Credit loss could hit $1 trillion
THE US economy could be heading into its blackest year since the Great Depression as estimates of losses from the housing slump and sub-prime mortgage implosion reach unprecedented levels.
The latest bank estimate of $US700 billion in losses made this week by Rob McAdie, the UK-based head of credit at Barclays Capital, is $US300 billion more than a headline-grabbing Golden Sachs estimate that jolted US markets just last month.
And it is light years from the $US50-100 billion in losses predicted by US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to Congress in July. Expressed another way, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank say only 15 countries have a GDP higher than $US700 billion. Australia was 15th on both lists.
But even estimates of a $US700 billion sub-prime bloodbath may be conservative, with respected finance and economic blog sites like Calculated Risk predicting losses as high as $US1 trillion. The implications for global credit markets of losses of this magnitude would be horrendous, forcing banks and other institutions to slash lending by several trillion dollars.
Oops. But hey, lets keep those tax cuts to Paris Hilton on schedule, mkay?