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Dollar Decline “Irreversible”

Dollar Decline “Irreversible”

The Independent
November 17, 2007

The decline of the dollar, symbol of US global hegemony for the best part of a century, may have become so entrenched that some experts now fear it is irreversible.

After months of huge and sustained turmoil on the money markets, lack of confidence in the world’s totemic currency has become so widespread that an increasing number of international traders are transferring their wealth to stronger currencies such as the euro, which recently hit its highest level against the dollar.

“An American businessman over here who is given the choice would take anything but the dollar,” David Buik of Cantor Index said yesterday. “I would want to be paid in yen, and if not yen then the euro or sterling.”

Matthew Osborne, of Armstrong International, added: “The majority would say sterling. There are a few dealers in the City who may take the view that they’ll take dollars now, while they’re cheap, and hold on to them for 12 months.

“But the problem is so serious that there are people who in July or August might have been thinking, ‘I’m paid in dollars, how annoying’ for whom it’s now a question of, ‘Do you have a job; do you have a bonus?’ “

The collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in the US, which is fuelling the dollar unrest, has already brought down one British bank, Northern Rock, and has forced others to declare vast losses. Yesterday, just as it appeared that the dollar might have finally reached its floor, there was another warning that the sub-prime crisis is going to get worse. The US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, warned an international business summit in South Africa: “The sub-prime market, parts of it will get worse before it gets better.” Huge numbers of US homeowners are still cushioned by introductory interest rates set when they took out loans in 2005 or 2006, he said. When these introductory offers run out, their interest payments will increase, setting off another wave of defaulting and repossessions. And the dollar is enduring its rockiest spell in recent memory.

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Goldman Sees Subprime Cutting $2 Trillion in Lending

Bloomberg
November 16, 2007

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — The slump in global credit markets may force banks, brokerages and hedge funds to cut lending by $2 trillion and trigger a “substantial recession” in the U.S., according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Losses related to record home foreclosures using a “back- of-the-envelope” calculation may be as high as $400 billion for financial companies, Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman in New York wrote in a report dated yesterday. The effects may be amplified tenfold as companies that borrowed to finance their investments scale back lending, the report said.

“The likely mortgage credit losses pose a significantly bigger macroeconomic risk than generally recognized,” Hatzius wrote. “It is easy to see how such a shock could produce a substantial recession” or “a long period of very sluggish growth,” he wrote.

Goldman’s forecast reduction in lending is equivalent to 7 percent of total U.S. household, corporate and government debt, hurting an economy already beset by the slowing housing market. Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said yesterday that the property market is the worst since the Great Depression.

Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank, and Merrill Lynch & Co. have led companies writing down more than $50 billion on securities linked to subprime mortgages. The risk of further losses by banks has pushed their borrowing costs above the average for investment-grade companies, according to Merrill Lynch indexes. Citigroup paid bondholders the highest yield relative to benchmark interest rates in its history this week.

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U.S. Economic Collapse News Archive

 


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