Tuesday, April 14, 2009
PhD economist Nouriel Roubini says that the stress tests are a sham:
Stress Testing the Stress Test Scenarios: Actual Macro Data Are Already Worse than the More Adverse Scenario for 2009 in the Stress Tests. So the Stress Tests Fail the Basic Criterion of Reality Check Even Before They Are ConcludedRoubini joins FDIC chief Sheila Bair, Nobel economist Paul Krugman, former senior S&L regulator William Black, and many others in calling the "stress tests" a sham.
The spin machine about the banks’ stress test is already in full motion; some banking regulators have already leaked to the New York Times the spin that all 19 banks who are subject to the stress test will pass it, i.e. none of them will fail it.
But if you look at the actual data today macro data for Q1 on the three variables used in the stress tests – growth rate, unemployment rate, and home price depreciation – are already worse than those in FDIC baseline scenario for 2009 AND even worse than those for the more adverse stressed scenario for 2009. Thus, the stress test results are meaningless as actual data are already running worse than the worst case scenario...
In other terms, the results of the stress test – even before they are published – are not worth the paper they are written on as they make assumptions on the economy that are much more optimistic –even in the worst scenarios that the FDIC has designed - than the actual figures for Q1 of 2009.