In the 4th of February, we published a blog entry detailing the similarities of the current stock market environment with that before the stock market crash in 1987. On February 5th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) experienced the worst daily point decline of its history. Since then, the stock market has recovered, but are we out of the woods?

At the aforementioned entry, we also warned that the situation in the global economy actually resembles more of the time before the Great Depression than that before of the Black Monday in 1987. Worryingly, the same holds for the US equity markets. In fact, almost all of the developments that led to the Great Crash of 1929 are already visible in the US. We may thus be heading towards the worst asset market crash in 90 years.

Prequisites: The ‘Roaring Twenties’

The 1929 crash marked the end of the ‘Roaring Twenties’. The era got its name from consumer and stock market booms driven by the automobile and building sectors. The gold standard and the neutralization of all gold purchases from abroad by the newly created central bank, Federal Reserve or Fed, controlled the consumer price inflation. Due to low inflation, Fed had only limited incentives to intervene on the speculation by increasing the short-term interest rates. The easy credit era was let to persist fueling the boom in the consumer durables, commercial property market, automobile industry and the stock markets.

The tide switched in January 1928. The Fed decided that the boom had gone far enough and started to raise its discount rate and sell its holdings of government securities in effort to stem the speculation. But, rising money market rates made the brokers’ loans viable options for the bank loans because the former were mostly funded by the large balance sheets of corporations.

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