Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday roundup (02-28-11)

House speaker urges spending cuts before nation goes broke: John Boehner addresses religious broadcasters meeting in Nashville. (The Tennessean) Speaker Boehner: National Debt Level Is Immoral (National Public Radio blogs) Remarks by House Speaker John Boehner to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, as provided by his office (The Los Angeles Times blogs)

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says (The Washington Post)

Fed's Rosengren: Watch Sovereign Debt, US State And Local Fiscal Situations (The Wall Street Journal) Sovereign debt, states may spark crisis: Rosengren (Marketwatch) Boston Fed's Rosengren Says Bank Stress Tests Are Needed to Mitigate Risks (Bloomberg) The Role of 'Financial Myths' in Financial Crises [speech in text, audio, and video] (The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

China Owns a Lot More U.S. Debt Than Previously Thought (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Economists list U.S. budget deficit as No. 1 worry (Reuters)

Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Decline by 2.8%, More Than Forecast (Bloomberg)

High Oil Prices Complicate Housing Recovery (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Jim Rogers: "Saudi Arabia Is Lying About Being Able To Increase Its Oil Production" (ZeroHedge blog)

Minn. Budget Deficit Not as Bad as Officials Thought [-- it's only $5 billion] (KAAL) Revised $5 billion deficit forecast still spells crisis, commissioner says (Minneapolis Star-Tribune blog)

"The Financial Industry Has Become So Politically Powerful That It Is Able To Inhibit the Normal Process of Justice And Law Enforcement" (Washington's Blog) Inside Job - Oscar winner acceptance speech (Youtube)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday roundup (02-27-11)

Boehner: Congress has 'moral responsibility' to tackle debt, cut spending (The Washington Post blogs) Congress inches back from budget shutdown abyss (Reuters)

Fiscal Follies: Can We Defuse the Debt Bomb Without Blowing Up the Economy? (The Huffington Post blog)

Governors Reject State Bankruptcy Option (ABCNews blogs) Municipal bonds: A balancing act (The Financial Times)

More on the Deflationary Effects of Higher Oil Prices ... (Pragmatic Capitalism)

FDIC Bank Closings (The Big Picture blog)

A Higher Percentage of Americans Believed in King George During the Revolutionary War than Believe in Congress Today (Washington's Blog) (Youtube)

Great Recession has caused profound changes by Colin Read, professor of economics and finance and former dean of the School of Business and Economics at SUNY Plattsburgh (The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh [NY])

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday roundup (02-26-11)

Still-fragile world economy braced for effects of another oil shock: Indebted households have already tightened belts. Higher petrol costs are likely to depress demand and prices – just what the recovery doesn't need (The Observer) U.S. economic recovery threatened by events in Midwest, Middle East (The Washington Post) Number of the Week: Gasoline Prices Bite (The Wall Street Journal blogs) 10 Ways Rising Oil Prices Will Endanger the U.S. Recovery (The Atlantic)

Leading Indicators of Revolt in the Middle East and Northern Africa: Corruption, Unemployment and Percentage of Household Money Spent on Food (The Big Picture blog) Celente: “When the money stops flowing down to the man in the street, the blood starts flowing in the streets.” (SHTFPlan)

U.S. Governors Say Federal Shutdown Would Be Setback to Nation's Recovery (Bloomberg) Obama Says [Potential] Government Shutdown Imperils Economy (The Associated Press) States fear [federal] budget cuts, [US government] shutdown threats (Reuters) Govs to feds: Avoid causing states any more pain (The Associated Press) Governors Blast State Bankruptcy Option (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Mets' $25 million bailout: Loan from MLB (The New York Post)

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 960 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

Italy central bank paints bleak picture of economy (Agence France Presse)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday roundup (02-25-11)

Quote of the Day:

"My own view is that global recovery is more fragile than it looks. The West is still on government life-support, and the great debt unwind purge has not yet run its course. It faces a globalized 'Japan syndrome', with deflationary pungi pits waiting to catch us." -- Journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (The Telegraph)

Recovery trudges along, but risks rise as oil prices surge (The Los Angeles Times) The world is badly placed to cope with another oil crisis (The Economist) Watch March 11 2011 [for Saudi Arabia protests] (Cliff Küle's Notes blog)

Why Spiking Oil is Deflationary (Seeking Alpha blog)

Yes, Robert Prechter Is Still Worried About Deflation (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

4th Quarter U.S. GDP Growth Revised Down to 2.8% (The Atlantic)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker threatens to lay off thousands of public workers (The Washington Post)

3 Banks [Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup] Warn of Big Penalties in Mortgage Inquiries (The New York Times blogs)

Regulators Close Small Ill. Bank; Makes 23 in 2011 (The Associated Press) Valley Community Bank of St. Charles IL had a troubled assets ratio of 363.6%. (BankTracker)

Politicians Slash Budget of Watchdog Agencies ... Guaranteeing that Financial Fraud Won't Be Investigated or Prosecuted (Washington's Blog)

Shutdown: Washington gets ready [for March 5 deadline] (CNN) A Government Shutdown Might Not Shut Down Government (CNBC) How Much Gets Shuttered In A Shutdown? (National Public Radio) [However ...] G.O.P. Stopgap May Avert Federal Shutdown [at least until March 18] (The New York Times)

UK GDP figure revised down further: The UK economy shrank by more than previously thought during the last three months of 2010, revised figures show. (The BBC)

[UK's] Auto Windscreens to cut more than 1,000 staff jobs (The BBC)

Bank of India becomes first to offer trade settlement in yuan -- "Indian buyers are at present making payments in US dollars (The Times of India)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday roundup (02-24-11)

Gaddafi's Private Plane, Reportedly Loaded With Gold, Ready To Leave For Zimbabwe As Early As Tomorrow (ZeroHedge blog) Gadhafi controls $32 billion, turned down Madoff, diplomat wrote (MSNBC)

Saudi ruler offers $36bn to stave off uprising amid warning oil price could double: The king of Saudi Arabia last night announced $36bn (£22bn) of extra benefits for his people in an attempt to stop the wave of Arab uprisings spreading to the world’s biggest oil exporter, as experts warned Brent crude could hit $220 a barrel. (The Telegraph)

Emergency borrowing from ECB remains high (Reuters)

Japan Core CPI Declines 0.2% As Deflation Continues (The Wall Street Journal)

Rising Oil Prices Pose New Threat to U.S. Economy (The New York Times)

Congressional Budget Chief Warns of Burgeoning U.S Debt -- "We will be entering territory that is unfamiliar to developed country as we understand it" (FoxNews blogs)

New-home sales in January drop 12.6 pct -- "a dismal sign after the worst year for that sector in nearly a half-century" (The Associated Press) (Bloomberg)

Foreclosure sales 26 percent of 2010 total (United Press International)

David Rosenberg: Forget Oil And Inflation, The Real Story Is In The Bond Market -- "what we are witnessing is a global exogenous deflationary shock" (The Business Insider)

Chris Whalen On The Simple Reason Banks Are Showing Stress Levels Above 2009 And 2010 (The Business Insider)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-24-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"There were 391,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Feb. 19, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down 22,000 from the week before, and better than the 410,000 claims economists surveyed by had expected." (CNN)

... Lowest Level Since July 2008 -- "Still, as The Associated Press writes, jobless claims 'need to dip consistently to 375,000 or below to indicate a significant decline in the unemployment rate.'" (National Public Radio)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday roundup (02-23-11)

Oil briefly hits $100 - highest since 2008 (CNN) Oil price shock: Pandora's Box is opened: The last time the oil price lost all sense of gravity, as it threatens to again with the price of Brent crude now well north of $100 a barrel, it helped tip the world economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s. (The Telegraph) IEA Chief: $100 Oil 'Very, Very Bad' for Economy (CNBC) Oil Causing a Deflationary Spiral? (Cliff Küle's Notes blog) "A long period of high oil prices would sink the world’s economies and plunge the fragile global economy back into recession, said Nobuo Tanaka, chief of the International Energy Agency, a policy adviser to Western countries. 'If $100 continues through 2011 – we call it the oil burden – this will create the same level of crisis as in 2008,' Mr. Tanaka told Reuters in an interview." (The Globe and Mail of Toronto) Rising Oil Prices Raise the Specter of a Double Dip (The Wall Street Journal)

Libya oil production grinding to a halt (CNN)

Gaddafi orders oil sabotage, source tells Time columnist (Reuters)

Oil could hit $220 a barrel on Libya and Algeria fears, warns Nomura: Libya's descent into civil war has led to drastic cuts in oil shipments and prompted warnings that an escalation of the crisis could see Brent crude prices double to $220 a barrel. (The Telegraph)

Saudi Opens Its Wallet To Stave Off Protests (The Associated Press)

If The Mountain Will Not Come To The Muhammad, The Revolution Will Come To Saudi Arabia On March 20 (ZeroHedge blog) Middle East unrest: Saudi and Bahraini kings offer concessions: Attempts to ease tensions are made in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan, while Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hits out at Libya's 'grotesque' use of force (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia Uprising Could Mean $140-Plus Oil (CNBC) Prepare now for a Saudi oil price shock by Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations (The Financial Times)

Portugal's Debt D-Day Nears (The Wall Street Journal) Can Portugal Escape a Bailout? (CNBC)

Troubled [US] banks rise to highest level in 18 years: Problem banks made up 12 percent of all federally insured US banks at the end of last year (The Associated Press)

Fed’s Hoenig: Easy Money And Too-Big-To-Fail Must End (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Michigan approves plan to close half of Detroit schools (CNN)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday roundup (02-22-11)

Quote of the Day:

"While there is little danger of any country cutting off the oil supplies that generate vital revenues, there is a risk that the [current Middle East] turmoil will slow desperately needed exploration and investment. ... The mid-decade crunch is looking ever more certain." (The Telegraph)

OPEC Oil Exports Fall 2% as Saudi Shipments Decline (Bloomberg) You're Dreaming If You Think OPEC Can Boost Oil Production At Will (The Business Insider)

Ireland needs help with its debt (The Financial Times)

EU may consider extending Greece's three-year bailout term, says Merkel -- "'I see a general opinion now that Greece will not be able to service its debt,' said Prof Hans-Werner Sinn, head of Germany’s IFO research institute ..." (The Irish Times)

Japan Debt Warning Compounds Kan's Troubles (The Wall Street Journal)

Home prices fall to lowest level since housing bust in most major US cities (The Associated Press) (The New York Times) (CNN) If You Live In One Of These 11 Cities [Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Tampa], Your Home Just Hit A New Low (The Business Insider)

Home prices edge toward double dip: The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Index shows a 2.4% decrease in December from the same month in 2009 and 1% from November, the fifth straight month of declines. (The Los Angeles Times) Home Prices Continue Swoon as Double-Dip Fear Persists (Reuters) Case Shiller Confirms Housing Double Dip -- GRAPH @ (CFEconomics blog)

Survey: Sales of Distressed Homes increased in January (Calculated Risk blog)

Why the budget deficit is so hard for Congress to shrink: Congress has less and less leeway for closing the budget deficit as outlays for entitlement programs grow. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Wal-Mart says needs more time to fix U.S. missteps (Reuters)

Barnes & Noble suspends dividend after Borders bankruptcy (Reuters)

Medtronic to Cut 5% of Workforce [1,500 to 2,000 jobs], Renew Effort to Sell Unit (Bloomberg)

The Great Depression and The New Depression (The Daily Reckoning)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday roundup (02-21-11)

Irish Banks Behind ECB Lending Surge (The Wall Street Journal)

Merkel's CDU Loses Power in Hamburg, Suffers Worst Postwar Defeat in State (Bloomberg) Hard-working Germany in driver's seat handling Europe debt crisis (The Montreal Gazette) Germans are about to discover what it feels like to be mugged by the EMU project (The Telegraph blogs) [Meanwhile...] Papandreou Urges Merkel to Support Debt Buybacks, Flexible Bailout Fund (Bloomberg)

Oil shock fears as Libya erupts: The spectre of full civil war in oil-rich Libya and reports of the creation of an Islamic emirate in country's "Barqa" region has moved the Mid-East crisis into a more dangerous phase, setting off an explosive rise in US crude prices. (The Telegraph) Qaddafi’s Forces Strike With Fury as Unrest Grows (The New York Times)

Libya on the brink: As Secretary of State Clinton condemned the violence in Libya on Monday, anti-government protestors called for another night of defiance in Tripoli amid reports that Libyan security forces are preparing for a major assault. NBC's Ron Allen reports. VIDEO @ (NBC Nightly News)

Protests, Violence Spread in Libya as Gadhafi Clings to Power: Violence spread to Tripoli, Libya's capital, as longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi fought to hold onto power. Simon Israel of Independent Television News reports on the turmoil. Then, Jeffrey Brown talks with Dartmouth College's Dirk Vandewalle and Libyan-American activist Najla Abdurrahman about what's next for Libya. (PBS NewsHour) (Youtube)

Oil Rises to Two-Year High as Libya Unrest Sparks Supply Concern (Bloomberg) $100 Oil (Calculated Risk blog)

Japan Debt Outlook Lowered by Moody's on 'Inexorable' Debt (Bloomberg)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday roundup (02-21-11)

Gov't shutdown threat looms over U.S. budget fight (Reuters) (The Business Insider) (The Telegraph) CLICK TO SEE VIDEO (NBC Nightly News)

Federal, state and local debt hits post-WWII levels (The Washington Post)

Germany must choose EMU fusion or fission: For the sake of peripheral nations, Mrs Merkel has to stop paying lip-service to monetary union. (The Telegraph)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday roundup (02-19-11)

Unofficial Problem Bank list increases to 951 Institutions (Calculated Risk blog)

Ireland behind [Euro]16bn spike in ECB lending (The Financial Times)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday roundup (02-18-11)

Bahrain killings bring Mid-East turmoil to epicentre of world oil supply: Escalating violence in the oil states of the Persian Gulf and North Africa have pushed Brent crude prices to a 30-month high of $104 a barrel, and raised widespread concerns over the stability of global oil supplies for the first time since the Mid-East turmoil began. (The Telegraph) Saudi Prince Says Protests May Move to Kingdom, BBC Arabic Says (Bloomberg)

Public Employees in Fierce Budget Debate: Wisconsin is battleground over public workers and cash-poor states. (ABC News) Republicans Target Unions Across State Capitols (The Associated Press)

Wisconsin Public Workers Union Rights Go Head-to-Head with State Budget Woes: A push to reduce state workers' benefits and eliminate collective bargaining caused a furor this week as protesters descended on Wisconsin's Capitol. Judy Woodruff examines the predicament with Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers. (PBS NewsHour) (Youtube)

A tipping point for labor in America: It may not be overstating the case to say that the future of organized labor as a whole may turn on the willingness of public sector unions to make statesmanlike, farsighted concessions now. (The Los Angeles Times)

Doug Kass: Investors Ignoring Enormity of Brewing [Municipal Bond] Crisis (CNBC)

U.S. closes 4 banks, 22 total so far in 2011 (Reuters)

Citizens Bank of Effingham of Springfield GA had a troubled assets ratio of 375.1%. (BankTracker)

Habersham Bank of Clarkesville GA had a troubled assets ratio of 663.5%. (BankTracker)

San Luis Trust Bank, FSB of San Luis Obispo CA had a troubled assets ratio of 160.1%. (BankTracker)

Charter Oak Bank of Napa CA had a troubled assets ratio of 116.2%. (BankTracker)

Ecolab 4Q profit rises, company announces layoffs [of about 900 workers in Europe] (Bloomberg)

ECB emergency lending jump persists: Traders ponder whether spike is result of bank error or renewed stress (MarketWatch)

ECB Draghi Urges Tighter Fiscal Rules, Monetary Policy (The Wall Street Journal)

ECB seeks to stop Portuguese loan costs from soaring (The Irish Times)

We must not repeat mistakes of the Great Depression, warns Mervyn King (The Daily Mail)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday roundup (02-17-11)

Portugal seen taking bailout by April - euro zone source (Reuters) (The Wall Street Journal) Portugal govt urges Europe to respond to crisis (Reuters)

[In Japan] Kan's Debt Reduction Threatened by Ruling Party Rebellion Plan (Bloomberg)

[US] Banks to be penalized for mishandling foreclosures, a regulator testifies (The Los Angeles Times) (Reuters)

Major Book Imprints Are Owed Millions [in Borders bankruptcy] (The Wall Street Journal)

[New York] City budget calls for axing 6,166 teaching jobs: Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils a $65.6 billion city budget involving cuts to education and social services, even after $2 billion extra tax revenue. (Crain's New York Business)

Inflation Still Low in the U.S., Apparently (The Mess That Greenspan Made blog)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-17-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week by 25,000 to 410,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday." (Marketwatch)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday roundup (02-16-11)

Obama budget plan shows interest owed on national debt quadrupling in next decade (The Washington Post) Obama's budget will add $7 trillion to national debt (McClatchy Newspapers)

Boehner: ‘So Be It’ If Federal Workers Are Laid Off (The Wall Street Journal blogs) "That's nearly 1 million jobs - possibly enough to tip the economy back into recession." (The Washington Post)

National Debt Is New Hot Issue for Evangelicals (Beliefnet blog)

Borders Group files for bankruptcy reorganization: The bookseller, struggling with poor sales and heavy debt, will close about 200 stores — including 35 in California — and lay off about 6,000 workers. (The Los Angeles Times) Borders’ Bankruptcy Shakes Industry (The New York Times)

Housing Starts Way Up, But Permits Way Down in January (The Atlantic) Homebuilders have grim view of housing market (The Associated Press) U.S. Mortgage Demand Falls to Two-Year Low as Refinancing Drops (Bloomberg)

U.S. close to punishing banks over foreclosures: Bank regulators found mortgage servicers broke laws (Reuters) Casablanca gambling? I'm shocked! (Youtube)

Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?: Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them by Matt Taibi (Rolling Stone)

Climbing out of debt, Americans are saving more (The Washington Post)

Portugal could face double-dip, bailout (The Associated Press)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday roundup (02-15-11)

Deficit is biggest as share of economy since 1945: economists fear a domino effect later (The Associated Press)

The Average Joe Says Still Says No ... [to the idea that we're in a recovery] (Financial Armageddon blog)

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind (Benzinga)

Climbing out of debt, Americans are saving more (The Washington Post)

California governor Brown freezes state hiring (Reuters) LA schools warns 7,300 workers of possible layoff (The Associated Press)

World Bank: Food prices at "dangerous levels" [after rising 29 percent in a year] (The Associated Press) Sysco declares force majeure, raises grocery prices (The Business Insider)

What Big Oil Discusses Behind Doors ["energy supplies will be so tight that they will tip the world into a full-blown crisis"] (Cliff Küle's Notes blog) Peak Oil Is Real But The "Paper Barrels" Of Arab Countries Are Not (The Business Insider)

Growth in Europe Less Than Expected (The New York Times) Two-speed Europe emerges from recession (The Independent)

Recession still gripping Greek economy (Agence France Presse) (The Associated Press)

Greece Must Speed Deficit Cutting Efforts, Central Bank Says (Bloomberg)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday roundup (02-14-11)

Obama tests bond markets with mega-deficits: US President Barack Obama faces a stiff battle with Republican foes in Congress after unveiling plans for $7.2 trillion (£4.5 trillion) of deficit spending over the next decade, and making little attempt to control the spiralling costs of social security and medical entitlements. (The Telegraph) Notably Absent from Obama's Budget: Deficit Commission Recommendations (FoxNews blogs) Obama Proposing Record Budget Deficits; Is America Doomed to Follow Greece? (The Huffington Post blog)

Top watchdog for the $700-billion bailout fund resigns (The Los Angeles Times) (Bloomberg)

Reuters: Some States Worse Than European Sovereigns (Benzinga)

GRAPES OF WRATH – 2011 (The Burning Platform blog)

European Officials Want to Expand [= double] Bailout Fund (The New York Times)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday roundup (02-13-11)

Japan Economy Shrinks, First Contraction in 5 Quarters (Reuters) Japan: Economy slips to third in world (CNN)

Obama to set out painful budget plans for austerity in America (The Independent) Geithner Quietly Tells Obama Debt Expense to Increase to Record (Bloomberg) Obama budget to cut deficit by $1.1 trillion (Reuters) Could the growing U.S. debt create a financial crisis? (The Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Housing Crash Is Hitting Cities Thought to Be Stable (The New York Times)

FDIC Bank Closings (The Big Picture blog)

Do I Hear $150? Oil Prices Could Go Up "Very, Very Fast," Says Stephen Leeb (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Maxwell: Oil to $300 by 2020 (Infectious Greed blog) (Barron's)

Prophets of Doom [The History Channel] (Youtube)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday roundup (02-12-11)

Gas pump prices highest ever for this time of year (The Associated Press)

Imagining Life Without Fannie and Freddie (The New York Times) Number of the Week: Government’s Overwhelming Role in Mortgages (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Banks slashed small business lending by $43 billion (CNN)

Unofficial Problem Bank list at 944 Institutions -- ["two fewer institutions"] (Calculated Risk blog)

Ex-Merrill CEO John Thain regrets not demanding a U.S. bailout of Lehman Bros. (The Los Angeles Times blogs)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday roiundup (02-11-11)

Now that Mubarak is gone, will attention in Egypt turn to the economy? (The Los Angeles Times blogs)

Geithner Says Europe Needs Stronger Financial Crisis Strategy (Bloomberg)

Gauging the Chances of Euro Zone Defaults (The New York Times blogs)

Portugal Stays in EU Debt Spotlight (The Wall Street Journal) Portugal Funding Fears Return As EMU Periphery Debt Supply Mounts (The Wall Street Journal)

European Officials Urge Fourth Round of Financing for Greece (The New York Times) IMF, EU debt inspectors tell Greece to privatize $67 billion in state assets (The Canadian Press)

Italy Finance Minister: Europe Has A Banking Crisis - Not Debt (The Wall Street Journal) Italy's Tremonti: Triple-A Nations Need To Take Blame For Banks (The Wall Street Journal)

Birmingham [UK] council to cut 7,000 jobs: Social care, leisure centres and children's services to suffer as Birmingham council strives to make £300m in savings (The Guardian)

Obama wants big changes in mortgages (CNN) Fannie, Freddie bailout: $153 billion ... and counting (CNN)

Hatch tells CPAC that bailout vote averted depression (The Washington Post blogs)

Soros Joins Paulson Saying Fed Did Too Little to Prevent Financial Crisis (Bloomberg)

U.S. closes four small banks: 18 banks closed so far in 2011 (Reuters)

Peoples State Bank of Hamtramck MI had a troubled assets ratio of 226.6%. (BankTracker)

Canyon National Bank of Palm Springs CA had a troubled assets ratio of 336.6%. (BankTracker)

Badger State Bank of Cassville WI had a troubled assets ratio of 123.2%. (BankTracker)

Sunshine State Community Bank of Port Orange FL had a troubled assets ratio of 319.2%. (BankTracker)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday roundup (02-10-11)

European debt crisis threatens Portugal: Portugal becomes latest eurozone member to be threatened by speculative attacks in the bond markets as borrowing costs soar (The Guardian) Portuguese bond yields hit record on debt worries (Reuters) Portugal defiant as borrowing costs rise: Portugal has denied it will struggle to raise capital from international investors after yields on Portuguese government debt hit record highs. (The BBC)

Spain orders drastic caja clean-up to win confidence and fight off EMU debt contagion: Spain has imposed draconian rules on its saving banks and is preparing for part-nationalisation of the industry to restore confidence and boost the country’s defences against contagion from the debt crisis in Portugal. (The Telegraph) Spain's cajas may struggle to find investors - poll (Reuters)

Italian Banks Face Tough Funding Terms - Central Bank (The Wall Street Journal)

US Jan budget gap widens to near $50 bln - Treasury (Reuters) "marking the 28th straight month of red ink" (Marketwatch)

Whitney Muni Bond Forecast 'An Important Call': Chanos (CNBC)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-10-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

First-time unemployment claims lowest since July 2008: Applications fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 383,000, reinforcing confidence that the labor market is on track to recovery. (The Los Angeles Times)

"'These data have been sort of distorted by weather and various statistical clouds over the last 8 weeks, but it looks like new jobless claims are trending lower,' said Zach Pandl, an economist with Nomura." (CNN)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday roundup (02-09-11)

Quote of the Day:

"In layman terms, what the Guardian is reporting is that when the price of oil becomes too expensive, the Saudis have produced more, adding more supply to keep prices steady. If Saudi Arabia has in fact reached 'peak oil,' which this report argues it has, it means the Saudis couldn't tap more oil and the prices of crude would jump permanently." (National Public Radio blogs)

Saudi Arabia's Oil Reserves May Be Overstated By 40% Fox News via (Youtube)

Saudi oil reserves 'overstated' (AlJazeeraEnglish)

[US] Postal Service warns of default as losses mount (CNN)

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac phase-out plan due from Obama (CNN) (The Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Crop Surplus Shrinking as World Output Drops, Demand Rises (Bloomberg) US corn stocks ratio nears low set in Depression (Reuters)

Military headquarters in Va. losing 2,300 jobs (The Associated Press)

M&T cutting 721 jobs at Wilmington Trust (The Buffalo News)

Activision pulls plug on Guitar Hero, laying off 500 workers (The Los Angeles Times blogs)

Soaring debt pushes Portugal towards bail-out (The Financial Times)

Debt [in Japan] unsustainable, act now: IMF: Deputy chief calls debt unsustainable, urges banks to secure capital for future challenges (The Japan Times)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday roundup (02-08-11)

Quote of the Day:

"The entire global banking system is technically bankrupt. There is $40 trillion in U.S. denominated debt that cannot possibly be paid back. European banks are in no better shape. That is what the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is all about. Look at Japan. It has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 200%. Yet, Japan’s demographics could not be worse. The Japanese people were savers, but the government squandered it all and 100% more in foolish efforts to defeat deflation. The U.S. is making the same mistake." -- Mish Shedlock, SitkaPacific Capital Management (Cliff Küle's Notes blog)

Did WikiLeaks Confirm "Peak Oil"?: Saudi Said To Have Overstated Crude Oil Reserves By 300 Billion Barrels (40%) (ZeroHedge blog) WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices: US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world's biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40% (The Guardian) Saudi oil company oversold ability to increase production, embassy told [2007-12-10] (The Guardian) US concern over Saudi Arabia oil production [2008-05-07] (The Guardian) US queries Saudi Arabia's influence over oil prices [2008-06-03] (The Guardian) Saudi Arabia tackles western shift towards energy independence [2009-11-23] (The Guardian) "As we said in our Al Jazeera English film 3 years ago, Saudi Arabia has been lying BIG TIME about their reserves. A 40% drop would correspond to what we’ve seen in the other two ‘super fields’ in Kuwait and Mexico. The era of cheap oil if finished. We hit Peak Oil (and Peak Credit) in 2007." (

Moody’s Says Debt Restructuring Risk Has Risen on Euro Periphery (Bloomberg) Eurozone debt crisis: The calm before the storm (Agence France Presse)

Irish banks paying 3 pct on emergency cash - report (Reuters)

Citigroup Explains How Berlusconi's Sexual Foibles Could Trigger Another Sovereign Debt Crisis (The Business Insider)

Japan's debt, fiscal deficit not sustainable: IMF (Agence France Presse) IMF Warns on Japan Banks (The Wall Street Journal) IMF warns on Europe debt spillover [to Japan] (Reuters)

Financial Crisis Coming If U.S. Doesn't Deal With Long-Term Debt, Says Pete Peterson (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Federal Reserve proposes rules for designating 'systemically important' companies that would face tougher supervision (The Los Angeles Times blogs) Fed Casts A Wide Net In Defining Systemic Risk (The New York Times)

Banks face $60 billion mortgage hit: S&P (Forbes)

Governors from both parties plan painful cuts amid budget crises across the U.S. (The Washington Post)

[US] Job openings fall for second straight month -- "the latest evidence that businesses are not ready to step up hiring" (The Associated Press) Why Aren’t Employers Hiring? (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday roundup (02-07-11)

[US] Budget Deficit Totaled $53 Billion in January (The Wall Street Journal)

Credit-Card Debt Up for First Time Since 2008 (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

[Florida Gov. Rick] Scott proposes largest spending cut in state's history ( Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut 8,700 state jobs - Miami Labor Relations (Examiner)

State's 2-year budget deficit grows to $3.6 billion: Projection paves way for [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker's announcement on how to start addressing it (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Michigan Prepares For A Tsunami Of Muni Financial Crises (The Business Insider)

Continental to Cut 500 Jobs in Merger With United (Bloomberg)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday roundup (02-06-11)

Plenty of Other Evidence [on Depths of Unemployment in the US] (Financial Armageddon blog)

Japan Lends to Help Ireland [... has it come to that?] (The Wall Street Journal)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday roundup (02-05-11)

PIMCO says Europe should relieve Greece of debt (Reuters)

Unofficial Problem Bank list at 946 Institutions -- "There were five removals and two additions ..." (Calculated Risk blog)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday roundup (02-04-11)

Jobs Report Offers a Mixed Bag, but Little Comfort (The New York Times) What Clues Does 'Strange' Unemployment Report Hold?: January unemployment numbers sent mixed signals for economic recovery. The jobless rate dipped to 9 percent, but a survey of businesses found only a net gain of 36,000 jobs last month. Jeffrey Brown assesses those numbers with New York Times economic reporter David Leonhardt. (PBS NewsHour) (Youtube)

Geithner on GOP debt proposal: 'Harmful' and 'unworkable' (The Washington Post blogs) Treasury risking trust in U.S. debt with 'incorrect' warnings, Republican says (The Hill blogs)

BofA creates new unit, names foreclosure czar: Creation of a division to oversee problem home loans indicates that Bank of America, the largest U.S. mortgage servicer, is attempting to be more aggressive in resolving its portfolio of troubled loans. -- "'This is a significant step. If Bank of America has these issues, what kind of problems does everyone else have?' said Matt McCormick, a Cincinnati-based portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel Inc." (The Los Angeles Times)

U.S. closes three banks, 14 failures so far in 2011 (Reuters) American Trust Bank of Roswell GA had a troubled assets ratio of 571.2%. (BankTracker) Community First Bank Chicago of Chicago IL had a troubled assets ratio of 207.8%. (BankTracker) North Georgia Bank of Watkinsville GA had a troubled assets ratio of 752.3%. (BankTracker)

Fed Is Unlikely to Raise Interest Rates for 12 Months, Pimco's Gross Says (Bloomberg)

Japan debt bubble likely to burst in few years: Former executive director at Bank of Japan predicts grim scenario if taxes are not increased (Bloomberg)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday roundup (02-03-11)

Bernanke warns of catastrophe if debt limit not raised (Reuters) Bernanke urges Congress to act on debt (CNN) Will Republicans Heed One of Their Own? (The Big Picture blog)

Bernanke: More jobs needed for real recovery (The Associated Press)

Now A Congressional Committee Wants Meredith Whitney To Testify And "Come Clean" (The Business Insider) (ZeroHedge blog)

Ready for Splash Crash, the Ultimate Market Meltdown? (CNBC)

Fitch downgrades Egypt debt rating (Agence France Presse)

Sweden's TeliaSonera to cut 800 jobs (The Associated Press)

Barts and the London NHS Trust to cut 630 jobs: Workforce to be 10% smaller due to cuts in health budget, including loss of 250 nursing jobs and 100 in-patient beds (The Guardian)

Is it a recovery yet? (Weekly report, 02-03-11)

According to Linda Duessel, a market strategist at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, quoted here, a recovery would be indicated by initial jobless claims below 500,000.

IT'S A RECOVERY! (And it has been a recovery for every week since the Nov. 25, 2009 report, with the exception of the Aug. 19, 2010 report.)

"New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits tumbled last week by 42,000 to 415,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday, although claims are still at levels associated with a frail jobs market." (Marketwatch)


"'(Claims) were around expectations, but really everybody now wants to see this thing below 400,000. For a while it was 450,000 -- we were stuck around 450,000 but now everybody wants to see it below 400,000. Hey, it's an improvement, it's getting better, but not quite as fast as we'd all like it.'" (Reuters)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday roundup (02-02-11)

Does the turmoil in Egypt threaten the global recovery? (Time blogs)

Beware of Lurking North Africa & EU Bank Runs (GoldSeek)

Ireland's Rating Downgraded One Level to A- By S&P and Faces Further Cut (Bloomberg)

Ex-BOJ official Iwata sees prolonged deflation (Reuters)

Interest on [US] national debt: 'Skyrocketing' costs ahead (CNN)

Some 43 Million Use Food Stamps (The Wall Street Journal blogs)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday roundup (02-01-11)

QE3 On Deck! This Confirms The "Good" Economic Reports Are Bogus (The Golden Truth blog)

First GM, now states? Pros and cons of bankruptcy (The Associated Press)

Food Stamp Usage Up 400,000 In November (CF Economics blog)

Why Credit Deflation Is More Likely Than Mass Inflation (Seeking Alpha blog)

[On Municipal Bonds and State Bankruptcies:] Can't Help But Think We've Heard It Before (Financial Armageddon blog)

RealtyTrac's Sharga: Banks still holding 70% of REO from market (HousingWire)

The Coming Collapse of Commercial Real Estate is Already Here, Says Davidowitz (Yahoo! Tech Ticker) (The Business Insider)

Howard Davidowitz Blames the Financial Crisis on the Accountants and Ratings Agencies (Yahoo! Tech Ticker)

Pfizer laying off 1,100 locally as it cuts R&D expenses (The Day of New London CT)

Corinthian Colleges to cut 600 jobs (The Orange County Register)

IMF raises spectre of civil wars as global inequalities worsen: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that "dangerous" imbalances have emerged that threaten to derail global recovery and stoke tensions that may ultimately set off civil wars in deeply unequal countries. (The Telegraph)

Spain, Portugal debt face rising rate pressures (Reuters)

Welcome to 'Peak Oil' (Cliff Küle's Notes blog) (Of Two Minds blog) U.S. unlikely to reach goal of 1 million electrics on the road by 2015, report says (The Washington Post)