Monday, June 30, 2008

BIS Warns on Global Economy: A Deeper and More Protracted Downturn.

The BIS, also known as the Central Bank of Central Banks, is one of the most respected economic institutions. Prior to the start of the subprime crisis, I had posted an article where the BIS warned and in essence, predicted this current crisis. Now, the BIS is warning again. This time, with the threat of deflation!


"The eventual global slowdown could prove to be much greater and longer lasting than would be required to keep inflation under control. This could potentially even lead to deflation, which would evidently be less welcome."

"In the aftermath of a long credit-driven boom, it would not be surprising to see turmoil in financial markets, slowing real growth and temporarily rising inflation."

The Fed also believes that inflationary pressures will eventually come down as growth slows. The only difference being that a rebound in growth seems unlikely as this recession could last well over a year. Professor Shiller is not kidding when he says more stimulus will be needed. See: One Rebate Isn't Enough - New York Times

Inflation will probably still be the main theme this month, as the oil bubble (a.k.a. "oil crisis") continues to dominate. The price of a barrel of oil could easily spike to $200 if the conflict with Iran escalates within the next few weeks. If this be the case, then Professor Roubini deserves some serious credit for making the call. See: Rising Risk of a Military Confrontation between Israel and Iran? - Nouriel Roubini

It seems quite possible that a coordinated effort among central banks could be in the cards. See: BIS slams central banks, warns of worse crunch to come - UK Telegraph

About BIS
The Bank for International Settlements (or BIS) is an international organization of central banks which exists to foster cooperation among central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. It carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts, and through its annual General Meeting of all members. The BIS also provides banking services, but only to central banks, or to international organizations like itself. Based in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS was established by the Hague agreement of 1930

BIS 78th Annual Report (30 June 2008)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Over One Million Homes In Foreclosure

A grim first quarter report from the Mortgage Bankers Association's shows the housing crisis is getting worse. Mortgage delinquencies rose in the first quarter to 6.35%.

From CNN:

The Mortgage Bankers Association's first quarter report showed that a record 2.5% of all home loans being serviced by its members are now in foreclosure, which works out to about 1.1 million homes. That's up from the 2% of loans, or about 938,000 homes, that were in foreclosure at the end of 2007.

The report also showed that 448,000 homes, or about 1% of loans being serviced, began the foreclosure process during the first quarter. That's up from about 382,000 homes, or 0.83%, that entered foreclosure in the last three months of 2007.

This marks the sixth straight quarter in which a record percentage of loans went into foreclosure. The trend has led to widespread declines in home prices, as well as huge losses for banks and other financial firms that issued or invested in the loans.

Read full article >>

The problems in California and Florida are extraordinary and they are the main drivers of the national trend. The quarterly rate of foreclosure starts on subprime ARM loans in California was 9.24 percent. This rate, combined with Florida’s rate of 8.25 percent, drove up the national average foreclosure start rate to the point where 43 states were below the national average of 6.32 percent. California saw a total of approximately 109,000 foreclosure starts and Florida 77,000. The next highest states were Texas, Michigan and Ohio with between 24,000 and 20,000 each.

Here's a direct link to latest MBA National Delinquency Survey.