toxic assets

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Financial instruments for which there is no longer a functioning market. This occurs when the value of assets in a particular class has become highly uncertain and those holding them are unable to sell at the very low prices that buyers would demand. The term was popularized in the financial crash that followed the subprime lending crisis of 2008, when banks were unable to accept current market prices for the complex derivative products in which they had invested. See also TARP.

Subjects: Financial Institutions and Services — Accounting.

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