Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #159

Last night, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard sounded the alarm with this item:

US faces global funding crisis, warns Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch has warned that the United States could face a foreign “financing crisis” within months as the full consequences of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage debacle spread through the world.

The country depends on Asian, Russian and Middle Eastern investors to fund much of its $700bn (£350bn) current account deficit, leaving it far more vulnerable to a collapse of confidence than Japan in the early 1990s after the Nikkei bubble burst. Britain and other Anglo-Saxon deficit states could face a similar retreat by foreign investors.

Emphasis added by me.

Fannie and Freddie – the world’s two biggest financial institutions – make up almost half the $12 trillion US mortgage industry. But that understates their vital importance at this juncture. They are now serving as lender of last resort to the housing market, providing 80pc of all new home loans.

Roughly $1.5 trillion of Fannie and Freddie AAA-rated debt – as well as other US “government-sponsored enterprises” – is now in foreign hands. The great unknown is whether foreign patience will snap as losses mount and the dollar slides.

Emphasis added by me.

And this little ditty near the end:

David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said fears that regional banks could start toppling after the Fed takeover of IndyMac last week were now the biggest threat to the dollar.

After all that comes this report from the Financial Times, as if to confirm everything Evans-Pritchard wrote:

Sovereign funds cut exposure to weak US dollar

Some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds are seeking to scale back their exposure to the US dollar in a sign of global concern about the currency.

One big sovereign fund in the Gulf has cut its dollar-denominated holdings from more than 80 per cent a year ago to less than 60 per cent, while China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has been looking to strike deals with private equity firms in Europe as a part of a strategy to reduce its dollar holdings.

Sovereign wealth funds have played a leading role in helping to recapitalise faltering US banks, but have lost money so far on such investments. Continuing market turbulence has further shaken their faith in US policy and policymakers.

Emphasis added by me.

Here’s a very ominous note:

Behind the scenes, fund officials are questioning the credibility of the Federal Reserve and US Treasury in defending the dollar and maintaining financial stability. Reacting to last year’s collapse of structured investment vehicles, the head of one Middle East fund said: “I thought the problem of off-balance sheet had gone away with Enron.”

Emphasis added by me.

Enron? What about CitiGroup!?

Another sour note:

Still, dissatisfaction with the dollar peg is growing at the Abu Dhabi fund. “We are suffering. We are importing inflation for no reason,” says one ADIA staffer.

Emphasis added by me.

Everything is converging to this: The Question Everyone Is Afraid To Ask

Explore posts in the same categories: C.O.A.T. - Belief, C.O.A.T. - Money, C.O.A.T. - Scams, Depression 2.0

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