Felix Salmon

The sukuk shakeout arrives

The first sukuk (Islamic bond) defaults have arrived, and no one has a clue how they’re going to shake out. Which might actually be a feature rather than a bug, going forwards.

Are the new securitization regulations workable?

Binyamin Appelbaum has details of the new regulations surrounding securitization, and it all looks incredibly unworkable to me, especially the central plank:

When regulators Balkanize

Robert Teitelman joins the chorus of disappointment in the damp squib which is going to be launced tomorrow under the grand title of regulatory reform:

Monday links take a break

Pay No Attention To Morons Talking About “Money On The Sidelines”: After all, the stocks’ sellers are going to cash.

The source of Sheila Bair’s power

Noam Scheiber asks how Sheila Bair seems to have managed not to hold on to her job (that can be explained by reference to the fact that she has powerful protectors in Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) but on top of that seems set to emerge the big winner from the coming regulatory overhaul — despite the fact that few senior administration officials seem to like her very much.

The Germany problem

Will Hutton interviews Paul Krugman:

PK: How is it possible that Germany, which did not have a house price bubble, is having a steeper GDP fall than anyone else in the major economies?

Folding bike fail

My fingers weren’t crossed hard enough. I did end up buying a folding bike this weekend — a Montague DX — and proudly carried it, folded in half, into 3 Times Square this morning, after having been told by a security guard that folding bikes were OK to bring in to the office. Except, it turns out, they’re not. The only way you’re allowed to bring a folding bike into the building, it turns out, is if it’s packed up into a bag. Otherwise, no dice.

Chart of the day: World trade in recessions

Do you like pretty charts comparing this recession to the Great Depression and to other recessions in US history? How about 21 such charts in the same place? Here’s one, from the CFR’s new chartbook. Enjoy!

When did the White House lose Congress?

It’s probably inevitable that all presidents reach the point at which they run into Congressional roadblocks. But given the mandate which was handed to Barack Obama in November, and the fact that Democrats control both the House and the Senate, it’s disappointing to see the way in which both cap-and-trade and regulatory reform are being changed out of all recognition in a desperate attempt to make them acceptable to the Senate.