Wednesday, September 23, 2009


U.S. mortgage delinquencies set record

High U.S. unemployment keeps pushing up the rate of mortgage delinquencies, which could in turn drive personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures, monthly data from the Equifax Inc credit bureau showed on Monday.

Among U.S. homeowners with mortgages, a record 7.58 percent were at least 30 days late on payments in August, up from 7.32 percent in July, according to the data obtained exclusively by Reuters.

August marked the fourth consecutive monthly increase in delinquencies, and the report showed an accelerating pace. By comparison, 4.89 percent of mortgages were 30 days past due in August 2008, while in August 2007, the rate was 3.44 percent, Equifax data showed.

The rate of subprime mortgage delinquencies now tops 41 percent, up from about 39 percent in each of the prior five months. (more)

Jay Taylor Turning Hard Times Into Good Times

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Moody’s: Some Home Price Won’t Rebound Until 2030

"For many reasons, the rebound will be disproportionately small compared to the decline," Moody's said this week in its latest outlook on the residential market. "It will take more than a decade to completely recover from the 40% peak-to-trough decline in national home prices."

The housing market is in the third year of the current downturn, one of the worst corrections in U.S. history as a result of the economic recession and the mortgage industry nearly grinding to a halt during the credit crunch.

"The bursting of the housing bubble precipitated a crisis in financial markets the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression and plummeted the nation into recession," Moody's said. (more)

China's resource nationalism is on the rise as it hoards minerals essential for batteries, cell phones, computers, and the green revolution.

For some countries, trade policy is the stuff of arcane rules and wonky bureaucracy. But for centuries in China, trade has been the biggest bugaboo of foreign affairs. Every Chinese knows about the moment their country was forcibly "opened" to the West: British merchants compelled Beijing to allow imports of opium—a baleful product that many Chinese nonetheless desired—in the 19th century. More recently, though, the tables have turned. China has come to possess a raft of things coveted by those same foreign powers: cheap labor, abundant capital, and, as it turns out, the world's greatest supply of so-called rare earths—metals essential for everything from hybrid cars to iPods to precision-guided weaponry. (more)

Venture capital funding takes a plunge

Confronting the roughest recession in generations, the nation's venture capital industry raised only $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2009 — a cliff-like plummet from the $4.6 billion raised during the previous quarter, according to an industry report released Monday.

It was the smallest quarterly dollar total since the first quarter of 2003, when $938 million was raised in the depths of the dot-com crash. Meanwhile, the number of new funds created in the quarter shrank to 25 — the smallest number in 13 years.

Venture capital, an industry with deep roots along Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road, has long been regarded as a kind of rocket fuel for the region's innovation economy, bankrolling hundreds of startups each year. Such companies as Intel, Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Yahoo and Google were financed by venture investments. (more)

Marc Faber - Buy Stocks because US Dollars will be worthless 09/22/09

Luskin: Gold Will Go To $2000

Richard Rahn: The Growing Debt Bomb

Assume you had put much of your savings into U.S. government bonds and then you learned the following. In just the last eight months, the Congressional Budget Office estimates of the amount of additional federal debt to be held by the public grew by an astounding $4 trillion for the 2010-19 period; and that the amount of federal debt held by the public grew from $5.9 trillion to $7.5 trillion in just the last 12 months.

In addition, you learned that the federal government (i.e., taxpayers) now owns (primarily through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) or insures (through the Federal Housing Administration and other government programs) about 80 percent of the $14.6 trillion of home mortgages outstanding in the United States . Last week, Congress passed a bill requiring all student loans be made by the federal government rather than banks, which means the taxpayers will be 100 percent liable for any student loan defaults. (more)