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Credit Crisis Covers the Globe

As the crisis grinds on, financial institutions outside the U.S. come to grips with their exposure to the U.S. subprime mortgage market

Over the weekend of February 9, 2008, policymakers at the Group of Seven meeting in Tokyo suggested that losses stemming from subprime mortgages could top $400 billion. So far, financial institutions around the world have only taken writedowns of about $120 billion. While these potential additional writedowns may not be fully realized, losses have been recorded at far-flung financial institutions in Switzerland, Singapore, Germany, and Australia.

European banks have been contending with the ongoing fallout from the credit crisis, with both large international banks and smaller domestic lenders being affected. UBS (UBS), like some of its U.S. counterparts, has been plagued by it. The bank revealed on February 14 that it took $18.1 billion in writedowns during the second half of 2007 related to its subprime mortgage liabilities. The bank also disclosed its exposure to $26.6 billion of non-subprime U.S. mortgages, which could lead to further writedowns, including those in other areas.