MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Monday, March 24, 2008

U.S. Noble prize winner calls financial collapse. Joesph Stiglitz



WELLINGTON: The current financial crisis is the worst the world has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the US Federal Reserve move to cut interest rates will not make much difference, the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said on Wednesday.

"It will have some impact - it will do a little bit to stem the blood - but it's not addressing the fundamental problems underlying the collapse of the financial sector," Joseph said.

Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001, is a former chief of the World Bank and chaired former US president Bill Clinton's council of economic advisers. He is in New Zealand on a lecture tour.

He said the Federal Reserve's move to cut its funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage point was "just trying to ease the economy down rather than try to address the underlying problems."

Stiglitz said the main problem was the fact that an estimated 2 million Americans were going to lose their homes because they could not repay mortgages which exceed the value of their property as house prices fell dramatically.

"As people walk away from their mortgages there will be more and more defaults - that undermines the whole financial system," he said.


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