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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


IMF: $4.1tn in losses now expected

via clusterstock and the financial times.

The IMF estimated that total writedowns on US assets would reach $2,700bn, up from the $2,100bn estimate it made in January and almost double what it forecast in October last year. Including loans originated in Japan and Europe, the writedowns would hit $4,100bn, it added.

Banks would bear about two-thirds of the losses, it said, with insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds and others taking the rest. ...

US banks so far taken about half of the writedowns they face, while European banks – particularly vulnerable because of their exposure to emerging European markets – have only taken one-fifth. But if banks took all the writedowns they face immediately, the IMF calculates it would wipe out their common equity altogether.

That highlights the urgent need to inject more capital into many banks and other institutions. To restore their balance sheets to the state they were in before the crisis – defined by the IMF as a tangible common equity to tangible asset ratio of 4 per cent – US banks need $275bn in capital injections, euro area banks need $375bn and UK banks $125bn.

One possible step would be for governments to convert their preferred shares in banks into common equity, the IMF suggested. ...

Even if governments do take bold action to shore up the system, the credit crisis will be “deep and long-lasting”, the IMF warned. It said that deleveraging and economic contraction would cause credit growth in the US, the UK and the eurozone to contract and even turn negative in the near future, and only recover after a number of years.

The IMF was also gloomy about the prospects for emerging markets as foreign investors and banks withdraw funds. It estimated the refinancing needs of emerging markets are around $1,800bn, while net private capital will flow out of such economies this year.

there are more dire estimates, and jeremy grantham has estimated that more than $10tn will have to be eliminated via writedowns and repayments.

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