Daily Archives: February 23, 2010

The FDIC’s deposit insurance fund balance, an expression of its net worth, is -$20.9bn, because of provisions taken against failing banks. (To be scared further on that subject, see Calculated Risk.)

There were 2,860 mass layoffs during January in the US. Mass layoffs are from establishments that have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment filed against them in a five-week period.

The numbers are up 24 per cent on last month, which was itself up 24 per cent on the month before. On average, 97 people are laid off at each of these layoff ‘events’.

I was once refused a mortgage because I had never had a credit card. Prudence apparently made me a dubious debtor. Might Estonia’s prudence imperil its bid to join the euro? With government debt below 10 per cent of GDP, Estonia has not needed to issue a benchmark bond. Such a bond would give evidence of low and stable interest rates, a pre-requisite for entry into the euro, slated for 2011, argues Sakari Suoninen of Macroscope blog, adding that other indicators can probably substitute.

As Sakari points out, it will be very impressive if Estonia meets the eurozone’s entry requirement: no country already using the common currency would qualify to join the bloc this year.

For emerging markets, at least.

Adair Turner is such a trend-setter. He backed a Tobin tax, and the world laughed. Then the world paused and considered. And now there is a great deal of support for the idea. Read more

Apparently, sterling has fallen on the back of zero QE news from Mervyn King at parliament’s Treasury Committee this morning.

The policy of quantitative easing – whereby the central bank increases its credit balance and buys assets – finished in early February. But its resumption was never ruled out. Time and again, Mr King has said the policy would be reinstated if needed. Read more

Big numbers probably have little effect on you, post crisis. Once a number is beyond a multiple of one’s own salary or house value, it is beyond comprehension. But $3,335bn? That is how much the US will need to refinance in the next six years from syndicated loans.

Regular blog readers will recall that Spain is facing $200bn maturing syndicated loans in the coming six years, dwarfing what is owed by Greece. That is about a fifth of the country’s annual income. But what is owed by the US is approaching a quarterRead more

Traders say the Swiss National Bank was seen in Asian markets selling francs and buying euros. This would fit with Phillip Hildebrand’s stated policy of intervention to prevent excessive appreciation of the franc, which could harm Switzerland’s economic recovery. The SNB declined to comment. (Reuters)

Related posts Read more

Perhaps Japan will take a note out of Israel’s book. There is an ongoing war of words between Japan’s finance ministry and its central bank, in which the government asks the bank to tackle deflation, and the bank asks the government to fix the fiscal deficit. As Robin has pointed out, the ‘pressure’ being applied to the bank is more of a nudge than an ultimatum. But if the government wanted to step up the pressure, it could use the minimum wage to affect monetary dynamics. This is a charge levelled today by Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer against the Israeli finance ministry, who told parliament the tactic has been used at least once (Israeli speech from Bloomberg).