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.

Asian Financial Crisis – How to Learn From the Past

The 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis: How Did Asia Fall?

The great 1997 Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) affected most countries in Southeast Asia as well as other Asian countries. During the times of trouble, people in the AFC affected countries feared that the crisis would spark a global economic meltdown.

The starting point of the monetary crisis was the collapse of the Thai baht. In 1997, the Thai government’s decision of floating the Thai baht resulted in a financial collapse of the currency. While Thailand failed to maintain the value of its currency, the country’s economic condition was degrading significantly. The crisis resulted in layoffs in several sectors such as construction, real estate, and finance. Around 600,000 foreign workers and a huge number of local workers lost their jobs following the national crisis. January 1998 was Thailand’s lowest point; the baht reached its lowest rate of 56 to 1 US dollar. Meanwhile, before the crisis, the rate was 25 units to the dollar.

In Indonesia, severe financial crisis hit the country in August 1997. The government did not see this coming because in June 1997, the monetary condition of the country was at its best. The sudden crisis was triggered by numerous protests against the incumbent government. Political instability soon led to an awful financial and national security crisis. Intense devaluation started to develop in November 1997 and reached its peak in early 1998. The country lost 13.5% of its GDP in 1998 and the rate of the Indonesian rupiah plunged to 14,000 to 1 US dollar while before the crisis, 1 dollar only cost roughly 2,600 rupiah.

In South Korea, the crisis was also known as the IMF crisis. While the macroeconomic fundamentals of the national country were stable, many South Korean banks were burdened with non-performing loans in order to fund aggressive expansion of large companies. Huge establishments such as Kia Motors, Hyundai Motors, Samsung Motors, and Daewoo Motors asked for excessive loans and failed to return their debts. In 1998, Kia Motors was taken over by Hyundai Motors, Samsung Motors was liquidated, and Daewoo Motors was sold to the US-based company General Motors. At the same time, the value of the South Korean won continued to decrease. From the normal rate of 800 won to 1 US dollar, the rate decreased to 1,700 won to the dollar.

The People’s Republic of China was one of the few Asian countries that remained unaffected by the severe financial crisis. China’s renminbi (RMB) remained stable with the exchange rate of 8.3 RMB to 1 US dollar. RMB’s non-convertibility policy actually protected the currency from speculators that it helped China become one of the few Asian countries with the strongest financial stability. However, although China did not suffer from currency rate fluctuation or deficit in GDP, the AFC did slow down the growth of China’s GDP. To overcome this issue, the Chinese government soon implemented new policies to overcome the country’s financial weaknesses such as relying mostly on trade with the United States and having too many non-performing loans.

Unlike China, Japan was pressurized by the AFC but did not collapse. This is due to the fact that about 40 percent of their exports were aimed at Asian countries. Due to the crisis, most of these countries had to cut back on their imports and thus this affected Japan’s economic condition. To overcome this problem, the products that were supposed to be exported to Asian countries were sold massively, which caused the rate of the Japanese yen to fall to 147 yen to the dollar. From 1997 to 1998, Japan’s GPD continually dropped from 5% to 1.6%. Even worse, in 1998, recession occurred due to heavy competitions between manufacturers, which lead to more bankruptcies.

On the other hand, other countries in Asia such as the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore also underwent financial crises. In general, these countries suffered from GDP deficit. While the Philippines suffered from 3 percent GDP deficit, Malaysia lost 5 percent of its GDP during the AFC.

IMF’s Confession of the Wrong Handling of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis

During his Asian tour in February 2011, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, confessed IMF’s mistake in handling the 1997 and 1998 Asian Financial Crisis in front of the president of the Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. While handling the crisis, the organization did not take into account about the differences in political and historical condition of each Asian country. As a matter of fact, those differences are significant as different issues require different handling approaches. During his speech, Strauss-Kahn said that the IMF did some things right but he also humbly admitted that “we also did things wrong, and we have to accept this”. By accepting the mistake, Strauss-Kahn also meant that the International Monetary Fund has learned a lot from the AFC.

How to Prevent the Financial Crisis from Recurring?

To avoid the AFC from recurring, Asia should learn from the past. As Asia progressively develops, competition is never static in this region. Many things have to be improved and reformed due to years of delay. For these reasons, we cannot take for granted the current momentum of Asia’s economic growth as well as the surfacing markets. Indeed Asia still relies heavily on imported goods and technology from developed countries. Yet, if economic performers in Asia are not careful enough to stick with themselves in the trade cycle, this region may experience another financial crisis.

Looking back, the AFC was triggered by various factors such as too much leverage in the corporate sector, bad credit management, and weak macro-management in handling problems like capital markets, monetary policy, and fluctuating exchange rates. Another causal factor of the crisis was governmental issue, which was also referred to as crony capitalism.

Based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s statement regarding IMF’s mismanagement of the Asian Financial Crisis, we can see that the large portions of advanced countries ignored the real factors which triggered the AFC from happening. Without real handling of the root problem, flawed macro-economic theory, lax fiscal policies, weak financial supervision, and insufficient monetary policy over an eagerly developing continent will be fatal.