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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Stench of Putrefaction

Despite some signs that the economy is beginning to grow again, all in the garden is not yet rosy and there is a decidedly strong whiff of putrefaction in the air.

Aside from the survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that predicts a total loss of 1.6M public and private sector jobs by 2015 (resulting from government cuts), there is also the danger of the spread of the disease of "zombie households".

A "zombie household" is where a household is trapped in its property because the mortgage exceeds the value, the home owner is barely able to pay the interest payments at today's record near zero rates and the bank has not written down the value of the loan to its "true market value".

In the event that rates rise, as they most certainly will do so in the future, the debtor defaults and the banks are unable to recover the full value of the debt; ie everyone suffers.

Fathom Consulting have recommended that the Bank of England uses a new tranche of quantitative easing to buy lenders' worst mortgages, and place them in a specially created "bad bank".

Until the banks are rid of the fear of a collapse of the value of their current loans, the lending market (needed to power the economy) and the economy will stagnate.

Like it or not, another bailout is required.

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