A year ago I predicted that losses by US financial institutions would be at least $1 trillion and possibly as high as $2 trillion. At that time the consensus such estimates as being grossly exaggerated as the naïve optimists had in mind about $200 billion of expected subprime mortgage losses. But, as I pointed out then, losses would rapidly mount well beyond subprime mortgages as the US and global economy would spin into a most severe financial crisis and an ugly recession. I then argued that we would then see rising losses on subprime, near prime and prime mortgages; commercial real estate; credit cards, auto loans, student loans; industrial and commercial loans; corporate bonds; sovereign bonds and state and local government bonds; and massive losses on all of the assets (CDOs, CLOs, ABS, and the entire alphabet of credit derivatives) that had securitized such loans. By now writedowns by US banks have already passed the $1 trillion mark (my floor estimate of losses) and now institutions such as the IMF and Goldman Sachs predict losses of over $2 trillion (close to my original expected ceiling for such losses). But if you think that $2 trillion is already huge, our latest estimates RGE Monitor (available in a paper for our clients) suggest that total losses on loans made by U.S. financial firms and the fall in the market value of the assets they are holding will be at their peak about $3.6 trillion.
more from RGE Monitor here.