And The Housing Fraud Continues – From a report emailed to me over the weekend:At the core of the foreclosure-prevention strategy is ignoring delinquencies. The percentage of older delinquent loans not yet in foreclosure is startling: 60% have at least 12 missed payments, and 35% have at least 18 missed payments. Add to this that three-fourths of delinquent loans are not in foreclosure, and we see that hidden losses well exceed those in the open. Uh, they’re not being "ignored" – this is systemic and intentional fraud. Remember, these loans are either being held by someone or securitized into some sort of package. When you have a loan that has no chance of "curing" (to cure a loan with 12 missed payments the borrower would have to come up with the 12 payments to bring it current!) that loan should be carried at its recovery value – that is, the value of the collateral that can be seized and sold, LESS the cost of eviction, remediation and resale.
Colin Powell: Oil Spill Is ‘Beyond The Capacity’ Of BP To Solve, Military Might Have Role – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested on Sunday that the United States military has a role to play in helping contain the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that the problem now was "beyond the capacity" of BP to stop. "The president has to get involved as quickly as possible," Powell told ABC’s This Week. "If you don’t, then public opinion starts to drag you in the media, and pushes you. And so when something like this clearly is going to get beyond the capacity of whoever caused it, get beyond the capacity of local authorities, I think the federal government has to move in quickly and move in with, to use my favorite expression, decisive force and demonstrate that it’s doing everything that it can do."The statement by the revered military and political figure is a reflection of a growing discouragement over the failure of the Obama administration — in practice or in perception — to play a hands-on role in resolving the crisis. Asked whether he’d been satisfied with the extent of the president’s response to this point, Powell was moderately critical.
Nigeria’s Agony Dwarfs Gulf Oil Spill; US and Europe Do Nothing -The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. "We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots," said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. "This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months."That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP‘s Deepwater Horizon rig last month.
Spill May Cut World Oil Supply 500,000 BPD (Reuters) – A one-year delay on new deepwater projects stemming from the Gulf of Mexico well rupture could cut world oil supply by 500,000 barrels per day between 2013 to 2017, Bernstein Research said in a note to clients on Friday. "Although this may seem small in a global context, such a situation would decrease OPEC spare capacity, especially in the second half of the decade, which would lead to an increase in the oil price," the firm wrote.Still, it is unclear if this is a likely scenario, Bernstein wrote.The world consumes more than 80 million barrels per day of crude oil
BP warn of risks in oil spill ‘open heart surgery’ – Under immense pressure to plug its catastrophic American oil leak, BP is preparing for a hazardous last-ditch salvage operation that risks making the gush of crude into the Gulf of Mexico even heavier if its robotic submarines fail in an inch-perfect exercise to cut through a broken pipe a mile beneath the ocean’s surface.After the failure of a "top kill" effort to stuff the leak with mud and rubbish, BP’s managing director, Bob Dudley, stressed the difficulty of a new plan to pipe spurting oil to a ship on the ocean’s surface, describing it as highly challenging for engineers who will be asked to perform "the equivalent of open heart surgery on television for everyone".
Greece urged to give up euro – THE Greek government has been advised by British economists to leave the euro and default on its €300 billion (£255 billion) debt to save its economy.The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), a London-based consultancy, has warned Greek ministers they will be unable to escape their debt trap without devaluing their own currency to boost exports. The only way this can happen is if Greece returns to its own currency.Greek politicians have played down the prospect of abandoning the euro, which could lead to the break-up of the single currency.Speaking from Athens yesterday, Doug McWilliams, chief executive of the CEBR, said: “Leaving the euro would mean the new currency will fall by a minimum of 15%. But as the national debt is valued in euros, this would raise the debt from its current level of 120% of GDP to 140% overnight. “So part of the package of leaving the euro must be to convert the debt into the new domestic currency unilaterally.”
Fed Officials Upbeat On U.S. Recovery – Two senior Federal Reserve officials were upbeat Monday about the U.S. economic recovery despite the worsening debt crisis in Europe, but gave no indication the Fed is anywhere near raising interest rates.“Right now, the prospects for continued growth in the U.S. remain relatively solid,” Charles Plosser, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told a news conference during a Bank of Korea seminar in Seoul. “I hope, I anticipate at this point that the U.S. won’t have a double-dip recession.” He added that the European crisis “raises some clouds on the horizon” and that the Fed would have to “be cautious” in response.Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Fed, said the U.S. recovery is “well under way” but still-low inflation means the central bank should keep rates very low “for an extended period,” in line with its official policy statement.“Inflation is severely under-running price stability, so it’s still appropriate to keep an accommodative policy,” Mr. Evans told a separate news conference at the Seoul event. “But if the situation turns rapidly, policy will need to respond more quickly.”
France warns on credit rating (Reuters) – France admitted on Sunday that keeping its top-notch credit rating would be "a stretch" without some tough budget decisions, following German hints that Berlin may resort to raising taxes to help bring down its deficit. Euro zone trade unions are preparing for possible confrontations in the coming week if governments impose austerity measures or labor reforms unilaterally.But ministers made clear they were ready to take unpopular steps to prevent the Greek debt crisis spreading to their economies, although doubts are growing about whether the Spanish government in particular has enough support to get its way.Budget Minister Francois Baroin indicated on Sunday that France should not take for granted its AAA rating, which allows Paris to borrow relatively cheaply on international markets and finance its big budget deficit.
Spain Socialists face deep crisis as support dives (Reuters) – Spain’s Socialist government grappled with a deepening political crisis on Sunday, with reforms of a "dysfunctional" labor market hanging by a thread and its chances of survival beyond the autumn looking shaky.Weekend opinion polls showed Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government far behind the opposition, and that many voters believe he will have to call early elections as support for a 2011 austerity budget will be hard to muster."The government faces not only an economic crisis, but a political crisis too because the way it’s governing is not good enough," said Angel Laborda, an economist at Spanish savings banks consultancy FUNCAS. "I believe that early elections will be called, sooner or later."Spain’s Socialists are battling to prove to nervous world markets the euro zone’s fourth largest economy will not go down the same path as Greece, but with growing political opposition at home their ability to push through reforms is limited.
Beijing in a sweat as China’s economy overheats – China is struggling to contain the threat of an overheating economy in the face of rising house prices, inflationary wage increases and a continuing surge in money supply, the head of the country’s second-largest bank has warned. Guo Shuqing, chairman of China Construction Bank, said that the latest figures for China’s M1 money supply – a key predictor of inflation – had raised concerns that the country’s vast stimulus and bank-lending was running too hot. “I saw the figures for last month and M1 is still very high, increasing 31pc from last year, which is one per cent higher than last month,” he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. “We are seeing a lot of money coming to China which is creating a current and capital account surpluses.”