Obama says US economy ‘back from the brink’
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the American economy was past the worst of the crisis. "It's safe to say we have stepped back from the brink," he told a fundraiser in Beverly Hills. "There is some calm that didn't exist before."
Obama said his young administration had accomplished as much or more in its first four months as any administration since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's in the 1930s.
But though the economy is showing signs of being on firmer ground, Obama said there was still much work to be done to get the US' fiscal house in order. "We can't rest on our laurels because we've got a lot of work to do" in areas ranging from health care to education to curbing dependence on foreign oil."
With many policymakers saying regulatory failures played a key part in the crisis, Obama's administration is weighing a plan that would put the Federal Reserve in charge of monitoring systemic risk and give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp power to unwind insolvent bank holding companies, sources said.
The revamp could also create an agency in charge of investor protection and market integrity.
However, despite increasingly upbeat comments from policymakers, global markets have focussed on the extra debt being taken on by governments to fund their stimulus packages, ever since Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for Britain's sovereign credit ratings to negative a week ago.
In its budget on Thursday, New Zealand's government announced the biggest deficit in 25 years and forecast 10 years of government deficits, with debt peaking at 43 per cent of GDP in 2016-17.
Global markets are also watching developments in the US auto industry, where General Motors moved closer to filing the largest bankruptcy ever for a US industrial company.
In Germany, talks on shielding GM's European brand Opel from the looming bankruptcy of its parent have ended without a resolution.