The Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) 2012 finds increased risks to the global financial system, with the euro area crisis the principal source of concern. The report urges policymakers to act now to restore confidence, reverse capital flight, and reintegrate the euro zone. In both Japan and the United States, steps are needed toward medium-term fiscal adjustment. Emerging market economies have successfully navigated global shocks thus far, but need to guard against future shocks while managing a slowdown in growth.

This GFSR also examines whether regulatory reforms are moving the financial system in the right direction, and finds that progress has been limited, partly because many reforms are in the early stages of implementation and partly because crisis intervention methods are still in use in a number of economies, delaying the movement of the financial system onto a safer path. The final chapter assesses whether certain aspects of financial structure enhance economic outcomes. Indeed, some structural features are associated with better outcomes. In particular, financial buffers made up of high-quality capital and truly liquid assets tend to be associated with better economic performance.