Goldman, Hungary and Regulators
The International Monetary Fund, the ambulance service for the global economy, announced late last night that Hungary would be receiving an "exceptional level" of financial help from it - without specifying how many billions of dollars in loans that would be.
Earlier it had said that it had agreed to provide $16.5bn in standby loans for Ukraine.
It's a fair bet Hungary will be receiving rather more than that, because its dependence on loans from overseas banks and financial institutions is greater than Ukraine's.
Official figures that are out of date and are therefore an understatement show that Hungary has borrowed well over $100bn from abroad, equivalent to more than its entire annual economic output.
Ukraine's foreign debt is about half that.
So Ukraine is less exposed than Hungary to the global trend of capital being withdrawn from economies perceived - rightly or wrongly - as weak.
Although Ukraine has a special problem of its own, namely its dependence on steel manufacture: there has been a serious worsening in Ukraine's trade balance caused by the slump in steel prices, which in turn has been caused by the worldwide economic slowdown.
Ukraine and Hungary are trapped in the vice of the last phase of deleveraging, or the reduction in credit being provided by banks and other investors, and the decline in the real economy.
As for this most recent phase of the withdrawal of credit, which has caused financial crises for a series of emerging economies in eastern Europe, Asia and South America (see "Now there are runs on countries") and also global falls in share prices, it was in a way wholly foreseeable.
It was caused, to a large extent, by an exceptional and unprecedented shrinkage in the prime brokerage industry, which in turn led to a serious reduction in the volume of credit extended to hedge funds, which in turn forced hedge funds to sell assets, especially those perceived as higher risk.
This contraction in loans provide through prime brokers was the inevitable consequence of the collapse of Lehman, but also - far more importantly - of the recent conversion into banks of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman are - by far - the biggest prime brokers, with Morgan Stanley the number one.
But as banks, they're prevented by regulators from lending as much relative to their capital resources as they had been as securities firms.
So the US authorities should have known - and presumably did know - that by allowing Morgan Stanley and Goldman to become banks they were in effect forcing a serious contraction in the hedge-fund industry, which in turn would lead to sales of all manner of assets held by hedge funds and precipitate turmoil throughout the financial economy.
Which, as if you needed telling, only goes to show that regulatory intervention carried out with the best of intentions can have consequences that - in the short term at least - can be very painful.