On the brink of a global blow-up

The concurrence of S&P's bank reviews and central bankers' liquidity agreement shows just how close Europe's crisis has come to the kind of disaster so narrowly averted in 2008.

It was a neat and timely coincidence, and reminder, that Standard & Poor’s chose this week to downgrade some of the world’s largest banks, including the major Australian banks, even as central bankers took coordinated action to pump liquidity into the global financial system.

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