Special report: Credit default swaps


View the published version of the supplement here.

If one had to select a single word guaranteed to be associated in the popular mind with the early stages of the recession, derivatives would be a strong candidate. If one had a couple of words to deploy, the addition of the word credit would, in many minds, conjure images of mortgages, bad loans and an almost mystical transfer of risk from US home-loan lenders to investors in Europe and beyond. A simplistic picture perhaps, but the use of

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