The Global Financial Crisis and Its Repercussions

The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 is an ongoing major financial crisis. It became prominently visible in September 2008 with the failure, merger, or conservatorship of several large United States-based financial firms. The causes leading to the crisis had been reported in business journals for many months before September, with commentary about the financial stability of leading U.S. and European investment banks, insurance firms and mortgage banks consequent to the subprime mortgage crisis.

Beginning with failures of large financial institutions in the United States, it rapidly evolved into a global credit crisis, deflation and sharp reductions in shipping resulting in a number of European bank failures and declines in various stock indexes, and large reductions in the market value of equities (stock) and commodities worldwide.

The credit crisis was exacerbated by Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which allowed the Federal Reserve System to pay interest on excess reserve requirement balances held on deposit from banks, removing the longstanding incentive for banks to extend credit instead of hoard cash on deposit with the Fed. The crisis led to a liquidity problem and the de-leveraging of financial institutions especially in the United States and Europe, which further accelerated the liquidity crisis, and a decrease in international shipping and commerce. World political leaders and national ministers of finance and central bank directors have coordinated their efforts to reduce fears but the crisis is ongoing and continues to change, evolving at the close of January into a currency crisis with investors transferring vast capital resources into stronger currencies such as the yen, the dollar and the Swiss franc, leading many emergent economies to seek aid from the International Monetary Fund. The crisis was triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis and is an acute phase of the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Russia‘s economy hit

The Russian financial crisis of 2008-2009, part of the world Economic Crisis of 2008, is an ongoing crisis in the Russian financial markets which stemmed from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis and has been compounded by political fears after the War with Georgia, and by the plummeting price of Urals heavy crude oil, which has lost more than 70% of its value since its record peak of $147 on 4th July 2008. While according to the World Bank, Russia’s strong short-term macroeconomic fundamentals make it better prepared than many emerging economies to deal with the crisis, its underlying structural weaknesses and high dependence on the price of a single commodity make its impact more pronounced than would otherwise be the case. Swift fiscal management and substantial financial reserves may have protected Russia from deeper consequences of this shock.

Reasons Why Gold Will Rise In 2009

Secretary of the Treasury Paulson talked of the current crisis being potentially worse than the Great Depression. Alan Greenspan told Congress that the financial meltdown had left him in a “state of shocked disbelief.” Reputable economists are saying “this looks an awful lot like the beginning of the second Great Depression.”

U.S. consumer confidence has fallen more sharply than in any period since records began in 1978. Since September 9, we have seen the nationalization of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG; the socialization of the auto industry; the disappearance of the investment banking industry; a $700 billion Bailout with another stimulus plan approved recently; the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers; the “breaking-of-the-buck” of the supposedly rock-solid money market funds; the largest bank failure in history; the implosion of global stock markets; the collapse of home values, retail sales and consumer sentiment; the biggest fall in industrial production in 34 years; and an unprecedented shattering of confidence in both commodities and financial assets. It is increasingly apparent that fear predominates. Individual investors are abandoning anything with the slightest hint of risk. Last year was the worst year for global equity markets since the Great Depression, with the Dow suffering its worst annual decline since 1931. Investors are pulling huge amounts of money from hedge funds, stock mutual funds and bond mutual funds in one of the biggest flights to safety the financial industry has ever seen. Defensive Asset Class have assets that have similar risk/return characteristics, are positively correlated with each other and are traditional inflation hedges that are negatively correlated with stocks – they do well when stocks do poorly. Historically, the principal Defensive Asset has been gold. Of the major assets, only Treasuries and gold have escaped the selling panic that has gripped the markets. Gold rose 5.4% over 2008, ending the year above $850 a troy ounce. Gold bullion reached $1,030.80 in mid-March and Mints around the world ran out of popular gold coins and small gold bars after the collapse of Lehman Bros. in September. The U.S. rate cut to virtually zero lowers the opportunity cost of buying gold and gold ETF holdings have exploded from 7 million ounces to over 30 million ounces in less than four years Gold is different from other precious metals such as platinum, palladium and silver because the demand for these precious metals arises principally from their industrial applications.

Gold’s value rise arises from its use and worldwide acceptance as a store of value and a safe haven. Other precious metals have also been classified as Defensive Assets, but have not performed as well as gold during this crisis. For example, investment accounts for about 90% of the demand for gold, while investment makes up only one-third of the total demand for platinum. Therefore, although gold has done well, platinum’s demand from industrial uses has fallen rapidly, particularly because of the high concentration of uses of platinum in new automobiles – an endangered species in an economy in which automakers are begging for funds from Washington just to keep them afloat. Gold’s price has been bolstered by the view that it is a safe haven in times of economic or political uncertainty, while platinum’s industrial demand has fallen precipitously. Platinum reached its all-time high of $2,267.00 per ounce in March, but fell like a rock from there, as did silver. Platinum fell nearly 60% from its March peak, while silver fell 47%. The last time that gold traded for more than platinum was January 21, 1994, when gold closed at $381.70 and platinum at $380.90.

6 Aspects of Understanding the Foreclosure Inventory and 2008 Financial Crisis

The US suffered an untold financial crisis in the year 2008. This led to the worst economic recession the nation has witnessed since the World War II experience. The crisis virtually affected all aspects of the US economy. The real estate business suffered a setback. The foreclosure inventory trend also declined. A clear understanding of the foreclosure inventory and the 2008 financial crisis is very vital. There are 6 vital aspects to consider. Let’s examine them now.

1. The trend of Foreclosure Inventory in 2008

The trend of the foreclosure inventory has been going down ever since the 2008 September financial crisis. There have been over 3.5 million completed foreclosures since the days of the crisis. Lots of decreases have been noted in the quarterly and yearly reports on foreclosure inventory. The number of loans in foreclosure inventory, decreased by 6% as at March, 2012. Of all the homes with mortgages, an approximate number of 1.4 million homes were seen in the March 2012 national foreclosure inventory as against the 1.5 million homes involved in the previous year.

2. The 2008 Melt Down

To understand the reason for the declining state of the foreclosure inventory, a look at the 2008 financial crisis is very important. Actually, the crisis began in September of the same year. It led to a major recession in the US economy and also caused economic meltdown in many other nations. In the same September 2008, the Lehman Brothers which is one of the World’s largest investment banks failed. The US stock market also went down drastically. Several big companies in the US downsized the number of their employees. The entire US economy came under great attack by the recession. This affected several areas of the economy including real estate and foreclosure deals.

3. Causes of the 2008 Financial Crisis

Several factors led to the 2008 financial crisis in the US. Market instability is seen as the one of the major factors. There were severe changes in the creations of new credit lines. This caused retardation on the economic growth and also dried up the money flow. Cheap credit access is also another factor that led to the crisis. People found it very easy to access credit loans for buying houses and making investments. The cheap credit system made more money available and hence caused people to spend money as they want. This later caused economic crisis in the financial sector.

The 2008 crisis went from bad to worse when greed set in. Many people in government got rich quick while the poor masses suffered in the process.

4. The Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on Foreclosure Inventory

The 2008 financial crisis left negative impact on the entire US economic. Virtually every aspect of the economy suffered the heat. In the real estate sector, lots of setbacks became apparent. The housing market declined. Access to mortgages skyrocketed. Many people who borrowed money from lenders couldn’t repay back the full payment. This led to foreclosure cases. In any case, the foreclosure inventory kept decreasing as seen in many states.

5. Foreclosure Inventory in Various States

Since the days of the 2008 financial crisis, the inventory has continued to decrease. The highest percentage of foreclosed assets was still very low in various states as at March 2012. Some states had higher percentages rates. Florida had 12.1%, New Jersey had 6.6%, Illinois had 5.4%, and New York had 4.9 % while Nevada also had 4.9%. The trend continues in many other states. Some states had the lowest percentage of foreclosed homes. Among them include Alaska with 0.8%, Wyoming with 0.7 % and South Dakota with 1.4% and Nebraska with 1.1 %

6. The Way Forward

the final point to consider in this excursus on understanding financial inventory and the 2008 financial crisis is the actual way to make things right. It’s very clear that the foreclosure inventory is coming down. To help the system, loan modifications should be introduced. The use of deeds-in-lieu and short sales should also be encouraged as best alternatives to foreclosures. This will help in ameliorating the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on foreclosure deals.

2007-2009 Financial Crisis Cost Tax Payers $30 Trillion

2008 has come and gone and feels like a distant memory. The economy is back on its feet and the banks which were basically devastated because of the crisis or responsible for creating the crisis are in the best of health.

So it begs the question: “How Bad Was It? Well, I just finished reading a research paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; entitled: How Bad Was it? The Costs and Consequences of the 2007 to 2009 Financial Crisis.” And in the report, the researchers estimate that the recent financial crisis cost our nation $6 to $14 trillion in losses using standard estimates but using other reasonable assumptions, the loss may be closer to $30 trillion if you add in other long term costs directly related to the financial crisis. So what is this loss relative to the size of the U.S. economy? As of the latest figures the size of our economy is over 16 Trillion dollars. So the loss was huge. More on this later.

Breaking down the $6 to $14 trillion loss estimate is based on a differential – between what the economy is and what it could have been without the financial crisis – so, of course, this estimate is based on a lot of assumptions – but even so, it’s the first analysis I have seen on the cost of the financial crisis. And it’s important because it tells us how expensive… government policy decisions can be… for American taxpayers… because if you divide that cost across all tax-paying American households, it translates to $50,000 to $120,000 per US household at the basic level. And that’s just a conservative estimate.

The study also points to a dramatic drop in total wealth due to lower wages as a result of the jobs disruption caused by the crisis – with US household net worth down $16 trillion from mid 2007 through the beginning of ’09 – because roughly one-fourth of all household wealth evaporated in a matter of month. How did it evaporate? Through lower portfolio values, lower home prices, lower money in the bank which shook household confidence severely. And on this point – the point of total wealth and net worth – seniors were hit particularly hard – not only from the drop in the value of their stock and bond portfolios, but through the lower interest rates which were necessary to keep the economy afloat. I don’t have to tell you how this low interest rate policy represented a significant loss of income.

In addition to the financial impact, there are also the psychological costs of joblessness beyond lost income. During this recession, more than 8.7 million workers lost their jobs and faced extended bouts of unemployment. By June 2009, 12 million working Americans were either unemployed or underemployed – with low paying or part time jobs that were below their skill level – and many became so discouraged that they just stopped looking for work altogether. This creates psychological burdens that go far beyond lost income – burdens-such as the cost of being forced out their homes for not making mortgage payments, having to forcibly split family units to make ends meet, and so on.

Data also shows that the average number of households formed – through marriage or partnership – dropped to a third from 1.5 million per year to merely half-a-million – mostly because many working-age children who would normally go out and stay independent, opted instead to staying with their parents to weather the downturn.

Also consider that this lack of employment has meant more unemployment payouts by the government – the government uses borrowed money which increases government debt just at a time when less tax money is coming in. This causes government debt and budget deficit levels to expand as the Government scrambles to get money to people who don’t have jobs.

So while the government did step-in with unprecedented fiscal and monetary action to prevent a full-blown depression, such intervention had significant costs such as a swollen federal debt, an expanded Federal Reserve balance sheet and increased regulation for years to come, which attempts to put in place new banking controls so a similar crisis would not happen again.

So when you add it all up in dollar terms, the loss will likely be closer to $15 to $30 trillion from wealth reduction, with up to $14 trillion more for national trauma and lost opportunity and $12 – $13 trillion in extraordinary government support. And that’s without counting the repercussions of this crisis abroad.

The Dallas Fed report also cites damaged public trust in government-supported institutions and the capitalist economic system – where too big to fail financial companies that precipitated the crisis were given massive dole-outs and preferential protection – and walked away largely unscathed by the crisis they were largely responsible for creating/// while losses, unemployment and significant lifestyle disruptions were disproportionately borne by taxpayers.

So, coming back to the question of how much the crisis cost in easier to understand terms, The Dallas Fed puts the loss at 40 to 90 percent of the entire 2007 output of the United States.

Putting it another way, we lost about 1 whole year of economic output. One whole year.

This is basically why the economy has taken so long to recover back to its former levels, and no one knows exactly how long it would take to totally heal from such a devastating blow.

So when collective circumstances and actions – such as bad loans by banks, rating agencies failing to do their jobs, lax regulatory policies, reckless lending, low interest and easy credit – when these collectively cause havoc, they impact the economy over the long run and we all pay a very significant price – individually and collectively as a nation. So my hope is that my listeners – American taxpayers – understand that policy decisions and private actions tremendously impact our lives and it pays to be sure that your own financial house is in order. You may be able to count on the economy for a while, buts it’s entirely up to you to understand what is in your control and what is not. And to make the right money decisions to protect you from events that are not IN your control.

This means creating a savings pool, investing wisely, spending reasonably and thinking and preparing for the future. If you had done this well, the distressing circumstances which almost brought America to its knees, may not have had as devastating effect on you as it did on so many others. And this, my friends, is what it means to live your one best financial life.