U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the number of potential U.S. home-loan defaults "will be significantly bigger" in 2008 than in 2007, the Wall Street Journal's online edition
"The nature of the problem will be significantly bigger next year because 2006 (mortgages) had lower underwriting standards, no amortization, and no down payments," Paulson said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, according to an excerpt on the newspaper's Web site.
"We'll watch carefully mortgages that will be reset," Paulson was quoted as saying.
The newspaper said Paulson was pressing the mortgage-service industry to help a broad range of borrowers become eligible for better loans instead of dealing with mortgage problems on a case-by-case basis.
Currency traders in Tokyo cited Paulson's comments as a factor in the dollar's fall to a two-year low of 108.89 yen on electronic trading platform EBS on Wednesday, the lowest since September 2005.