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According to Clayton’s first quarter U.S. Central investment report, losses from mortgage backed securities aren’t expected to peak until early 2011, when principal and interest distribution also peaks. The firm said a number of “interdependent economic variables” will determine if its $2.2 billion base case loss estimate holds true; in particular, home price appreciation will have the greatest impact.

Credit loss estimates vary widely when comparing optimistic, base and pessimistic scenarios, from a best-case $500 million write down to a worst-case loss of nearly $6.5 billion.

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