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It was reported earlier today that:

Citigroup reports $5.1 billion loss on hefty write-downs

By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer
1 hour, 38 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Citigroup Inc. lost $5.1 billion during the first quarter and will eliminate about 9,000 more jobs, as poor bets on mortgages and leveraged loans lopped billions of dollars from its investment portfolio.

And a NYT article on the same announcement tells us that:

...The layoffs are in addition to the 4,200 cuts announced in January, the bank said during its conference call.

The bank’s first-quarter results reflected more than $16.9 billion in write-offs...

These announcements are coming out in dribs and drabs.

See for instance this April 2nd NYT article about the UBS write-down::

“The market has been consistently wrong each time they tried to find a bottom,” said Meredith Whitney, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company, noting that earlier stock rallies in January and last fall were overwhelmed by more bad news.

“There’s a ‘hooray’ from the stands, but investors don’t realize the bench has been weakened,” she said. “There’s no end in sight in terms of bad news.”

Indeed, a report issued Tuesday by Morgan Stanley concluded that investment banks face their worst crisis in 30 years, surpassing the global financial upheavals of 1998 as well as the stock market crash of 1987. It projected that investment banking revenue will drop another 20 percent this year, and financial firms will report a further $75 billion in markdowns on top of what they have announced so far.

In that same article is a sidebar chart (if clicked on it provides more detail) listing 15 major banks, from UBS to Societe General, and the losses/write downs for each. The NYT does not total this April 2nd chart, but I did: the chart alone records $170 billion in bank write-downs since the beginning of last year.

This chart came before Merrill Lynch announced earlier this week an additional loss of $6 to 8 billion.

If we factor the Merril write-down and this new Citigroup ($5 billion), as well as those not listed, then we are looking at an official tally of at least $200 billion in write-offs, and probably way, way more. And that's not including the Bear Stearns fire sale to JPM, or the other major investment bank losses. My guess, based on what I've read, is that the write-downs are well over a trillion dollars.

Originally posted to gnat on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 09:36 AM PDT.

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