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Muncipalities can tear up contracts

Marshall Auerback here. Remind me again what Larry Summers was talking about when he spoke of the US as being a “nation of laws”, where “sanctity of contract” is sacrosanct? In a case of first impression that could have far-reaching implications, a bankruptcy judge in California recently determined that municipalities that file petitions under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code […]

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Mexico goes hat in hand to the IMF

Mexico goes hat in hand to the IMF

This comes from Win Thin, a senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman: Mexico President Calderon is now saying that Mexico stands ready to take a $30-40 bln IMF credit line. This was a surprise to us, and we view this as a negative for Mexico since no country until now has gone to the IMF for any sort of […]

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Arianna Huffington asks why the banks are getting a better deal

This clip is very much in line with my thinking from a previous post.

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Ukraine: economy shrank 25-30% in first two months

If you want to know what a modern-day depression looks like, try Ukraine. Growth in the ex-Soviet state, hit by shrinking markets for its steel and chemical exports, stood at 5.8 per cent of gross domestic product in the same period of 2008. ”We were ill-prepared to confront the crisis and its first blow was painful and difficult…,” Mr Yushchenko […]

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Case-Shiller offers up another depressing spectacle in U.S. housing

Case-Shiller offers up another depressing spectacle in U.S. housing

You might have thought house price declines were slowing. I certainly had hoped so. The latest data from January 2009 from the S&P/Case-Shiller index suggests this is wishful thinking as year-on-year declines hit another record of 19%. The decline was not only steep, but very broad-based. Data through January 2009, released today by Standard & Poor’s for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home […]

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Links: 2009-03-31

Obama’s Mid-Term Election – Nate Silver on 2010 Congressional Elections Do Democrats need an economic miracle to avert a serious setback in congressional elections next year? The stats guru’s new model shows that Obama will need about a 65-percent approval rating to hold the mid-terms. Wagoner encircled, exits GM with $29m handshake Bradford & Bingley reveals chief earned £1m for five […]

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Is China avoiding using US dollars?

In the wake of recent statements by Chinese officials about the dollar and dollar assets (see our previous comments here, here and here), it does seem like the Chinese are avoiding dolar-based transactions: China and Argentina have made a tentative agreement to swap $10bn (£7bn) worth of their currencies. The move, which allows both countries to bypass the US dollar, makes […]

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Banks can do ‘You Walk Away’ too

The website You Walk Away has become pretty popular because it teaches mortgage holders how to dump their properties on banks and get out from under their mortgage without losing everything. Apparently, banks are getting into the act too — and walking away. That leaves some people holding the bag when they didn’t expect to: Mercy James thought she had […]

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Obama’s GM plans: good moves, poor optics

I like the fact that President Obama has drawn a line in the sand and signaled that no more funds will be given to U.S. automakers without their presenting a viable long-term plan for restructuring. Ultimately, the automakers cannot survive merely as a result of government largesse, but through the discipline of a competitive auto market.

In my view, the American automakers are viable companies which can produce cars that sell well. It is their poor operating cost structure and disastrous balance sheets which make them bankrupt organizations. This should mean they are prefect candidates for restructuring.

Nevertheless, other aspects of Obama’s treatment of the automakers are troubling. The dichotomy between how the big three automakers are being treated and how the big banks are being treated plus the sacking of a CEO at a critical juncture leave a lot of questions.

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Hungary cut to a notch above junk by S&P

Standard and Poors had their hands full today cutting credit ratings.  They cut Ireland. But, they also cut Hungary, putting the country just above a junk credit rating.  I don’t think these will be the last sovereign debt ratings downgrades, especially in emerging markets — economies worldwide are deteriorating. The Brown Brothers Harriman currency group has released a view that […]

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Obama remarks on auto industry

In 2 hours I will be on BBC World News Today talking about the recent government actions involving the auto industry. Afterwards, I will have more to say about this here. In the meantime, here is what Barack Obama had to say.

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Nationwide: Press release on Dunfermline acquisition

Dunfermline, the largest uilding society in Scotland was forced into the hands of the Nationwide.  This happened only after the U.K. government was forced to pony up 1.6 billion pounds – not the best of news for Gordon Brown before a major world summit. As the Times Online says: The state-backed rescue brings to six the number of UK deposit […]

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