Links February 1: Risk awwwwwn

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  1. Extract from Andy Xie article

    http://english.caing.com/2011-01-19/100218740_2.html

    “Some are behaving like nothing has happened. Australia stands out in that regard. Its household debt has surged by 20 percent since the Crisis hit and recently surpassed 100 percent of GDP. Its household debt to disposable income ratio, at 156 percent, is the highest among major economies in the world. Australia has had 4.5 percent of GDP in annual current account deficit for two decades, i.e., its household debt is funded by foreign capital inflow. Its property market is still booming. When you see rapidly rising household debt, a big current account deficit, and a booming property market, it is a credit-cum-property bubble for sure.

    Australia’s bubble has survived the 2008 crisis because commodity prices came on the back of the Fed’s zero interest rate policy and China’s massive credit growth. The Australian bubble is very likely to burst when commodity prices fall sharply. Either a substantial economic slowdown in China or spiking U.S. interest rates would trigger it.

    Australia is an exception. The booming commodity market is giving it the choice not to adjust. Some economies must adjust and fast, because they depend on foreign capital for financing. Iceland, Greece, and Ireland are small economies that depend on foreign capital to fund their fiscal deficits, i.e., they run large current account deficits and don’t have sufficient domestic savings to fund their government deficits.