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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Fannie, Freddie will ramp up purchases of delinquent home loans
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are planning to buy more of the nonperforming home loans that the U.S. mortgage giants guaranteed as an accounting change makes the move more cost-effective. Fannie and Freddie are required to buy loans that have been delinquent for 24 months or when they modify mortgages. The accounting change is prompting the companies to purchase more mortgages that are only 120 days or more past due. The Wall Street Journal (11 Feb.)

TARP panel warns of $300B in losses on commercial real estate loans
Defaults on commercial real estate loans maturing next year could hit community banks with $300 billion in losses, potentially slowing down an already sluggish recovery in the U.S., the Congressional Oversight Panel warned. The committee, which oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said small and midsize banks could be weakened by losses of that magnitude, reducing their ability to loan to businesses. About $1.4 trillion worth of loans secured by commercial property will come due between this year and 2014, the panel said. The New York Times (11 Feb.)

Canada posts first annual trade deficit since 1975
For the first time in 34 years, Canada imported more than it exported in 2009, Statistics Canada said. Last year's trade deficit reached more than $4 billion. "Most of the steep deterioration in trade last year was due to the calamitous drop in commodity prices at the start of 2009, which skewered Canada's terms of trade," said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. Financial Post (Canada) (11 Feb.)

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