DEFINITION of 'Economic Tsunami'

A term used to describe a set of economic forces that are propelled by a single triggering event and which creates significant financial distress and destruction. As with a natural tsunami, in an economic tsunami the resulting effects can be felt far and wide, across numerous geographic regions and/or industrial sectors.

BREAKING DOWN 'Economic Tsunami'

For example, in 2008 the subprime mortgage meltdown in the U.S. created an economic tsunami that effectively froze world credit markets. The resulting impact was devastating and included the government takeover of the secondary mortgage market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the collapse of investment bank titans Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the bailout of insurance giant AIG and near-bankruptcy of the country of Iceland.

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