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This is our mid-winter message to readers in the southern hemisphere. We have relatively few readers there, but everybody’s gotta be someplace, and in a world where somebody’s always awake working, it helps to keep things in perspective, even if you’re at the beach.
We field a lot of inquiries here. One of the most popular requests we get is for standby letters of credit. We know many of the reasons people ask for them. By far, the most popular reason is that someone told the client that they had to have one to do what they wanted to do.
We saw a headline recently in the Wall Street Journal that said: Bank Financing Played Big Role in Trade Collapse. It referred to a study by two prominent economists of the economic difficulties in 2008/9, noting that a shrinkage in the supply of letters of credit had a large effect on world trade and the global economy. Further, such a shrinkage affected developing countries even more.