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Toxic assets 有毒资产

[ 2009-03-19 15:19]     字号 [] [] []  
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Q: Nor was there any more clarity from the United States on how it plans to clean up banks' toxic assets, which many say is essential to get the world economy moving again. Please explain “toxic assets” in detail.

With the economy “hitting the skids” in recent times there has been a lot of talk about “toxic debt”.

Debt is something which you owe and if something is toxic – well – that’s not a good thing because that means it is sick, or poisonous, capable of causing great harm and what’s worse, potentially able to spread to other areas.

According to the UK’s Telegraph publication, toxic debt refers to the “various asset classes hard hit by the financial crisis, such as sub-prime mortgages”.

The use of the word "toxic" became popular as anyone, any bank or organization holding “subprime mortages or related assets have become sick financially. The financial sickness spread like chicken flu or sars and it spread quickly.

As a result people and banks asset values dropped significantly, banks quickly had to try and pay back money that was lent, they realized they had also invested money into bad areas and very soon they didn’t have enough credit to make further loans and then businesses couldn’t borrow any money to run their companies and wammo – that is a simplified explanation but it works for now.

Why was China lucky – because its’ banking system had cleared up many toxic or bad loans several years earlier and the government had also required them to have enough reserves in supply to cover any emergency if customers were to quickly start pulling their money.

How much "toxic debt" is there?

The Telegraph says “Nobody really knows. Sandy Chen, banks analyst at Panmure Gordon, has estimated there are about $2,000bn of US sub-prime mortgages and another $1,000bn of "Alt-A or near-prime".

The International Monetary Fund in April estimated that the US sub-prime meltdown will cost banks and other institutions $945bn.



“hitting the skids” – when a car skids it loses control, if something “hits the skids” then it loses control.





About the author:

Toxic assets 有毒资产

About the author: Brendan has taught at universities, high schools and primary schools in Japan,the UK, Australia and China. He is a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor and has extensive experience with International English Language Examinations. In the field of writing Brendan has been published in The Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, Inflight magazines and the Asia News Network. He can be contacted at brendanjohnworrell@hotmail.com.