24 November 2008

Economics Update

I think that we have to start with the fact that U.S. Treasury Credit Default Swaps risk premiums just hit record levels.

If that sounds arcane and obscure, that's because it is, because the brokers like it that way, but here is a slightly clearer statement, returns on insurance against a defaults on US Treasuries hit a new high....Meaning that investors are pricing in the possibility of a US government default.

This means that a Lot of people are betting that the full faith and credit of the United States of America means nothing.

The US defaulting is the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man moment of US society, and an increasingly large segment of the investing world is betting on it.

At its core, the problem is that this bubble is something that people cannot walk away from, housing and shelter, and the realtor-pimps are now saying that existing home sales are softening, though the staid New York Times is saying that home prices are plunging.

Existing home sales down over 3.1%, and prices down 11.3% year over year.

In the mean time, the Citi bailout is pushing on both currency and energy, with
the dollar falling, because people realize that the printing presses are running non-stop.

That being said, the falling dollar is not helping the ruble, where the Russian central bank has reduced support for the currency for the 2nd time in as many weeks.

It also drove oil up about a fin spot, though retail gasoline prices fell for 68th straight day.

It's not going to get better any time soon, because MasterCard is reporting falling retail sales.

Meanwhile, Calculated Risk's Credit Crisis Indicators are slightly worse today.


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