Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sub-prime meltdown

The past few days, the bods that present the financial/business news on CNN, the BBC etc have looked increasingly frisky and nervous. Its been a bit like watching fake news within some apocalyptic film. What is going on?

The narrative is familiar by now: interest rates are raised by the Fed Reserve bank to kick-start a flagging economy nearly a year ago. This knocks-onto the riskier end of the US housing market (going by the euphemism of the 'sub-prime' market). Given the globalised, interwoven nature of equity markets, its only a matter of time before financial institutions overseas are aversely affected - specifically those who have invested in the US mortgage market by buying passed on debt. The worst hit are those playing for high stakes anyway - the hedge fund magi. The knock-on effect of this is a huge credit global credit squeeze as risk-fear spreads across and within financial institutions like a forest fire. The European Central Bank and the Fed Reserve bank respond by pumping billions of dollars into the money markets to stop the credit market from freezing over.

Quite where all this is heading, no one seems to know. Of course, canny investors will make a killing, as solid companies momentarily slip beneath their real value on global share indexes. For the US economy, I'm not sure what the way out is: the housing market looks set to continue to slump thanks to rising interest rates, continuing to increase risk in the wider credit sector. Inflationary pressures will continue to flare around the world, threatening a global depression. Energy security remains the threat on the horizon for the US (and Europe), with China offering more bang-for-the-buck per barrel.

Its not looking good.


lolaojiks 8:53 pm  

It's not looking good at all esp. for people that work in Financial Services.

Most of the City Bankers in London are worried about their fat cat bonuses.

Personally, I think it would be interesting to see the effect of this on the Nigerian market which is currently doing phenominally well.

Anonymous,  9:49 pm  

no effect on naija's market yet. its too small and non integrated into the global system that much. maybe from 2008

Fred 11:45 pm  

Reading your Economic analysis is like watching a cripple try to walk.

Jeremy 11:50 pm  

Fred I'm so glad you've managed to pull yourself away from sniffing ladies' perfume to pop by my blog again.

As far as I can tell, your country's economy is in danger of being up shit creek without a paddle. Or do you have an analysis and a prognosis that shows otherwise?

Akin 6:18 am  

Along with that "veiled" threat of China to dump US assets by tinkering with their $1.3 trillion cache, the world reserve currency is on its way to running at par with the Zimbabwean dollar.

As for a cripple trying to walk, some records show that cripples have leapt and walked - the analysis does not have to be so economic - fraudulent activity, bad credit analysis, lax checks and dishonesty are the foundations on which this crisis is built; common-sense indicates there would be a complete shakedown before confidence is restored in the markets again.

BK,  11:19 am  

I'm not sure Nigeria's market is THAT unintegrated with with the global system...I suspect there are quite a lot of hedge funds with interests in the Nigerian stock market. There again I'm quite ignorant and still can't understand what has been driving up the stock markets there. The one thing I'm pretty sure of is that it IS another bubble waiting to burst.

Fred 7:47 pm  

You're welcome.

No, I don't have any analysis; I just wanted you to know it was comical to read your take on something you don't know too much about, like a cripple's natural ignorance of walking. That's it.

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