Indicator: Margin Debt Falling : Planet Money A currency strategist finds a new way to gauge the crisis.
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Indicator: Margin Debt Falling

Margin Debt at the NYSE courtesy of Margaret Kempner at Brown Brothers Harriman hide caption

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courtesy of Margaret Kempner at Brown Brothers Harriman

If you think of the current economic crisis as the result of people and businesses borrowing too much, then you can think of the cure as getting rid of that debt. That's the view from Marc Chandler, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Chandler has been looking for signs that debt is going away, either by people paying it off or lenders giving up and writing it off.

One of his favorite signs: margin debt at the New York Stock Exchange. Margin debt basically means money borrowed to buy stock. The number for January just pinged in, and it's down again. Which shows continued crisis or ongoing recovery, depending on how you look at it.

We're aiming to have more on this alternate indicator for the podcast today.