Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: "Too big to fail" banks now even bigger


A sign outside JP Morgan Chase headquarters on Park Avenue in New York City.


Mario Tama

Need to know:
The World Bank gave the US what it wanted and picked physician and Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim as its new president.

Not everyone is happy about it. Some of the world’s strongest emerging economies are disappointed to see the status quo persist, and they're are making it known they don’t think the World Bank’s selection process wasn't fair. 

South Africa's finance minister criticized the World Bank's selection process for not being transparent enough or merit-based, Bloomberg said

Meanwhile, Kim answered five questions for the Wall Street Journal through which he tried to assure the world that he has the support of the world.  

Want to know:
India is hoping an interest rate cut will revive an economy that is now growing at its slowest pace in three years.

The Reserve Bank of India said it would cut a key interest rate by half a percentage point to 8 percent in hopes it will spur expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy. The decrease is the first since 2009. 

Most analysts had been expecting a .25 percentage-point rate cut, Bloomberg said

Dull but important:
Remember how those “too big to fail” banks in the US were supposed to get further away from ever needing another bailout? They haven’t.

The largest US banks are now bigger than they were before the financial crisis, Bloomberg reported.

Five of the country’s largest banks – JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs – held a combined $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of last year, the news agency said. That’s equal to about 56 percent of the US output.

Just because:
As Spanish debt gets harder to sell, US debt keeps flying off the shelves.  

Foreign investors have been buying up US Treasuries for months and now hold more than $5 trillion in US debt, according to the latest government data.

China alone holds nearly $1.18 trillion in US debt. Japan holds another $1.1 trillion.

Of course, the US has both countries beat: post QE2 and Operation Twist the US Federal Reserve holds nearly $1.7 trillion in US Treasury securities. 

Strange but true:
Want to craft the perfect dream? There’s an app for that.

A British psychologist has developed an app that uses sounds to transport users to specific environments while dreaming, Reuters said. "If it's birds tweeting, then the idea is that you'll hear birds tweeting in your dream," Richard Wiseman told the news agency.

The Dream:ON app doubles as an alarm. Reuters said it has been downloaded 300,000 times.