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Rickards: This Time IS Different

Rickards: This Time IS Different

Rickards: This Time IS Different

Stocks stumbled out of the gate today, at least partially on fears about a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

South Korea, which did an excellent job containing the virus, has reported a new batch of cases. Japan and Singapore also reported new cases. Infections are increasing in Germany as well, where lockdown restrictions are being lifted.

We can also expect a rise in U.S. cases as several states lift their own restrictions.

From both epidemiological and market perspectives, the pandemic has a long way to go. Its economic effects are already without precedent…

In the midst of this economic collapse, many investors and analysts return reflexively to the 2008 financial panic.

That crisis was severe, and of course trillions of dollars of wealth were lost in the stock market. That comparison is understandable, but it does not begin to scratch the surface.

This collapse is worse than 2008, worse than the 2000 dot-com meltdown, worse than the 1998 Russia-LTCM panic, worse than the 1994 Mexican crisis and many more panics.

You have to go back to 1929 and the start of the Great Depression for the right frame of reference.

But even that does not explain how bad things are today. After October 1929, the stock market fell 90% and unemployment hit 24%. But that took three years to fully play out, until 1932.

In this collapse the stock market fell 30% in a few weeks and unemployment is over 20%, also in a matter of a few weeks.

Since the stock market has further to fall and unemployment will rise further, we will get to Great Depression levels of collapse in months, not years. How much worse can the economy get?

Well, “Dr. Doom,” Nouriel Roubini, can give you some idea.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Total system failure will give rise to new economy

Total system failure will give rise to new economy

Covid-19 driven collapse of global supply chains, demand and mobility will painfully spawn next great tech-led economic models

Is the world on a collision course with the financial and economic equivalent of a meteor impact with shock wave?

Nobody, anywhere, could have predicted what we are now witnessing: in a matter of only a few weeks the accumulated collapse of global supply chains, aggregate demand, consumption, investment, exports, mobility.

Nobody is betting on an L-shaped recovery anymore – not to mention a V-shaped one. Any projection of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 gets into falling-off-a-cliff territory.

In industrialized economies, where roughly 70% of the workforce is in services, countless businesses in myriad industries will fail in a rolling financial collapse that will eclipse the Great Depression.

That spans the whole spectrum of possibly 47 million US workers soon to be laid off – with the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 32% – all the way to Oxfam’s warning that by the time the pandemic is over half of the world’s population of 7.8 billion people could be living in poverty.According to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most optimistic 2020 scenario – certainly to become outdated before the end of Spring – global trade would shrink by 13%.  A more realistic and gloomier WTO scenario sees global trade plunging by 32%.

What we are witnessing is not only a massive globalization short circuit: it’s a cerebral shock extended to three billion hyperconnected, simultaneously confined people. Their bodies may be blocked, but they are electromagnetic beings and their brains keep working – with possible, unforeseen political and other consequences.

Soon we will be facing three major, interlocking debates: the management (in many cases appalling) of the crisis; the search for future models; and the reconfiguration of the world-system.

This is just a first approach in what should be seen as a do-or-die cognitive competition.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The COVID-19 Tripwire

The COVID-19 Tripwire

“You better tuck that in. You’re gonna’ get that caught on a tripwire.

 – Lieutenant Dan, Forrest Gump

There is a popular game called Jenga in which a tower of rectangular blocks is arranged to form a sturdy tower. The objective of the game is to take turns removing blocks without causing the tower to fall. At first, the task is as easy as the structure is stable. However, as more blocks are removed, the structure weakens. At some point, a key block is pulled, and the tower collapses.

Yes, the collapse is a direct cause of the last block being removed, but piece by piece the structure became increasingly unstable. The last block was the catalyst, but the turns played leading up to that point had just as much to do with the collapse. It was bound to happen; the only question was, which block would cause the tower to give way?

A Coronavirus

Pneumonia of unknown cause first detected in Wuhan, China, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019. The risks of it becoming a global pandemic (formally labeled COVID-19) was apparent by late January. Unfortunately, it went mostly unnoticed in the United States as China was slow to disclose the matter and many Americans were distracted by impeachment proceedings, bullish equity markets, and other geopolitical disruptions.

The S&P 500 peaked on February 19, 2020, at 3393, up over 5% in the first two months of the year. Over the following four weeks, the stock market dropped 30% in one of the most vicious corrections of broad asset prices ever seen. The collapse erased all of the gains achieved during the prior 3+ years of the Trump administration. The economy likely entered a recession in March.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: Fed’s Response To Coronavirus Is Just “Delaying The Day Of Reckoning”

Peter Schiff: Fed’s Response To Coronavirus Is Just “Delaying The Day Of Reckoning”

Peter Schiff appeared on the Quoth the Raven podcast (iTunesSpotifyYouTube) on Friday, where he and host Chris Irons discussed the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, gold, bitcoin and why he thinks the Fed is not going to be able to stop the upcoming collapse of the financial system. Here are a couple of Schiff’s thoughts from the interview and a link to the full podcast.

Schiff on Gold

“I’ve never seen a less loved bull market in gold than the one we have now,” Schiff says. “The gold traders are so afraid of this rally, they don’t believe in it, they think gold is going to fall any minute now. Meanwhile, we just keep on rising.”

Schiff says in the past, when you don’t see gold miners confirm the rally in gold that it could be a harbinger of bad news. But “gold just keeps rising” Schiff notes, despite that. “I was buying more gold stocks on Friday. I thought it was just an incredible opportunity to increase an allocation that I already had.”

“I don’t think there’s any real money yet” in gold, he says. “There’s day traders in there. But I don’t think you’ve seen pension funds or endowments make any strategic shift into mining stocks,” Schiff says.

“The physical buyers of gold are basically safe haven buyers. When you’re in an environment where central banks are printing money, if you really just want to play it safe, if you want to be out of stocks and out of bonds, what do you buy? You buy gold. You buy real value. Real money.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

David Stockman on What Triggers the Next Financial Collapse

David Stockman on What Triggers the Next Financial Collapse

financial collapse

International Man: You have sounded the alarm on a coming financial crisis of historic proportions. How do Trump’s trade policies figure into your view that a crisis is coming?

David Stockman: Trump’s trade policies only create more risk and rot down below.

They’re just kicking the can down the road. With this latest move by the Fed, they have cut the interest rates three times and short-term rates are back at 1.55%. They’re pumping their balance sheet back up—it’s up $300 billion just since September.

The Fed has reverted to all of the things that have created the underlying rot—and that means when finally things break loose, it’s going to be far worse than it would have otherwise been.

Given that they’re kicking the can down the road, they’re building the pressure in the system to really explosive levels.

The trade chaos that Trump’s creating is probably the catalyst that will bring down the whole house of cards.

At end of the day, it’s about the Red Ponzi. The world economy would be not nearly as good as it looks had the Chinese not been borrowing like there’s no tomorrow and building regardless of whether its efficient or profitable.

This has kept the global economy inching forward on a totally artificial basis. You could track it; some people call it the “China credit impulse.” Every time they get into trouble, they turn on the printing press. That causes commodity prices to rise and industrial activity and trade to pick up. It shows up in the GDP numbers, and then everybody gets all excited.

The fear of recession that we had a while back has now abated. We’re back to another global reflation meme, but none of this is sustainable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Getting rid of Debt: How About Replacing Money with Social Credit?

Getting rid of Debt: How About Replacing Money with Social Credit?

Mark Twain had a genial idea with his story “The One Million Pound Bank Note” published in 1853. It was such a huge amount of money that it couldn’t be exchanged, yet it gave its owner all sorts of perks and goods. It was, in a certain way, an anticipation of what we call today the “social credit score” obtained on the various social media services on the Web. It is a form of money that can be owned, but cannot be exchanged — in most cases, you can’t even go negative with your social credit. So, no debt, no bankruptcy. Would it be possible to build a financial system based on this concept? Not easy, but also an idea being examined nowadays, especially in China with their state-owned social credit system (shèhuì xìnyòng tǐxì). The text below is derived from the chapter on financial collapses of my new book “The Seneca Strategy,” to be published in later 2019.

The whole problem of financial collapses is the result of the existence of money. But what is money exactly? Without going into the various theories of money that economists are still discussing, we can say that once, money was something that everybody agreed on: a weight of precious metals. After all, the British currency is still defined in units of weight, even though one pound (in monetary terms) does not weigh a pound (in physical terms). Still, up to not too long ago, money was simply a token representing a physical entity, typically a certain weight of gold and silver. But things changed a lot with time and, with the 20th century, the convertibility of the dollar into precious metals was more theoretical than real. In 1971 president Nixon formally canceled it.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Wave Of High-Tech Authoritarianism

The Coming Wave Of High-Tech Authoritarianism

One of history’s hard lessons is that collapsing financial systems beget authoritarian politics. 

Today’s world, alas, is following this script, as rising debts lead to wrenching political changes in nearly every country that holds free elections, while fascism and socialism are once again being taken seriously by people who in normal times would inhabit the political center. 

But there’s one big difference this time around: the advanced state of social control technology. Past governments, when trying to tamp down dissent, were limited to blunt-instrument policies like curfews, phone taps and press shutdowns. Today’s would-be Big Brothers can do vastly more, and in many cases will use the coming financial/political emergency as an excuse to place Orwell’s proverbial boot on their citizens’ necks. 

Some examples from a recent Wall Street Journal article titled The Autocrat’s New Tool Kit:

• Chinese authorities are now using the tools of big data to detect departures from “normal” behavior among Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang region—and then to identify each supposed deviant for further state attention. 

• The Egyptian government plans to relocate from Cairo later this year to a still-unnamed new capital that will have, as the project’s spokesman put it, “cameras and sensors everywhere,” with “a command center to control the entire city.” 

• Moscow already has some 5,000 cameras installed with facial-recognition technology, and it can match faces of interest to photos from passport databases, police files and social media.

But scary as these things sound, they’re crude compared to what’s coming. From the same WSJ article:

“Microtargeting” enables governments to build personality assessments of citizens and tailor propaganda for targets’ psychological weak spots. Russia’s Internet Research Agency reportedly harvested data from Facebook to craft specific messages for individual voters during the 2016 US presidential race. Private firms are developing artificial intelligence that can automate this customization for whole populations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

Planetary Collapse Threatens Our Survival: A New Study Says That More Than 1,200 Species “Will Almost Certainly Face Extinction”

We are witnessing a worldwide environmental collapse, and nobody seems to know how to stop it.  As you will see below, a study that was just released that looked at more than 5,000 species of birds, mammals and amphibians discovered that nearly a quarter of them “will almost certainly face extinction”.  Never before has our society faced such a massive collapse of life on a planetary scale, and yet the vast majority of the population doesn’t seem concerned about what is happening.  Species after species is being permanently wiped out, and most of us couldn’t care less.

The time for action is now.  According to this new study, over 1,200 species will soon be extinct unless dramatic action is taken.  The following comes from the Guardian

More than 1,200 species globally face threats to their survival in more than 90% of their habitat and “will almost certainly face extinction” without conservation intervention, according to new research.

Scientists working with Australia’s University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society have mapped threats faced by 5,457 species of birds, mammals and amphibians to determine which parts of a species’ habitat range are most affected by known drivers of biodiversity loss.

Once these species are gone, they will be gone forever.

And remember, this study from Australia only included larger creatures such as birds, mammals and amphibians.  The situation is far more dire when we look at what is happening to the insect world.  The following is an excerpt from my previous article entitled “Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why

Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet.  A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year.  If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119.  And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.

I write a lot about the inevitable collapse of our economic systems, but it could definitely be argued that our environment is already in a very advanced stage of “collapse”.  According to this new research, insects are going extinct at a rate that is “eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles”…

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Perhaps the entire world will come together and will stop destroying the planet and we can reverse this trend before it is too late.

Unfortunately, you and I both know that this is extremely unlikely to happen.

And if it doesn’t happen, the researchers that conducted this scientific review insist that the consequences will be “catastrophic to say the least”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where Will The “Pending” Financial Crisis Originate?

Where Will The “Pending” Financial Crisis Originate?

– Case for a pending financial collapse is well grounded warns Rickards
– “Ticking time bomb” the Federal Reserve has created is set to go off…
– Economist warns U.S. high-yield debt, default of “junk bonds” could cause next crisis
– Systemic risk is “more dangerous than ever” as “entire system is larger than before”

– Protect wealth by allocating at least 10% of assets in physical gold and silver


Source: BofA Merrill Lynch via Marketwatch.com

from The Daily Reckoning:

The case for a pending financial collapse is well grounded. Financial crises occur on a regular basis including 1987, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2007-08.

That averages out to about once every five years for the past thirty years. There has not been a financial crisis for ten years so the world is overdue. It’s also the case that each crisis is bigger than the one before and requires more intervention by the central banks.

The reason has to do with the system scale. In complex dynamic systems such as capital markets, risk is an exponential function of system scale. Increasing market scale correlates with exponentially larger market collapses.

This means a market panic far larger than the Panic of 2008.

Today, systemic risk is more dangerous than ever because the entire system is larger than before.

Due to central bank intervention, total global debt has increased by about $150 trillion over the past 15 years. Too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, have a larger percentage of the total assets of the banking system and have much larger derivatives books.

Each credit and liquidity crisis starts out differently and ends up the same. Each crisis begins with distress in a particular overborrowed sector and then spreads from sector to sector until the whole world is screaming, “I want my money back!”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fourth Turning & War of the Worlds

THE FOURTH TURNING & WAR OF THE WORLDS

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“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

The paragraph above captures everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen during this Fourth Turning. It was written over two decades ago, but no one can deny its accuracy regarding our present situation. The spark was a financial crash. The response to the financial crash by the financial and governmental entities, along with their Deep State co-conspirators who created the financial collapse due to their greed and malfeasance, led to the incomprehensible election of Donald Trump, as the deplorables in flyover country evoked revenge upon the corrupt establishment.

The chain reaction of unyielding responses by the left and the right accelerates at a breakneck pace, with absolutely no possibility of compromise. A new emergency or winner take all battle seems to be occurring on a weekly basis, with the mid-term elections as the likely trigger for the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tenth Anniversary Of Financial Collapse, Preparing For The Next Crash

Tenth Anniversary Of Financial Collapse, Preparing For The Next Crash

Ten years ago, there was panic in Washington, DC, New York City and financial centers around the world as the United States was in the midst of an economic collapse. The crash became the focus of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain and was followed by protests that created a popular movement, which continues to this day.

Banks: Bailed Out; The People: Sold Out

On the campaign trail, in March 2008, Obama blamed mismanagement of the economy on both Democrats and Republicans for rewarding financial manipulation rather than economic productivity. He called for funds to protect homeowners from foreclosure and to stabilize local governments and urged a 21st Century regulation of the financial system. John McCain opposed federal intervention, saying the country should not bail out banks or homeowners who knowingly took financial risks.

By September 2008, McCain and Obama met with President George W. Bush and together they called for a $700 billion bailout of the banks, not the people. Obama and McCain issued a joint statement that called the bank bailout plan “flawed,” but said, “the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.” Obama expressed “outrage” at the “crisis,” which was “a direct result of the greed and irresponsibility that has dominated Washington and Wall Street for years.”

By October 2008, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), or bank bailout, had recapitalized the banks, the Treasury had stabilized money market mutual funds and the FDIC had guaranteed the bank debts. The Federal Reserve began flowing money to banks, which would ultimately total almost twice the $16 trillion claimed in a federal audit. Researchers at the University of Missouri found that the Federal Reserve gave over $29 trillion to the banks. These are historically these are signs of a coming recession.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Coming Collapse

The Coming Collapse

Mr. Fish / Truthdig

The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate power and the mandarins of the two major political parties, in which we don’t count. We will wrest back political control by dismantling the corporate state, and this means massive and sustained civil disobedience, like that demonstrated by teachers around the country this year. If we do not stand up we will enter a new dark age.

The Democratic Party, which helped build our system of inverted totalitarianism, is once again held up by many on the left as the savior. Yet the party steadfastly refuses to address the social inequality that led to the election of Trump and the insurgency by Bernie Sanders. It is deaf, dumb and blind to the very real economic suffering that plagues over half the country. It will not fight to pay workers a living wage. It will not defy the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to provide Medicare for all. It will not curb the voracious appetite of the military that is disemboweling the country and promoting the prosecution of futile and costly foreign wars. It will not restore our lost civil liberties, including the right to privacy, freedom from government surveillance, and due process. It will not get corporate and dark money out of politics.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Our Approaching Winter of Discontent

Our Approaching Winter of Discontent

The tragedy is so few act when the collapse is predictably inevitable, but not yet manifesting in daily life.

That chill you feel in the financial weather presages an unprecedented–and for most people, unexpectedly severe–winter of discontent. Rather than sugarcoat what’s coming, let’s speak plainly for a change: none of the promises that have been made to you will be kept.

This includes explicit promises to provide income security and healthcare entitlements, etc., and implicit promises that don’t need to be stated: a currency that holds its value, high-functioning public infrastructure, etc.

Nearly “free” (to you) healthcare: no.

Generous public pensions: no.

Social Security with an equivalent purchasing power to the checks issued today: no.

As for the implicit promises:

A national currency that holds its value into the future: no.

High-functioning public infrastructure: maybe in a few places, but not something to be taken for granted everywhere.

A working democracy in which common citizens can affect change even if the power structure defends a dysfunctional and corrupt status quo: no.

A higher education system that prepares its graduates for secure jobs in the real-world economy: on average, no.

Cheap, abundant fossil fuels and electricity: during recessionary head-fakes, yes; but as a permanent entitlement: no.

High returns on conventional capital (the kind created and distributed by central banks): no.

A government that can borrow endless trillions of dollars with no impact on interest rates or the real economy: no.

Pay raises that keep up with real-world inflation: no.

Ever-rising corporate profits: no.

You get the idea: the status quo will be unable to keep the myriad promises made to the public, implicitly and explicitly. The reason is not difficult to understand:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Albert Edwards: “We Just Had A Small Taste Of The Coming Financial Collapse” 

What is the outcome when three market skeptics sit down for dinner to discuss the future of the global economy? Whatever it is, it’s hardly optimistic.

In his latest note released moments after the big CPI upside surprise and titled, what else, “We just had a small taste of coming financial collapse. Still feeling lucky?“, SocGen’s permabearish Albert Edwards writes that he had dinner this week with “two of the great, London based, sellside macro analysts,” George Magnus (formally UBS Chief Economist and now at the China Centre, Oxford University), and Nomura’s Bob Janjuah. This is what was discussed:

In the aftermath of last week’s surge in equity volatility among many of the topics we discussed was the extraordinary ballooning of the US budget towards 6% of GDP at this late stage of the cycle. My view is that this fiscal expansion is probably the most foolhardy escapade in modern economic policy history.

Here Edwards posits that while he agrees that US corporate taxation is anomalously high, “it is the timing of the fiscal stimulus that is utterly ridiculous and will only accelerate the collapse of US financial markets as the Fed hikes rates even more quickly.”

That also happens to be his key thesis: Trump’s tax cuts will so overheat the economy, that the outcome will be another deflationary crash.

While he returns to the topic of the unprecedented fiscal stimulus at a time when the economy already appears to be overheating, Edwards first points out two charts we showed last week, namely the technical breakout in the 10Y and what that could mean for risk assets. Quote Edwards:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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