Banking Regulation: Minimum Capital Requirements of Basel II Intensify Transmission from Currency Crises to Banking Crises
Emerging market currency crises are often followed by banking crises. One reason for the transmission is the increased value of foreign debt measured in local currency. Equity capital is often insufficient to ensure liquidity. This problem is addressed by Basel II, in particular by its minimum capital requirements. In difference to the current regulation (Basel I), Basel II employs a differentiated risk weighing on base of credit ratings. This contribution calculates the hypothetic effects of the new regulation on minimum capital requirements for the example of the South Korea currency and banking crises of 1997. The results are compared to current regulation. It can be shown that minimum capital requirements in the case of Basel II would have been lower than in the case of Basel I. Additionally, minimum capital requirements would have increased dramatically. The transmission from currency to banking crises would not have been prevented, but would have been accelerated. Thereby, minimum capital requirements under Basel I have been relatively low because of South Korea’s OECD membership. It can therefore be concluded that in other emerging market economies, which are not OECD members, the ratio of minimum capital requirements of Basel II to the minimum capital requirements of Basel I prior the crises would have been even lower. Therefore, the new instrument of banking regulation would have intensified the transmission from currency to banking crises.