Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

What is the 2008 Lehman Crisis?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Lehman Crisis

Mains level: Not Much

The fire sale of about $20 billion of Archegos assets, comprising Chinese and US stocks, has sent jitters in the global financial markets, raising worries that the event could be a possible “Lehman moment”.

What is the Lehman Crisis?

  • The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, was the climax of the subprime mortgage crisis.
  • After the financial services firm was notified of a pending credit downgrade due to its heavy position in subprime mortgages, the Federal Reserve summoned several banks to negotiate to finance for its reorganization.
  • These discussions failed, and Lehman filed a petition that remains the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, involving more than US$600 billion in assets.

Note: The subprime mortgage crisis occurred when the real estate market collapsed and homeowners defaulted on their loans.

What defines the moment?

  • It signalled a limit to the government’s ability to manage the crisis and prompted a general financial panic.
  • Money market mutual funds, a key source of credit, saw mass withdrawal demands to avoid losses, and the interbank lending market tightened, threatening banks with imminent failure.
  • The government and the Federal Reserve system responded with several emergency measures to contain the panic.

Other terminologies:

Margin Call

  • Typically, a margin call occurs when the value of an investor’s margin account falls below the broker’s required amount during a market correction or sell-off.
  • As the margin account contains securities bought with borrowed money, a margin call occurs when lenders demand that an investor deposit additional money or securities into the account so that it is brought up to the minimum value.
  • A margin call is usually an indicator that the securities held in the margin account have decreased in value.
  • When a margin call occurs, the investor must choose to either deposit more money in the account or sell some of the assets held in their account.
  • If the investor fails to pay up the margin amount, the lender will resort to the sale of assets lying in the investor’s account.

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