Don't look now, but the rating agency just issued a report with this headline:
Municipal Risk For Rated U.S. Banks Appears To Be Contained
You might have thought no one in the financial markets would ever use that word with a straight face after Fed chief Ben Bernanke's March 2007 testimony before Congress on the subprime crisis. As you may recall, he said [emphasis is mine]:
Although the turmoil in the subprime mortgage market has MOREColin Barr - Mar 31, 2011 2:29 PM ET
Unless Ben Bernanke sets off a big inflation wave, house prices are doomed to keep falling for years.
Tuesday's release of the monthly Case-Shiller U.S. house price index shows a 3.1% year-over-year decline for January. The index of 20 big U.S. cities fell to 140, just a point and change above its spring 2009 low in the wake of the financial meltdown.
The "dismal" showing included 11 cities hitting postbubble lows and MOREColin Barr - Mar 29, 2011 10:09 AM ET
Computers making lending decisions don't sit well with Fed chief Ben Bernanke.
At least, that's what he told community bankers Wednesday. Bernanke said the giant banks have fallen short of their duty to support local businesses by relying too much on statistical models and not enough on shaking a borrower's hand and looking him in the eye.
The largest banks typically rely heavily on statistical models to assess borrowers' capital, collateral, and MOREColin Barr - Mar 23, 2011 3:26 PM ET
The world is awash in dollars, but the Fed wants you to know it hasn't forgotten about the need to clean up after itself -- one of these days.
The central bank said Wednesday it will run another test of a tool it rolled out two years ago to drain money from the banking system.
The idea is to make sure that so-called reverse repurchase agreements – in which the Fed swaps Treasury securities MOREColin Barr - Mar 23, 2011 11:00 AM ET
Maybe Ben Bernanke isn't such a debaser after all.
For six months critics have been screaming that Bernanke's loose policy would set off massive inflation and destroy the value of the dollar. Dump-the-dollar calls have picked up lately, with the dollar index near a 52-week low and inflation expectations rising a bit.
But what if all the yelling is wrong and the Fed's pursuit of modest inflation doesn't doom the dollar? What MOREColin Barr - Mar 22, 2011 6:30 AM ET
The dollar is going to keep getting sand kicked in its face till the U.S. economy finally flexes some job-creating muscle.
The yen's surge this week prompted the G-7 rich countries to pledge Thursday evening to limit the Japanese currency's gains against the dollar. The United States, European Central Bank, United Kingdom and Canada will sell yen, in hopes of snuffing out a rally that threatens to add to Japan's economic distress by making its exports MOREColin Barr - Mar 18, 2011 6:42 AM ET
Will QE2 still be working if the U.S. stock market takes a swan dive?
It's a timely question, with the Federal Reserve scheduled to hold a regular policy meeting Tuesday -- on a day when stocks are down 11% in Japan, 5% in Germany and 3% in Hong Kong and the U.K.
The U.S. stock market has yet to open Tuesday, and its selloff Monday was mild. But worse could be in MOREColin Barr - Mar 15, 2011 7:11 AM ET
Tim Geithner has raised the time-honored Washington tradition of kidding yourself to a whole new level.
You may worry about the implications of $4 gasoline on an economy that hasn't exactly been going gangbusters as it is. It's no stretch to say the recent surge in commodity prices could ground an anemic recovery in consumer spending.
But Geithner fairly throws back his head and laughs in the face of this scourge. Why? Because unlike so MOREColin Barr - Feb 24, 2011 12:57 PM ET
Good news! Central bankers just got another reason to put off raising interest rates.
A study by researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says international rules raising bank capital levels will slow economic growth only a bit in coming years, by slightly raising borrowing costs.
The report counters the banking lobby's reflexive claim that any rules imposed on bankers threaten to kneecap economic growth.
But by now we have all MOREColin Barr - Feb 17, 2011 11:49 AM ET
Could the United States and China be even more co-dependent than we thought?
On Wednesday Fed chief Ben Bernanke became the first American official in recent memory to admit just how deep a hole we have dug ourselves with our biggest creditor.
Bernanke said China holds at least $2 trillion of U.S. government bonds. That is more than double the widely cited official figure, which is published monthly by Treasury.
As staggering as Bernanke's number is, his MOREColin Barr - Feb 9, 2011 5:11 PM ET
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