September 11, 2012 / 3:18 PM / 5 years ago

IMF says benefits of financial reform outweigh costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tough new global financial rules will nudge up credit costs, but the slight drag they will place on major economies is worth it to achieve a more stable financial system, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

In a study examining the impact of global financial reform in Europe, Japan and the United States on credit pricing, the IMF concluded that average bank lending rates will rise 26 basis points in the United States, 17 basis points in Europe and 8 basis points in Japan over the long term in response to rising regulatory costs. A basis point is one hundredth of a percentage point.

However, the benefits of reform in terms of less frequent and less costly financial crises outweigh the “relatively low levels of economic costs,” the study concluded.

“Banks around the world appear to have a considerable ability to adapt to the regulatory changes without radical actions that would harm the wider economy,” wrote co-authors Andre Oliveira Santos, a senior economist in the IMF’s Financial Regulation Division, and Douglas Elliott, a fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The report focuses on three major financial reform initiatives: derivatives market reforms, higher taxes and fees facing the financial industry for programs like deposit insurance, and tougher capital and liquidity rules under the Basel III international bank regulatory agreement.

Regulators have been taking steps to bolster the global financial system in response to the financial crisis that roiled markets starting in 2007.

Editing by Andrea Ricci

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