To Devalue or Not to Devalue: That is the question in Latvia, which is facing the worst recession in the former Eastern bloc. So far they're not devaluing their currency; it's risky, but if it works, it could set a powerful precedent for other small, struggling economies.Uncle Sam $68 Billion Richer: Ten of the nation's largest banks paid back portions of their TARP money yesterday.BRICs Still Down with Dollars: Remember that whole spat about the demise of the dollar as the global reserve...
Circling Above Wall Street: Could foreign banks do to Wall Street what Japan once did to Detroit? They're busy buying up lots of assets, but questions remain as to whether they can sustain the expansion, given how frequently past efforts to grab business from their US rivals have fizzled.Brave New Banking World: The Obama administration is set to announce new rules for the banking system today.
Not Out of the Woods: So much for the green shoots theory. This weekend was full of forebodingabout the future of the American economy, most pointedly with thisTimes op-ed critiquing Obama's confidence-restoring efforts as"dangerously misguided." (It's a must-read).
Soul-searching has become standard fare these days, but apparently it's taking on a particularly existential tone in certain corners of America. Weighed down by the recession, even with stimulus dollars making their way down to the local level, some mayors and supervisors are thinking about cutting public costs by way of apoptosis: aka, dissolving their own governments.
The Amnesty International annual report that came out today has some sobering revelations about those bearing the brunt of the global recession. That's why NEWSWEEK'S Rebecca Shabad flipped through it and chatted with Amnesty's Secretary General about her findings.
As Goes California So Goes the Nation?: Paul Krugman, optimistic as always, worries that it might be so. He points to the shrinking and increasingly extreme ranks of the Republican party to explain why it will be especially difficult for the state to climb out of the fiscal hole--a scenario he can easily foresee playing out at the national level.
Capitalism Is Dead; Long Live Capitalism!: We're living through an historic moment, alright, but is it a defining one? FT's Martin Wolf doesn't think so. Part of FT's running series on the future of Capitalism, headquartered here.The No-Work Jobs of Japan: No money for sheet metal?
Too Close for Comfort: Has Treasury gotten too cozy with the firms it's hired to help value and manage bailout assets? The NYT muses on this as it shines the spotlight on BlackRock, which is managing the rescues of Bear Stearns, AIG, and Citi at the same time that it is advising private clients.
Today in bizarre byproducts of globalization: black Barbies with blue eyes clad in African wraps. OK, this ain't a post about PPIP or renminbi, but I couldn't resist.Here's the back story from the photographer, who snapped this shot at a women's conference in Liberia recently.
A few words on Realtytrac's new housing and foreclosure data for this month. Interesting snippets from the press release:The report shows that one in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing inApril, shattering records throughout the land.Much of April's activity is at the initial stages of foreclosure, suggesting that many lenders are cracking down on delinquent loans that had been delayed by government-imposed and industry-embraced moratoria. [My note: we'll see how those...
There's Something About Boise: We journalists are always on the hunt for nice, neat microcosms of broad trends and big ideas. The NYT's Peter Goodman thinks he found his in Boise, Idaho, a town that may be poised to blossom if (when...?) this whole economic recovery thing works out.
More on that Freaky Swine Flu: This Reuters blogger has a good take on how past flu outbreaks affected the economy, and how this one might stack up. If you just can't get enough, they also have a full coverage page with all the latest updates, photos, and backgrounders your panicked heart could desire.Shall We Call Them Stress Quizzes?: Results of the stress tests applied to 19 banks will be published Monday, but it looks like there won't be a hopping release party.
Reconsidering the Reconsideration of Aid: Two recent books have put aid to Africa on trial, arguing that it often does more harm than good. The idea has become vogue in the do-gooder zeitgeist, but Johannesburg-based Greg Mills says it's not the whole story.Another One on the Up: Credit Suisse joined Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan in returning to profitability.
As promised, here's a more well-digested take on the Nielsen consumer trend report. The basics: Nielsen aggregated consumer trend data from 11 major GDP countries to come up with the key performance indicator (KPI) chart at left (tip for how to read the thing: the greener, the better).