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2014 poised to be the year of Bitcoin, property, and other asset bubbles - report

(Credit: Reuters) A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai April 6, 2011. Shanghai Stock Exchange
December 14
2:27 PM 2013
by Rizza Sta. Ana

According to Japan Times, investors had been taking advantage in borrowing money to invest in assets ranging from artwork, to wine, and even in the Bitcoin, as cash becomes cheap recently. Investments on such assets had become rampant as the rate of activity in asset trading had driven their prices, with some hitting all-time highs. However, industry observers said that asset bubbles could have formed due to incessant investing in such assets, and 2014 might be the year of many financial bubbles.

During a roundtable at the French market regulator AMF, World Bank financial director Bertrand Badre said that central banks all over the world had been pouring too much money at lower rates in order to spur liquidity after the 2008 financial crisis. However, he said that banks should need to taper their cash.

"We survived a major fire (that was put out) with a lot of liquidity. The Federal Reserve and others are continuing to water the market, but I think that at some point, we have to take stock of the situation," Badre added.

AMF Chairman Gerard Rameix agreed, and said, "A risk that everyone agrees is a major one: is the abundance of liquidity." He cited excess liquidity as a major reason why US subprime crisis had started. The subprime mortgages had been the trigger to the financial crisis in 2008, Japan Times noted.

The European Central Bank, in November, had launched an initiative to cut its key rate to 0.25%, which is an all-time low and matched the US Federal Reserve's rate that it has had in place since the end of 2008.

Janet Yellen, the White House nominee to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, said in a US Congress hearing that the Fed's near-zero interest rates and massive bond purchases did not generate new bubbles in stock or property markets.

Institute of International Finance director Tim Adams disagreed and explained, "In a low-rate environment, investors are looking anywhere for some sense of yield. So, you've started to see bubbles develop in different niche sectors like art, wine, farmland or low-rated corporate debt."

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