(an email and an article)

On Dec 23, 2007 5:37 PM, Russell Huntley wrote:
> For a very bearish take on the credit crisis, see: Crisis may make 1929 look
> a ‘walk in the park’. The article includes a $700 billion loss estimate from
> the head of credit at Barclays capital:
> Goldman Sachs caused shock last month when it predicted that total crunch
> losses would reach $500bn,

Yes, could be. Rearranging of financial assets.

leading to a $2 trillion contraction in lending
> as bank multiples kick into reverse.

I don’t see this as a consequence. Bank lending will go in reverse only if there are no profitable loans to be made.

With floating exchange rates, bank capital in endogenous and will respond to returns on equity.

This already seems humdrum.
> “Our counterparties are telling us that losses may reach $700bn,” says Rob
> McAdie, head of credit at Barclays Capital. Where will it end? The big banks
> face a further $200bn of defaults in commercial property. On it goes.

Been less than 100 billion so far. Maybe they are talking cumulatively over the next five years?

> UPDATE: My main interest in this article was the quote from Barclays
> Capital. There has been a growing agreement that the mortgage credit crisis
> would result in losses of perhaps $400B to $500B; this is the first estimate
> I’ve seen significantly above that number.
> I noted last week that a $1+ trillion mortgage loss number is possible if it
> becomes socially acceptable for the middle class to walk away from their
> upside down mortgages.

Historically, people just don’t walk out onto the streets. They are personally liable for the payments regardless of current equity positions, and incomes are still strong, nationally broader surveys show home prices still up a tad ear over year.

Yes, some condo flippers and speculators will walk. But demand from that source has already gone to zero – did so over a yar ago, so that doesn’t alter aggregate demand from this point.

And that doesn’t include losses in CRE, corporate
> debt and the decrease in household net worth.

Different things, but again, the key to GDP is whether demand will hold up, including exports.

And probably half of aggregate demand comes directly or indirectly from the government. Don’t see that going negative. And AMT tax just cut fifty billion for 2008 will help demand marginally.

> The S&L crisis was $160B, so even adjusting for inflation, the current
> crisis is much worse than the S&L crisis (see page 13 of this GAO document).

That was net government losses? Shareholders/investors lost a lot more?

And a $1 trillion per day move in the world equity values happens all the time.

Q4 GPD being revised up to the 2% range. This has happened every quarter for quite a while.

Yes, it can all fall apart, but it hasn’t happened yet. And while there are risks to demand, negative GDP is far from obvious. Those predicting recessions mainly use yield curve correlations with past cycles and things like that.

Interesting that the one thing that is ‘real’ and currently happening is ‘inflation’, which the fed doesn’t seem to care about. And it won’t stop until crude stops climbing.


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