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If Only the U.S. Banking System Were More Regulated, Like Europe’s

Fascinating read in the Telegraph (h/t Marginal Revolution) on the crazy things bankers — and their mortgage borrowers — sometimes do:

Austria’s bank exposure to emerging markets is equal to 85pc of GDP – with a heavy concentration in Hungary, Ukraine, and Serbia – all now queuing up (with Belarus) for rescue packages from the International Monetary Fund.

Exposure is 50pc of GDP for Switzerland, 25pc for Sweden, 24pc for the UK, and 23pc for Spain. The US figure is just 4pc. America is the staid old lady in this drama.

A few dare-devil homeowners in Hungary and Latvia took out mortgages in Japanese yen. They have just suffered a 40pc rise in their debt since July. Nobody warned them what happens when the Japanese carry trade goes into brutal reverse, as it does when the cycle turns. . . .

Yen-denominated mortgages in Hungary and Latvia?

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