To misquote the famous HL Mencken phrase, “nobody ever went broke under-estimating the losses caused by the credit crisis”.
Initially, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke estimated the losses at just $100bn.
Then, a year ago, the IMF said its estimate was $1 trillion. Now, the IMF is raising its estimate even higher, this time to $4 trillion.
According to The Times, the Fund expects $3.1trn of these losses from US-originated assets, and $900bn from EU lending. Even more worryingly, as Nouriel Roubini points out, these estimates do not include prospective losses from corporate loans to highly-indebted companies. According to respected analyst Mike Mayo, the banks are still carrying these loans at close to face value.