya9.6%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia9.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland9.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Madagascar9.3%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland9.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lesotho9.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ Tunisia9.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece9.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ Uruguay9.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica9.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh8.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus8.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ด Faroe Islands8.8%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Algeria8.7%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal8.6%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ง Solomon Islands8.5%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico8.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ผ Guinea Bissau8.4%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Albania8.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ง Barbados8.3%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland8.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco8.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru8.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ด Dominican Republic8.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ป Cape Verde8.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡พ Paraguay8.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฑ East Timor7.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฌ Togo7.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines7.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.7.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Cameroon7.6%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway7.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore7.5%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa7.5%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป El Salvador7.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta7.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia7.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain7.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ Chad7.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand7.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize7.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia7.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ผ Aruba7.0%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada6.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg6.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ด Somalia6.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India6.8%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช United Arab Emirates6.8%Jun 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡พ Guyana6.5%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ท Liberia6.5%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil6.5%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ Bahamas6.3%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Ivory Coast6.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡น Trinidad and Tobago6.3%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France6.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Djibouti6.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico6.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น Bhutan6.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น Qatar6.0%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand6.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Swaziland5.8%Aug 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia5.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea5.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ Tajikistan5.7%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฌ Papua New Guinea5.5%Jun 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia5.4%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ Iraq5.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan5.2%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji5.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel5.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ New Caledonia5.0%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ Tanzania4.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฒ Bermuda4.5%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ท Eritrea4.5%Dec 2021
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia4.5%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong4.4%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ธ Palestine4.4%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Brunei4.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡พ Libya4.3%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam4.3%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Ecuador4.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ Bahrain4.0%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan3.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ Kuwait3.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ช Niger3.2%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives3.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Gabon3.0%Jul 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Liechtenstein3.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia3.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland3.0%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ Seychelles2.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ถ Equatorial Guinea2.9%Dec 2021
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด Bolivia2.9%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan2.7%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ซ Central African Republic2.7%Dec 2021
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡บ Vanuatu2.7%Mar 2022
๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฒ Oman2.4%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฏ Benin2.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China2.1%Oct 2022
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama1.9%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ด Macau1.1%Sep 2022
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ธ South Sudan-2.5%Aug 2022

*Inflation rates based on the latest available data.

As price pressures mount, 33 central banks tracked by the Bank of International Settlements (out of a total of 38) have raised interest rates this year. These coordinated rate hikes are the largest in two decades, representing an end to an era of rock-bottom interest rates.

Going into 2023, central banks could continue this shift towards hawkish policies as inflation remains aggressively high.

The Role of Energy Prices

Driven by the war in Ukraine, energy inflation is pushing up the cost of living around the world.

Since October 2020, an index of global energy pricesโ€”made up of crude oil, natural gas, coal, and propaneโ€”has increased drastically.

Double-Digit Inflation

Compared to the 2021 average, natural gas prices in Europe are up sixfold. Real European household electricity prices are up 78% and gas prices have climbed even more, at 144% compared to 20-year averages.

Amid global competition for liquefied natural gas supplies, price pressures are likely to stay high, even though they have fallen recently. Other harmful consequences of the energy shock include price volatility, economic strain, and energy shortages.

โ€œThe world is in the midst of the first truly global energy crisis, with impacts that will be felt for years to comeโ€.

-Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA

Double-Digit Inflation: Will it Last?

If history is an example, taming rising prices could take at least a few years yet.

Take the sky-high inflation of the 1980s. Italy, which managed to combat inflation faster than most countries, brought down inflation from 22% in 1980 to 4% in 1986.

If global inflation rates, which hover around 9.8% in 2022, were to follow this course, it would take at least until 2025 for levels to reach the 2% target.

Itโ€™s worth noting that inflation was also highly volatile over this decade. Consider how inflation fell across much of the rich world by 1981 but shot up again in 1987 amid higher energy prices. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell spoke to the volatility of inflation at their November meeting, indicating that high inflation has a chance of following a period of low inflation.

While the Federal Reserve projects U.S. inflation to fall closer to its 2% target by 2024, the road ahead could still get a lot bumpier between now and then.

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Real Assets

Visualized: Real Interest Rates by Country

Currently, over half of the major economies have negative real interest rates.

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Visualized: Real Interest Rates of Major World Economies

Interest rates play a crucial role in the economy because they affect consumers, businesses, and investors alike.

They can have significant implications for peopleโ€™s ability to access credit, manage debts, and buy more expensive goods such as cars and houses.

This graphic uses data from Infinity Asset Management to visualize the real interest rates (ex ante) of 40 major world economies, by subtracting projected inflation over the next 12 months from current nominal rates.

โ„น๏ธ Ex ante is Latin for “before the event”, and in this case refers to the fact that this data uses projected inflation rates to calculate real interest rates.

Nominal Interest Rates vs. Real Interest Rates

Nominal interest rates refer to the rate at which money can be borrowed or lent at face value, without considering any other factors like inflation.

Meanwhile, the real interest rate is the nominal interest rate after taking into account inflation, reflecting the true cost of borrowing or lending. Real interest rates can fluctuate over time and are influenced by various factors such as inflation, central bank policies, and economic growth. They can also influence economic growth by affecting investment and consumption decisions.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), since the mid-1980s, real interest rates across several advanced economies have declined steadily.

historical declining rates

As of March 2023, Brazil has the highest real interest rate among the 40 major economies shown in this dataset.

Below we look at Brazil’s situation, along with the data of the four other major economies with the highest real rates in the dataset:

Nominal Interest RateReal Interest Rate
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil13.75%6.94%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico 11.00%6.05%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile 11.25%
4.92%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines6.00%2.62%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia 5.75%2.45%

In general, countries with high interest rates offer investors higher yields on their investments but also come with higher risks due to volatile economies and political instability.

Below are the five countries in the dataset with the lowest real rates:

Nominal Interest Rate Real Interest Rate
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina78.00%-19.61%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands3.50%-7.42%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic7.00%-7.17%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland 6.75%-6.68%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium3.50%-6.42%

Hyperinflation, as seen in Argentina, can lead to anomalies in both real and nominal rates, causing problems for the country’s broader economy and financial system.

As you can see above, with a 78% nominal interest rate, Argentinaโ€™s real interest rates remain the lowest on the planet due to a staggering annual inflation rate of over 100%.

Interest Rate Outlook

Increasing inflation and tighter monetary policy have resulted in rapid increases in nominal interest rates recently in many countries.

However, IMF analysis suggests that recent increases could be temporary.

Central banks in advanced economies are likely to ease monetary policy and bring interest rates back to pre-pandemic levels when inflation is brought under control, according to the fund.

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Real Assets

Visualizing the Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Banks

Banks play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, and understanding their balance sheets can offer insight into why they sometimes fail.

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Zoomed in crop of a voronoi diagram of the assets and liabilities of U.S. banks

Understanding the Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Banks

The U.S. banking sector has more than 4,000 FDIC-insured banks that play a crucial role in the country’s economy by securely storing deposits and providing credit in the form of loans.

This infographic visualizes all of the deposits, loans, and other assets and liabilities that make up the collective balance sheet of U.S banks using data from the Federal Reserve.

With the spotlight on the banking sector after the collapses of Signature Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and First Republic bank, understanding the assets and liabilities that make up banks’ balance sheets can give insight in how they operate and why they sometimes fail.

Assets: The Building Blocks of Banks’ Business

Assets are the foundation of a bank’s operations, serving as a base to provide loans and credit while also generating income.

A healthy asset portfolio with a mix of loans along with long-dated and short-dated securities is essential for a bank’s financial stability, especially since assets not marked to market may have a lower value than expected if liquidated early.

โ„น๏ธ Mark-to-market means current market prices are being used to value an asset or liability on a balance sheet. If securities are not marked to market, their value could be different once liquidated.

As of Q4 2022, U.S. banks generated an average interest income of 4.54% on all assets.

Loans and Leases

Loans and leases are the primary income-generating assets for banks, making up 53% of the assets held by U.S. banks.

These include:

  • Real estate loans for residential and commercial properties (45% of all loans and leases)
  • Commercial and industrial loans for business operations (23% of all loans and leases)
  • Consumer loans for personal needs like credit cards and auto loans (15% of all loans and leases)
  • Various other kinds of credit (17% of all loans and leases)

Securities

Securities make up the next largest portion of U.S. banks’ assets (23%) at $5.2 trillion. Banks primarily invest in Treasury and agency securities, which are debt instruments issued by the U.S. government and its agencies.

These securities can be categorized into three types:

  • Held-to-maturity (HTM) securities, which are held until they mature and provide a stable income stream
  • Available-for-sale (AFS) securities, which can be sold before maturity
  • Trading securities, held for short-term trading to profit from price fluctuations

Along with Treasury and agency securities which make up the significant majority (80%) of U.S. banks’ securities, banks also invest in other securities which are non-government-issued debt instruments like corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities, and asset-backed securities.

Cash Assets

Cash assets are a small but essential part of U.S. banks’ balance sheets, making up $3.1 trillion or 13% of all assets. Having enough cash assets ensures adequate liquidity needed to meet short-term obligations and regulatory requirements.

Cash assets include physical currency held in bank vaults, pending collections, and cash balances in accounts with other banks.

Liabilities: Banks’ Financial Obligations

Liabilities represent the obligations banks must fulfill, including customer deposits and borrowings. Careful management of liabilities is essential to maintain liquidity, manage risk, and ensure a bank’s overall solvency.

Deposits

Deposits make up the largest portion of banks’ liabilities as they represent the money that customers entrust to these institutions. It’s important to note that the FDIC insures deposit accounts up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each type of account (like single accounts, joint accounts, and retirement accounts).

There are two primary types of deposits, large time deposits and other deposits. Large time deposits are defined by the FDIC as time deposits exceeding $100,000, while other deposits include checking accounts, savings accounts, and smaller time deposits.

U.S. banks had $17.18 trillion in overall deposits as of April 12th 2023, with other deposits accounting for 74% of the overall liabilities while large time deposits made up 9%.

Borrowings

After deposits, borrowings are the next largest liability on the balance sheet of U.S. banks, making up nearly 12% of all liabilities at $2.4 trillion.

These include short-term borrowings from other banks or financial institutions such as Federal Funds and repurchase agreements, along with long-term borrowings like subordinated debt which ranks below other loans and securities in the event of a default.

How Deposits, Rates, and Balance Sheets Affect Bank Failures

Just like any other business, banks have to balance their finances to remain solvent; however, successful banking also relies heavily on the trust of depositors.

While in other businesses an erosion of trust with customers might lead to breakdowns in future business deals and revenues, only in banking can a dissolution in customer trust swiftly turn into the immediate removal of deposits that backstop all revenue-generating opportunities.

Although recent bank collapses aren’t solely due to depositors withdrawing funds, bank runs have played a significant role. Most recently, in First Republic’s case, depositors pulled out more than $101 billion in Q1 of 2023, which would’ve been more than 50% of their total deposits, had some of America’s largest banks not injected $30 billion in deposits on March 16th.

It’s important to remember that the rapidly spreading fires of bank runs are initially sparked by poor asset management, which can sometimes be detected on banks’ balance sheets.

A combination of excessive investment in long-dated held-to-maturity securities, one of the fastest rate hiking cycles in recent history, and many depositors fearing for and moving their uninsured deposits of over $250,000 has resulted in the worst year ever for bank failures in terms of total assets.

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