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America's mortgage crisis has spiralled into "the largest financial shock since the Great Depression" and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next 12 months, the International Monetary Fund warned today.
Simon Johnson, the IMF's director of research, said later the key risk to the forecasts was the danger of a vicious circle emerging, as house prices continue to fall, dealing a fresh blow to the banks, and exacerbating the problems in the markets. "Sentiment in financial markets has improved in recent weeks since the Federal Reserve's strong actions with regard to investment banks. But we have seen how strains in markets can quickly become reinforcing, and the possibility of a negative spiral or 'financial decelerator' remains a possibility."
Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, will also be in Washington this weekend to discuss the ramifications of the credit crunch with central bankers from around the world.
and yet people are still saying we're not even in a recession