Research from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) suggests investors should be aware of warning signs in Australia’s credit markets. The BIS monitors a number of key data variables which can signal signs of financial stress, as part of efforts to prevent the next global financial crisis. The BIS is an international financial institution, jointly-owned by around 60 central banks. In terms of providing a useful indicator about signs of financial distress, “household sector DSRs perform especially well”, the BIS said. And by that measure, it’s little surprise that Australia falls on the riskier end of the spectrum — our household debt to disposable income ratio is among the highest in the world.

The BIS added that its analysis should be used to develop a more informed view about markets, but investors should treat its powers of prediction with a degree of caution. “As always, they have been calibrated based on past experience, and cannot take account of broader institutional and economic changes that have taken place since previous crises,” the BIS said. “The much more active use of macroprudential measures should have strengthened the resilience of the financial system to a financial bust, even if it may not have prevented the build-up of the usual signs of vulnerabilities.”

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