February 1, 2009
The Credit Picture's Still Grim
A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are charts from the New York Times Economix Blog, circulated by Visualizing economics, showing five indicators of the dimensions of the credit crisis that began last year. Certainly some of the measures are improving due to the actions of the Federal Reserve in reducing the cost of money to banks. Others look pretty grim still -- the decline in the T bill rates, which reflects flight from stocks, bonds, and money market account, and the enormous difference between the T bill rate and the rate charged between banks for short-term money, which reflects distrust and stress in the financial markets. Remember: all of these measures at the beginning of the year were worse than usual, so the dramatic changes in the 4th quarter of last year were even more dramatic given a longer-term perspective. I'm looking forward to the end of the year -- and hoping that all of this looks much better -- and that AMEX will restore me to having no ceiling on the amount that I put on my green card (yes, I still have a green card -- they've tried to seduce me with platinum, gold, silver, blue and every other color -- but I like the card that gets paid off at the end of the month).
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