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US faces global funding crisis, warns Merrill Lynch
The US Treasury may have just days to act before foreign patience snaps, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
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.
Draining away: The US may struggle to plug its capital gap
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.
"Japan was able to cut its interest rates to zero," said Alex Patelis, Merrill's head of international economics.
"It would be very difficult for the US to do this. Foreigners will not be willing to supply the capital. Nobody knows where the limit lies."
Brian Bethune, chief financial economist at Global Insight, said the US Treasury had two or three days to put real money behind its rescue plan for Fannie and Freddie or face a dangerous crisis that could spiral out of control.
Originally posted by kosmicjack
reply to post by St Udio
I thought naked shorting was illegal? I'm confused.
With the death of the IndyMac Bank last week, and the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac laying side-by-side in the EMT van on IV drips, headed for the Federal Reserve's ever more crowded intensive care unit, there was a sense of the American Dream having passed through the event horizon that denotes the opening of a black hole…
What would happen if the US Government acted to bail out these feckless enterprises (and what if they don't)? Either way, it's not a pretty picture. If Mr. Bernanke does start shoveling loans into the GSE black hole, he'll further undermine the soundness of his own outfit and do nothing, really, to repair Fannie and Freddie's structural problem of having securitized too many loans that will never be paid back. If instead Fannie and Freddie are flat-out taken over entirely by the US government (and remember the Federal Reserve is not the government), then the national debt will roughly double overnight -- which will pound the US dollar down a rat-hole.
Meanwhile, the foreign holders of those decrepitating dollars might not rush to the redemption window, but they certainly would use them to buy up every oil futures contract on God's not-so-green Earth as fast as possible -- they'd be dumb not to -- which would leave American Happy Motorists with gasoline prices north of $5 a gallon, and possibly north of $10. (In that case, say goodbye to the airlines. In fact, say goodbye to what passes for the rest of the US economy, including especially the vaunted retail sector that supposedly counts for 70 percent of the action.)
If Fannie and Freddie are left to die out on the desert floor, say goodbye to the housing market, the major investment banks, countless regional banks, the retirement accounts of virtually everyone in America, the viability of all fifty states' governments, and the day-to-day operating ability of all their municipalities -- and very likely the current incarnation of the world banking system.
This process is really out of control now. The bottom line is the comprehensive bankruptcy of the United States. The Republican Party under George Bush will be known as the party that wrecked America (release 2.0). Painful as it is, Americans had better get a new "Dream" and fast. It better be a dream based on the way the universe actually works, which is to say an operating procedure run on earnest effort and truthfulness rather than merely trying to get something for nothing and wishing on stars. We might begin symbolically by evacuating Las Vegas and calling in an air strike on the loathsome place -- to register our new reality-based attitude adjustment.
Wall Street war: A win for Utahn
Byrne's battle helps bring curbs on naked short-selling practices
Extend ban: Byrne said he wants the ban on naked short-selling extended to all publicly held companies. He may be successful. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox told Congress last week that a proposal expanding the order to cover all public companies will be introduced soon. Full Text