Timeline: Global financial crisis

Major dates in the world’s descent into financial turmoil.

The global financial crisis has seen record losses in stock markets around the world [EPA]


A year on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Al Jazeera looks at the major events that led to the global financial crisis.

October to December 2006 – The boom in house prices begins to reverse its course as defaults on homes in US rise to record levels, prompting warnings of an impending subprime mortgage crisis.

February 2007 – As the decline in house prices accelerates, HSBC issues its first profit warning in its 142-year history, citing bad debts at its US subprime unit.

April – New Century, America’s largest subprime lender, goes bankrupt.

July – Investment bank Bear Stearns reveals it has made huge losses in two of its hedge funds.

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August – Banks around the world begin to disclose that they too have large holdings in mortgage-backed securities and credit markets begin.

September – British bank Northern Rock requests emergency funds, prompting a run on the bank, which eventually is taken over by the state.

October – Citigroup reports subprime related loss for the second time in two weeks, going on to report losses of $40bn.

March 2008 – Bear Stearns collapses and, days later, is sold to JP Morgan Chase for just $2 a share.

September 14 – Mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are rescued in one of the largest bailouts in US history.

September 15 – Lehman brothers files for bankruptcy, prompting panic as investors had assumed the US government would prevent a bank of Lehman’s size – it was the US fourth largest investment bank – from going under.

Meanwhile, Merril Lynch, also hit by the credit crisis, is bought by Bank of America for $50bn.

September 16 –  Credit rating agencies downgrade status of AIG, America’s largest insurer. The US Federal Reserve loans the insurer $85bn and takes an 80 per cent stake.

September 19 – Henry Paulson, then US treasury secretary, unveils plan to use taxpayers’ money to stabilise firms and buy up toxic assets, a part of the plan that is later dropped.

September 21 – The age of independent investment banks comes to an end as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley renounce their status as investment banks, giving them access to loans from the Federal Reserve, but also meaning they will come under greater regulation.

September to October – In the space of a month, banks around the world, notably HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland, Washington Mutual, Fortis, Hypo Real Estate and Landsbanki, collapse.

Moves by a number of EU nations to guarantee bank deposits prompts disagreement within the 26-member bloc. A meeting of G7 leaders fails to come up with a concrete plan to tackle the crisis.

March 2009 – Stock markets hit a record low, wiping out gains made since 1997.

Source : Al Jazeera

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