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Ireland on the brink as budget crunch looms

Ireland's Next Blow Could Be Home Loans
More than 36,000 Irish households, representing 4.6% of Irish mortgage loans, were at least 90 days behind on their loans as of June 30, according to Ireland's financial regulator. That compares with 26,000, or 3.3%, nine months earlier. Data for September, due next month, is expected to show another rise but remain below the U.S. rate, which was above 9% in June.

200,000 Irish mortgages—about one of every four outstanding home loans—is expected to be in negative equity by the end of the year, according an estimate made earlier this year by David Duffy, a research officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin.

Residential-mortgage debt soared from about €49 billion in late 2003 to €113 billion in March 2010, or from about $69 billion to about $159 billion, according to Ireland's central bank.

In 1995, the average first-time buyer would borrow an amount roughly equal to three years of his earnings, Mr. Kelly wrote in a December 2009 research paper. By 2006, that figure had swelled to eight years of earnings.

Unlike in the U.S., where surging defaults on home loans helped ignite a global financial crisis, residential mortgage defaults have been relatively rare in Ireland. The percentage of mortgages on which Irish borrowers are at least 90 days behind on payments is roughly half the level of the U.S.

Some experts say that is partly because banks in Ireland typically can pursue borrowers' other assets if they walk away from mortgages—a powerful disincentive to default.

Government actions also have kept a lid on defaults. Its financial regulator last year instituted a rule that lenders must wait six months from the time a borrower falls into arrears before going to court to seize his property. In February 2010, that period was stretched to 12 months.

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2010-11-17 FT - Crisis looming in US municipal debt market?
$2.8bn Municipal Debt Market $1bn Private Investors
$200bn State Budget Gaps
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In November the U.S. government prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt according to bailout statistics. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months before that. The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis. When Congress approved the TARP on Oct. 3, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledged the need for transparency and oversight. Now, as regulators commit far more money while refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return, some Congress members are calling for the Fed to be reined in.


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Debt Vs Bank Bailout From figures published May 2010, UK public sector net debt was £903.0 billion. (or 62.2% of National GDP) – Source: Office National Statistics. And £850bn was the official cost of the bank bailout. Notice how close these numbers are? £903.0 billion debt less £850bn from the bank bailout would leave our debt at £53 billion. Relatively speaking this is small beer. Currently we are at 62.2% of GDP, 22nd worst in the world. At £53 bn our debt would be 4%, ranked one of the lowest in the world. Now I don't claim to be a financial genius, but why arent these figures talked of more often? Why do the ConDems keep on about the massive cuts needed for us taxpayers to pay back the debt? They could simply force the banks to pay back what they owe. Clearly they couldnt do it all in one go but considering the big bank profits recently they could make a start. The ConDems seem to enjoy cutting services. Why else do they refuse to cut Trident? We are not all in this together. Green Reading

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Trichet’s Fake Stress Tests Bring European Banking System to Edge of Abyss [Translate] Webster G. Tarpley July 11, 2010 June 25, 2010Obama Strategy for G-20 in Ottawa: Push Euro Down, Drive Renminbi Up, Attack Germany, and Keep Toxic Derivatives in Charge of the World Economy

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Immelt Comments at Detroit Econ Club GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has argued that U.S. trade deficits and budget deficits are unsustainable. America must regain its competitiveness through innovative products, training of production workers, and business leadership. He advocates specific national goals related to energy security or independence, specific technologies, expansion of the manufacturing job base, and net exporter status.[260] "The world has been reset. Now we must lead an aggressive American renewal to win in the future." Of critical importance, he said, is the need to focus on technology and manufacturing. “Many bought into the idea that America could go from a technology-based, export-oriented powerhouse to a services-led, consumption-based economy — and somehow still expect to prosper,” Jeff said. “That idea was flat wrong.”[261]

The Economist wrote in May 2009: "Having spent a fortune bailing out their banks, Western governments will have to pay a price in terms of higher taxes to meet the interest on that debt. In the case of countries (like Britain and America) that have trade as well as budget deficits, those higher taxes will be needed to meet the claims of foreign creditors. Given the political implications of such austerity, the temptation will be to default by stealth, by letting their currencies depreciate. Investors are increasingly alive to this danger..."[267]# ^ Economist-A New Global System is Coming Into Existence

When asked to comment on the crisis, Greenspan spoke as follows:[132] The current credit crisis will come to an end when the overhang of inventories of newly built homes is largely liquidated, and home price deflation comes to an end. That will stabilize the now-uncertain value of the home equity that acts as a buffer for all home mortgages, but most importantly for those held as collateral for residential mortgage-backed securities. Very large losses will, no doubt, be taken as a consequence of the crisis. But after a period of protracted adjustment, the U.S. economy, and the world economy more generally, will be able to get back to business.