Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fred Thomson

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boom2bust

video

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas


Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

House Of Cards



Ghost Town

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Helicopter Ben

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I.O.U.S.A

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Underwater

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mathew Padilla

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Greenspan's Blind Faith

Ben Jones, blogger and independent economic analyst for the Housing Bubble Blog says the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve had plenty of opportunities to see the writing on the wall for the current financial crisis.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The eye of the storm has just passed over



It is a great surprise that three small islands off North Western Europe have been the cause, and the cure, of the crisis. It was Ireland's emergency guarantee of all deposits which set off the nuclear reaction: risible, because its blanket nature covering all deposits for its six banks worked out at $576bn, nearly three times gross domestic product, $130,000 per head or $200,000 per person in employment. Within these numbers was a sub-liability of nearly $50,000 per head over foreign deposits, mostly British. Despite now excellent Anglo-Irish relations, if these guarantees had been called, they could never have been paid. Immediately Germany, Spain, Greece and smaller countries followed suit. Mildly anti-EU British politicians then peculiarly started to bleat about supra-national solutions - an impossible dream - and did nothing. More sensible foreign leaders reacted nationally to the inevitable consequences of their electorates seeing their local banks disappear in a puff of smoke. Fortunately, market mechanisms then kicked in. Large British deposits were being sucked out, into unreal Irish bank guarantees at an alarming rate. Meanwhile in Iceland, the third offshore island, the entire bank system finally decided to die. Although this was assured much earlier (see Pick of the Week No. 48, "Abdul and Jorvik Go Shopping"), it had staggered on for a surprisingly long time. The twin Irish/Iceland events resulted in dramatic falls in British asset prices and even worse gridlock in the lending markets. Outflows to Ireland were swiftly followed by a sudden realisation that simply idiotic deposits worth over £5bn had been placed into hopeless Icelandic-owned institutions and were about to disappear. Depositors included over 100 UK local government authorities as well as unwise financial intermediaries. Without warning and in a single bound, the British governing class leapt from narcolepsy to sprinting at gold medal speed.

The key change has been the rapid implementation of the most comprehensive bank bail out package ever seen. It should work, because it addresses the overlapping problems of too little Tier 1 capital, the fear of bank counterparty risk, the inability to roll over corporate loans and the risk of deposit flight. The result is state directed capitalism. It has lead to howls of outrage across the investment and political spectrum, from the purists who believe market forces should be allowed to work themselves out, to the mob baying for capitalist blood. The cacophony of noise and finger pointing will continue for many years, but both arguments are irrelevant. They are based on old rules. For just as in war habeas corpus and other rights are torn up, so in a financial meltdown the old rules are shredded.

The British decision has been to save the core of the national banking system and create a more realistic structure than the blanket guarantees of Ireland. The sums pledged are large enough to meet all the capital required to support the capital of each major domestic bank. The use of high yielding preference shares and permanent income bearing securities is likely to mean the government may end up owning perhaps a mere quarter of three to six banks, yet its ability to control them all, and their lending, is a certainty. This multiple approach is already being favourably viewed in other countries; it is speedy, cheaper and turns the all-important psychology from one of utter despair to merely gloom. It is more effective, and overall less burdensome on the taxpayer than any other solution. In the UK and elsewhere, the previous drip feed of liquidity into the markets, started by Mr Paulson in the US, simply proved the law of diminishing returns. Ever larger funds had to be provided to produce ever weaker results. To be fair, the unique (so far) British solution is almost the same as Mr. Buffet's bail-out of Goldman Sachs. His very high yielding preference stock and presumably many other strings must have provided a guide.

Britain's Treasury mandarins had also dusted off and absorbed the lessons of earlier French, Swedish and Japanese models. The result is a more effective hybrid. Since President Mitterand nationalised the banks in 1980 (later part re-listed), France has had state directed capitalism dominated by three banks. Inevitably these are ponderous and suffer poor shareholder returns, but in a whacky way, the system works. In Sweden, the necessary nationalisation of anything with 'bank' on its nameplate also proved effective; although the stock market did not recover for 18 months, the economy managed weak growth in almost every quarter. Japan's Resolution Trust Corporation initially failed because the government dithered for six years after the 1990 crash, before taking any meaningful action. Subsequently, vast amounts of debt were issued to hoover up bankrupt banks and duff corporate loans. It worked. We believe that most G7 (i.e. including America) and G20 countries will adopt Britain's hybrid ruse in the near future; if so, the storm is passing for sure.


John Maudlin
johnmauldin@investorsinsight.com

$45 Trillion Wealth Wipe Out

Monday, October 13, 2008

Krugman got it right



Today Paul Krugman won the nobel prize and was well deserved.
I have posted this video a few times before but it is a must watch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Germany Moves to Shore Up Confidence in Economy

Depfa, a Dublin-based lender that Hypo acquired last year, is at the center of its problems. Depfa underwrote a package of municipal bonds which were subsequently downgraded by ratings agencies. That step obliged Depfa to buy the bonds back, a contractual requirement that would create almost immediate liquidity problems at Hypo itself, given the difficulty of getting short-term funding in today’s drumtight credit markets. Banks from outside Hypo uncovered the problem after the bailout was cemented last week, and soon realized that the 35 billion euros that were supposed to sustain the bank through the end of 2009 was inadequate. Instead, it would need 50 billion euros by the end of this year, and another 10 billion in 2009. After the magnitude of the problem became clear, the banks — which were not publicly identified — revoked their participation in the plan, which had been a joint public-private deal.

New York Times

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Regulator

video

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Under Pressure

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

AIG

Lehman



Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

57175 Ripoff




Does your prepaid mobile phone go b***p and your call credit is euro 2.50 in the hole?
Well it's all thanks to this shower of wankers Zamano

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Quickening

Saturday, August 30, 2008

make my way

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Band

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Here comes the Bailout



STATE-BACKED loans for business are to be considered by the Government in September as efforts get underway to revive the flagging economy.

The Sunday Independent has learned that officials from the Department of Finance have been involved in talks, in recent weeks, with several of the country's major banks with a view to restoring liquidity in business lending.

It is understood that the introduction of State-guaranteed loans for businesses is among the measures under consideration as the Government looks for ways to revive economic activity in the wake of Ireland's property crash.

A source close to the negotiations stressed, however, that State-backed business loans -- should they be introduced -- would only be given where a sound business case was proposed by the prospective borrower.

"Effectively, the State, as well as the bank, will be lending money to business, so we have to be as sure as we can that we will get that money back. It belongs to the taxpayer," the source said.

The proposal is just one a range of measures currently being considered by Government officials as part of a stimulus package Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to bring to Cabinet in September for its consideration.

The Sindo

Friday, August 22, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Spiral



Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jingle Mail

Economy of the living dead



The subprime monster won’t have completed its damage until the end of next June. ALT-A loans are in play to reset over the next three years. They are double the volume in dollars of subprimes. Now beginning for the next five years we have Option Arm pick-an-pay loans, whose dollar value is five times greater than subprime and ALT-A loans. $500 billion in ARMs will reset this year more than half of which will become foreclosures, far more than anticipated are simply walking away from their homes. The worst is ahead of us. Three to five years to the bottom and at least five years on the bottom after that. As we predicted bank losses will be over $2 trillion, plus in excess of $2 trillion in losses for Fannie and Freddie. Worse yet, interest rates are higher than a year ago and we forecast mortgage rates ½% higher by the end of the year.


What we have is systemic failure in our banking system; that is being drawn out as long as possible by the Fed, which is hoping for a miracle. All kinds of gimmicky is being employed by the Fed, banks, Wall Street and corporate America. As we said banks alone are looking at $2 trillion in losses. It is not only American banks that are in trouble. The ECB banks took down 40% of the toxic CDOs and SIVs. Housing markets in Spain, Ireland, England, Italy, Australia and New Zealand will take trillions in losses. The amount of money in US banks that is uninsured is more than $2 trillion. America will hit the wall some time within the next three years and when it does there will be no banking system left and what will be in the banks will be worth 50% or more less than it is today due to inflation. Gold is where it is because of de-leveraging and negative bullion borrowing rates. Take advantage of this great opportunity to buy more gold and silver related assets. We also warn you to remove any excess funds from banks and put them in gold and silver assets and Swiss franc government bonds.

The International Forecaster

Here we go again



Anyone get the feeling that the banking and credit crisis is about to get worse? We may be waiting a lot longer than the third quarter for the bleeding to stop.
J.P. Morgan seems to be taking one of the two strategies that have emerged during the crisis: hold onto the junk and hope the market turns. This is the same plan that's in place at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, and was in place at Bear Stearns Cos.
There's a technical term for the other strategy that's being employed at Merrill Lynch & Co. Dump it.
Merrill employed this strategy back on July 29 when it took a healthy haircut and accepted 22 cents on the dollar for about $30 billion in collateralized debt obligations that were stinking up the balance sheet. About the only good news the market took from this was that there was actually someone willing to buy it.
The point is that even though there are different strategies, there is a single truth: the books on Wall Street are still loaded with stuff that stinks.
Not everyone is holding their noses. Brad Hintz, the Sanford Bernstein analyst and former chief financial officer at Lehman, is among the best who have assessed the situation. He doesn't think the Alt-A loans and the subprime loans are going to be a problem. Most of that stuff has been written off. "After all, the marks can't go past zero," he wrote me in an e-mail.
'Impossible to hedge'
That doesn't mean Hintz is whistling like Frank Quattrone past the courthouse. He's worried about a couple of things: commercial mortgage backed securities, the kind J.P. Morgan copped to having $11.6 billion worth, and good old prime mortgages, which like the Titanic would never default and are now taking on water.
If the prime stuff goes, the whole system implodes and we're all sleeping in the park. The commercial stuff is more likely to fail.

MarketWatch

The future of financials is 'green'.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He's Back

Casey Serin Is Back online





Here is some background info on the Guy for those that did not follow the Trainwreck.
Caseypedia



TrueCasey.com


Escapemyhouse.com

It's all Good

Financial Crises Freeze

Monday, August 11, 2008

Global credit crisis- update.

Debt Monkey


Click on graph for larger image in new window.

6. Conclusions
In the years immediately before and after EMU membership,
Ireland experienced very high rates of growth in PSC. This was a
logical outcome in a situation of strong growth in real GDP and a
move to a regime which was seen as bringing about a permanent
reduction in real interest rates. While very rapid credit growth
naturally raises concerns about the stability of the financial
system, it may also have had beneficial effects in terms of real
economic growth. The challenge is in keeping the balance right.
The results from the benchmarking of Irish PSC against other
euro-area countries are, on balance, reassuring; Ireland is not an
outlier. The central comparison with the rest of the euro area, in
terms of the ratio of PSC to GDP, found that we are part of a
mid-ranking group of countries which includes Austria, Germany,
Luxembourg and Spain. Nor is the proportion of credit going to
households excessive. On the euro-area benchmark, Ireland still
ranks seventh in terms of the share of PSC accounted for by
households. This suggests that at the overall level risks in Ireland
are no greater than elsewhere. Some individual borrowers, and
perhaps lenders, may be behaving imprudently and
developments must be monitored, so as risks in these areas can
be identified.
A favourable position emerges in terms of the present cost of
credit to the household sector. Two factors influence this: first, in
Ireland a high proportion of personal credit is secured on
residential property; and, second, a large portion of lending for
housing is at variable interest rates at a time when short-term
interest rates are at historically low levels. This latter point
contains the ‘sting in the tail’. It means that the exposure to
interest-rate changes is greater here. If and when short-term
interest rates rise, the cost of household borrowing in Ireland
would be expected to increase more quickly than that in many
other euro-area countries.
The vulnerability of Irish households to higher interest rates is
amplified by the marked rise in the ratio of household credit to
personal disposable income in recent years. Aggregate personal
indebtedness is now approaching 100 per cent of disposable
Quarterly Bulletin Spring 2004
144
income and rising fast. The larger stock of personal debt means
that consumer expenditure will be more sensitive to fluctuations
in income, especially arising from unemployment and interest
rates. While the greater vulnerability of the Irish economy to
increases in short-term interest rates is not of immediate concern,
as debt levels increase in absolute terms so do the risks to growth
from either a tightening in monetary policy or a slowdown in
economic activity. Certain areas of the housing market have
been identified by the IMF as being particularly exposed to such
developments (IMF, 2003). This underlines the need for vigilence
and prudent lending practices if the beneficial effects of past
credit growth are to be retained.
The acceleration in the growth of PSC in recent months is also
of concern. Following modest growth in 2002, the annual
adjusted rate of PSC growth strengthened last year and reached
19.3 per cent in February 2004, over three times the euro-area
rate of 5.8 per cent. While our end-2003 position within the euro
area was comfortable, there is a limit to the extent that Ireland
can sustain rates of credit growth which are a multiple of the
euro-area average. If such differences were to persist, Ireland
could become an outlier within a few years.

Irish Central Bank

The Renegade Economist





Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Irish House Prices



Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Mr.Doom and Gloom

Monday, August 4, 2008

Whitney's Wisdom

Monkeys

Housing Lenders Fear Bigger Wave of Loan Defaults



The first wave of Americans to default on their home mortgages appears to be cresting, but a second, far larger one is quickly building.

Homeowners with good credit are falling behind on their payments in growing numbers, even as the problems with mortgages made to people with weak, or subprime, credit are showing their first, tentative signs of leveling off after two years of spiraling defaults.

The percentage of mortgages in arrears in the category of loans one rung above subprime, so-called alternative-A mortgages, quadrupled to 12 percent in April from a year earlier. Delinquencies among prime loans, which account for most of the $12 trillion market, doubled to 2.7 percent in that time.

The mortgage troubles have been exacerbated by an economy that is still struggling. Reports last week showed another drop in home prices, slower-than-expected economic growth and a huge loss at General Motors. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate in July climbed to a four-year high.

While it is difficult to draw precise parallels among various segments of the mortgage market, the arc of the crisis in subprime loans suggests that the problems in the broader market may not peak for another year or two, analysts said.

New York Times

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Crash

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bubbles




Monday, July 21, 2008

Europe's Banks Facing Further EU120 Billion in Losses

July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Banks in Europe are set to post further losses of 120 billion euros ($191 billion) on retail lending as they reel from credit and mortgage writedowns, according to New York-based management consultants Oliver Wyman.

Losses from now to 2010 will ``rapidly increase'' especially in Britain, Spain and Ireland, according to the report, issued jointly today with Intrum Justitia, the Swedish debt collector.

``The combination of aggressive lending by the banks and the risk of the macroeconomic environment significantly changing for the worse, means that these countries stand out as the worst-hit,'' the report said.

Banks are curbing lending following the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market, which so far has cost financial institutions worldwide $448 billion in losses and writedowns.

Next year, credit and mortgage lending losses in Britain will rise 44 percent to more than 21 billion euros over 2007, the report said. U.K. mortgage loss rates are set to increase as much as tenfold, it added.

British house prices will fall about 10 percent this year and 6 percent next year, the Ernst & Young Item Club, a forecasting group which uses the same model as the Treasury, said today. Britons are saddled with a record 1.4 trillion pounds of debt.

HBOS Plc, the U.K.'s biggest mortgage lender, has undertaken a 4 billion-pound rights offering after writing down a similar amount on credit-related investments. The bank said earlier today that 92 percent of shareholders shunned the offering, leaving underwriters seeking buyers for 3.8 billion pounds ($7.6 billion) of shares.

Losses in Spain will be 2.1 billion euros higher than 2007 levels and 400 million euros higher in Ireland, the report said.

Bloomberg

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Falling off a cliff



SOLICITORS who specialised in conveyancing and property deals are now seeking to retrain and upskill as the housing market collapses and leaves them with drastically reduced levels of work.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Law Society has seen significant increases in the number of lawyers applying for courses that would enable them to branch out into areas where they previously had little experience.

In particular, the Law Society has received increased applications for courses in insolvency, litigation and other dispute-related areas which traditionally experience an upturn in times of recession.

Although unable to provide exact figures, the society's director general Ken Murphy says there are solicitors who were kept busy at the height of the building boom but now have "little or nothing to do" since construction-related work has "fallen off a cliff".

The Indo

The Debt Trap

Monday, July 14, 2008

ARM resets to hit peak this summer



By Renae Merle | The Washington Post
July 13, 2008

The number of homeowners facing an increase in their subprime adjustable-rate mortgage payments will peak this summer, testing the efforts of lenders and others to keep those people out of foreclosure and stabilize the housing market.

The timing reflects the height of subprime lending in the summers of 2005 and 2006, when many borrowers secured loans scheduled to adjust in two or three years. For many, an adjustment means their interest rate will go up 2 to 3 percentage points.

"The next six months, the industry, all of the folks that are out there trying to solve this problem, they are going to be very busy," said Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic, a California research firm. "There are a lot of people facing their resets right now. A good share of them don't have the refinance option."

Nationally, the number of subprime adjustable-rate loans resetting peaked at 7.61 percent of the loans outstanding last month, according to data from CoreLogic. More than 300,000 such loans will adjust this summer. CoreLogic's data covers about 80 percent of the mortgage market.

Lenders, federal officials and housing counselors have worried that borrowers will not be able to afford the higher payments after the reset and will quickly fall into foreclosure. Declining home prices have made it impossible for many of these homeowners to refinance.

It will not be clear for months how many will lose their homes, Fleming said. "A lot of those are resetting now," he said. "We may not see the impact in foreclosures until the middle of 2009."

Chicago Tribune

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Hard Landing





Dr Alan Ahearne, economics lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway, puts little stress on who sits behind the finance minister's desk. “I think we have had good policy makers, and the decisions don't depend on one man,” he said. “There are going to be many people involved in the decision making. But you can't make good policy without good analysis, and that is vital over the next few [fiscal] quarters.”

Three years ago, Ahearne warned that an Irish property crash was impending, while others were promising continuing buoyancy and growth. The economist later poured scorn on the forecasts of a soft landing. Bertie Ahern, the former taoiseach, promised one in the course of the last general election, but he was not alone.

In an interview last December with Reuters, the financial news service, John Hurley, the governor of the Central Bank, was still talking about a soft landing for the economy and 3% growth in 2008, down from its October forecast of 3.5%. That same intelligence probably fed into the Department of Finance's budget day calculation that month of 3% growth in GDP.

“We were never going to have a soft landing,” said Ahearne. “This is a crash in the housing market. Look at what is happening to price, to transactions [volume], to building activity.”

Ireland can now be added to the list of classic modern property crashes, from London and Boston through Scandinavia and Japan. The length of time we take to ride it out, though, will depend on the banks' readiness to bankrupt liquidity-challenged developers. Will they choose to flush the bad debts off their books as soon as possible?

Analysts say serious inroads must be made into the overhang of unsold housing stock - estimated to be at least 12 months' supply. There has to be a decline in the value of the euro, and a fall in inflation, before we can start supping skinny lattes with a clear conscience again.

In the meantime, the government is digging in, making retrenchment plans for at least two years of little or no growth, rising welfare bills, and stagnant stamp duty and CGT revenues. Poor forecasting means that the remedial measures required are not in place. This is likely to increase the pain before we get back to what government and the Central Bank like to call “trend growth” of 4-4.5%.

A year ago, forward indicators such as planning permissions suggested the drag on the economy from homebuilding was going to be significant in 2008, yet many forecasters were still calling strong growth in the economy, which Ahearne said defied economic logic and common sense.

Many private sector, rent-a-quote forecasters, he said, appeared to “make up numbers on the way in on the bus” or simply followed the herd. Meanwhile, there was a triumph of hope over realism in some state institutions, where a fear of talking down the economy made them adjust their forecasts down incrementally from quarter to quarter rather than produce a forecast “that was consistent with rigorous analysis”.

Challenged on its December forecast last week, the Central Bank said: “We have emphasised on a number of occasions that there were many downside risks and vulnerabilities in our forecasts that could push growth lower.

“These risks related to the potential for interaction between protracted global financial market turbulence, rising global energy and food prices and the slowing of activity within the economy, which was already under way. In recent months, almost all of these downside risks have materialised and this has led to a greater than expected slowdown in growth and higher than anticipated inflation.”

Dan McLaughlin, Bank of Ireland's chief economist, pointed out that everything that could go wrong for the Irish economy had gone wrong: the credit crunch has lasted a year, oil rose from $100 to $145 per barrel in the three months to July, Irish equities have fallen 30% this year, the European Central Bank (ECB) has raised rates despite slowing activity on the Continent, and sterling and the dollar have remained weak.

As its share price crashed alarmingly last week, Bank of Ireland was again cutting its economic growth forecast for 2008 - forecasting a flat year for GDP, down from the 3% growth previously forecast - and predicting unemployment would reach 6%.

Austin Hughes, the chief economist of IIB Bank, floated ideas such as temporary income tax cuts, Vat reductions or even stamp duty cuts as a balm on bruised consumer confidence. Ahearne is horrified at these notions, and warns government to stay clear of economic advice offered through the media for the coming two years.

“We should not have had tax cuts in the past few budgets - they added fuel to the fire,” said Ahearne. “They increased disposable income and therefore we had more consumer spending which was inflationary.

“It also allowed banks to give bigger loans, since they were doing that on the basis of disposable income. When the economy is overheating, the last thing you should be doing is tax cutting, but most economists were arguing for tax cuts.”

Alan Cooke, chief executive of the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute, is among those who suggest that Irish banks are not helping the situation. “Look at what has happened to property prices and compare it to what has happened with equities as one of the main forms of investment,” he said. “The banks are down 70% on the year, the others are down 40-50%, we are down by 10% - I'd take that any day of the week.

“The only thing stopping much more activity in the market at this point is the banks, because they don't have the money to lend.” They were no longer lending to the buy-to-let market, he said, and they had increased margins on interest rates by 0.25-0.35%, adding to the pressure on domestic buyers already at the mercy of the ECB.

The Sunday Times

Freddie and Fannie

iPhone 3G

Thursday, July 10, 2008

British house prices in fastest decline since 1990s as Bank holds rates

Britain is experiencing the fastest decline in house prices since the crash in the 1990s but the Bank of England is holding interest rates.

Britain is experiencing the fastest decline in house prices since the crash in the 1990s according to the country's biggest mortgage lender.

Figures from the Halifax show houses have lost 6.1 per cent of their value during the past year and potential buyers are staying away from the market.

Current building projects are also being suspended.

The Bank of England has left interest rates unchanged at five per cent but that does little to help homeowners and borrowers.



Channel 4 news

Roubini: Credit losses from the crisis up to $1.6 Trillion

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recession fear weighs on Ireland’s banks

“It’s time for hard hats, I’m afraid. It’s time to run this bank in a very conservative way,” Richard Burrows, governor of Bank of Ireland’s board, told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

Brian Lenihan, Irish finance minister, admitted last month that Ireland’s once booming housing market had come to a “shuddering halt”. Bank lending growth has slowed sharply. In addition, the higher cost of funding resulting from the international credit crunch has hit net interest margins, making lending less profitable.

“But the bad news hasn’t really started yet,” Eamonn Hughes, bank analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers, said. He believes many investors expect banks to incur large bad debt charges as developers and home owners are unable to service their borrowings in the face of the property slowdown.

CB Richard Ellis last week estimated that prime shop values in Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier retail location, had fallen 50 per cent this year.

Anglo Irish Bank, the specialist business lender, is considered the most exposed to a property slump, according to Citigroup, which last week downgraded the stock to a sell. It said that 80 per cent of the loan book was secured on Irish and UK property.

Problems at Irish Life & Permanent are a direct result of the growth of its loan book. With a much smaller deposit base than Bank of Ireland or AIB, it has come to rely on wholesale funding.

Financial Times

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Country Tom

video

Saturday, July 5, 2008

UK house prices

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Comical Austin

video