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The Coming Collapse of the Global Ponzi Scheme

The Coming Collapse of the Global Ponzi Scheme

money printing

It won’t be long before governments around the world, including the one in Washington, self-destruct.

Strong words, but anything less would be naïve.

As economist Herbert Stein once said, “If something cannot go on forever, it has a tendency to stop.” Case in point: fiat money political regimes. Interventionist economies of the West are in a fatal downward spiral, comparable to that of the Roman Empire in the second century, burdened with unsustainable debt and the antiprosperity policies of governments, especially the Green New Deal.

In the global Ponzi scheme, thin air and deceit substitute for sound money. As hedge-fund manager Mitch Feierstein wrote in Planet Ponzi, You dont solve a Ponzi scheme; you end it.” Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff

made some of their investors a whole lot poorer, but the world didn’t come crashing down as a result.

For that‌—‌for a Ponzi scheme that would threaten to bankrupt capitalism across the entire Western world‌—‌you need people much smarter than Ponzi or Madoff. You need time, you need energy, you need motivation. In a word, you need Wall Street.

But Wall Street alone doesn’t have the strength to deliver a truly cataclysmic outcome. If your ambition is to create havoc on the largest possible scale, you need access to a balance sheet running into the tens of trillions. You need power. You need prestige. You need a remarkable willingness to deceive. In a word, you need Washington.

As Gary North wrote in a brief review of Feierstein’s book, “The central banks have colluded with the national governments in order to fund huge increases of national debt, beyond what can ever be paid off. In other words, [Feierstein] has described government promises as part of a gigantic international Ponzi scheme.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The global bank credit crisis

The global bank credit crisis

Globally, further falls in consumer price inflation are now unlikely and there are yet further interest rate increases to come. Bond yields are already on the rise, and a new phase of a banking crisis will be triggered.

This article looks at the factors that have come together to drive interest rates higher, destabilising the entire global banking system. The contraction of bank credit is in its early stages, and that alone will push up interest costs for borrowers. We have an old fashioned credit crunch on our hands.

A new bout of price inflation, which more accurately is an acceleration of falling purchasing power for currencies, also leads to higher interest rates. Savage bear markets in financial and property values are bound to ensue, driving foreign investors to repatriate their funds. 

This will unwind much of the $32 trillion of foreign investment in the fiat dollar which has accumulated in the last fifty-two years. And BRICS’s deliberations for replacing the dollar as a trade settlement medium could not come at a worse time.

Global banking risks are increasing

Gradually, the alarm bells over credit are beginning to ring. Monetarist and Austrian School economists are hammering the point home about broad money, which almost everywhere is contracting. It is overwhelmingly comprised of deposits at the commercial banks. And this week, even China’s command economy has had credit problems exposed, with another large property developer, Country Garden Holdings missing bond payments.

A global cyclical downturn in bank credit is long overdue, and that is what we currently face. Empirical evidence of previous cycles, particularly 1929—1932, is that fear can spread though the banking cohort like wildfire as interbank credit lines are cut, loans are called in, and collateral liquidated…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Brace Yourselves, Because What They Have Planned Is Going To Absolutely Devastate The U.S. Economy

Brace Yourselves, Because What They Have Planned Is Going To Absolutely Devastate The U.S. Economy

Do you remember what happened in 2008?  Many people believe that another historic financial disaster is coming and that it will absolutely devastate the U.S. economy.  Earlier this week, I wrote about an investor named Michael Burry that has actually bet 1.6 billion dollars that the stock market is going to crash.  He made all the right moves in 2008, and he fully intends to be proven right once again in 2023.  Of course current conditions definitely resemble 2008 in so many ways.  The residential housing market is so dead right now, and commercial real estate prices are plummeting at a very frightening pace.  Unfortunately, officials at the Federal Reserve are making it quite clear that they are not done strangling the economy.

This week, mortgage rates jumped above the 7 percent mark to the highest level that we have seen in more than 20 years

Mortgage rates surpassed 7% this week, hitting the highest level in more than two decades.

The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage increased to 7.09% this week, up from 6.96% the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s release on Thursday. That’s the highest point since the first week of April 2002 and marks just the third time rates have exceeded 7% since then. The last times were in October and November of last year, when the rate reached 7.08%.

Needless to say, high mortgage rates have been crippling the housing market in recent months.

At the midpoint of this year, existing home sales were down a whopping 18.9 percent from the same time in 2022…

Total existing-home sales1 – completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – receded 3.3% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.16 million in June. Year-over-year, sales fell 18.9% (down from 5.13 million in June 2022).

…click on the above link to read the rest…

“Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini Warns Of Stagflationary Megathreat

“Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini Warns Of Stagflationary Megathreat

Though the threat of an exponential liquidity crisis is a conversation that Bloomberg should have been seriously addressing two years ago, it’s good to see that reality is finally hitting the mainstream media.  Nouriel Roubini, also known as “Dr. Doom” because he’s one of the few mainstream economists that’s not constantly touting the soft landing narrative, has been rather consistent in terms of covering the clash between credit liquidity, rising inflation and rising interest rates.  Now, he’s talking about an incoming stagflationary “megathreat” that will crush credit while prices continue to rise, compelling central bankers to continue raising rates.

The Catch-22 scenario that central banks have triggered should have been obvious to every economist as soon as they began tightening into the financial weakness and instability created by the covid lockdowns.  Instead, the narrative has been an ever escalating waiting game – Everyone was simply biding their time until the central bank pivot they assumed was coming.  Except, it didn’t happen.  As long as interest rates remain higher or continue to climb existing debt and new debt will continue to grow more expensive and less desirable.  The lifeblood of markets for the past 14 years has been near-zero interest rates and easy fiat money circulating through banking conduits.  Now, the dream is dead.

Roubini addresses the deeper problem in part when he notes the exposure of banks like SVB to bonds with declining value caused by rising rates.  What he misses, and it’s surely something Bloomberg does not want to talk about, is the issue of ESG related programs and lending that made up a sizable portion of SVB’s portfolio…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Peter Schiff: Bank Bailouts Will Devalue the Dollar

Peter Schiff: Bank Bailouts Will Devalue the Dollar

  BY    0   0

Peter Schiff appeared on NTD News to talk about the bank bailout and the March Federal Reserve meeting. During the conversation, Peter explained that everybody is going to pay for these bailouts because they will ultimately devalue the dollar as inflation skyrockets.

During his press conference after the March FOMC meeting, Jerome Powell said the banking system is “sound and resilient.” Peter said it’s not sound at all.

It’s a house of cards that is starting to collapse.”

Peter explained how the banking system became so unsound.

First, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates at zero for over a decade. During that time, banks loaded up on low-yielding, long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. With interest rates so low, they had to go out further on the yield curve. And the reason they were able to take so much risk is because the government guarantees bank accounts. That created a moral hazard. Customers didn’t care what the banks did with their money because they knew the government would bail them out.

Thanks to the mistakes the Fed has made since the 2008 crisis, we have a much bigger bubble now. The Fed caused the bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008, and then they inflated a bigger bubble to try to paper over those mistakes and kick the can down the road so that we wouldn’t have to deal with the full consequences of resolving all those mistakes. And of course, we just compounded the problem with bigger mistakes and now the US economy is poised on the biggest economic disaster in its history.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Fed, Central Banks Created the Current Crisis and Are on Course to Making Matters Worse

Fed, Central Banks Created the Current Crisis and Are on Course to Making Matters Worse

The incompetence of our financial regulators, most of all the Fed, is breathtaking. The great unwashed public and even wrongly-positioned members of the capitalist classes are suffering the consequences of Fed and other central banks being too fast out of the gate in unwinding years of asset-price goosing policies, namely QE and super low interest rates. The dislocations are proving to be worse than investors anticipated, apparently due to some banks having long-standing risk management and other weaknesses further stressed, and other banks that should have been able to navigate interest rate increases revealing themselves to be managed by monkeys.

What is happening now is the worst sort of policy meets supervisory failure, of not anticipating that the rapid rate increases would break some banks.1 Here we are, in less than two weeks, at close to the same level of bank failures as in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. From CNN:

And even mainstream media outlets are fingering the Fed:

 

As we’ll explain in due course, the regulators’ habitual “bailout now, think about what if anything to do about taxpayer/systemic protection later” is the worst imaginable response to this mess. For instance, US authorities have put in place what is very close to a full backstop of uninsured deposits (with ironically a first failer, First Republic, with its deviant muni-bond-heavy balance sheet falling between the cracks). But they are not willing to say that. So many uninsured depositors remained in freakout mode, not understanding how the facilities work. Yet the close-to-complete backstop of uninsured deposits amounted to another massive extension of the bank safety net.2

The ultimate reason the Fed did something so dopey as to put through aggressive rate hikes despite obvious bank and financial system exposure was central bank mission creep, of taking up the mantle of economy-minder-in-chief.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

For Fed, What Happens Today More Important Than Monday’s Mayhem

For Fed, What Happens Today More Important Than Monday’s Mayhem

It was clear from the get-go that Monday would be mayhem for the markets – and as it turned out, it proved a lot more than that, with two-year Treasury yields collapsing the most in decades.

At stake was not just the integrity of the financial system, but also the availability of liquidity.

Bloomberg cross-asset strategist, Ven Ram, notes that as of the start of the European morning, the markets appear a lot calmer, with Treasury yields having barely moved, the dollar attempting to claw some way back and stock futures a lot less jittery.

Shortly, we get the readout on inflation for February, with the median estimates for on-month and on-year numbers forecast to show a deceleration.

There are two ways this could play out from the Fed’s perspective.

Scenario I:

The tumult in the markets continues, centered on concerns about the soundness of other regional US banks, liquidity ebbs – as it always does when the markets need it the most!

In such a scenario, what happens with the February inflation prints becomes a sideshow.

In other words, even a surprise, higher-than-forecast print won’t bother the Fed much.

After all, inflation is a pre-existing problem – and the Fed has time to battle this

Scenario II:

If the market jitters calm down, the inflation numbers – together with last week’s payroll data and upcoming retail-sales data – will take regain their predominance.

Even so, the chance of the Fed raising rates by 50 basis points is pretty much zilch.

Calming the markets about the prospect of a systemic crisis towers head and shoulders over inflation fighting from the Fed’s perspective.

After all, when a patient suffering a chronic condition meets with an accident, you treat the patient for life-threatening injuries first.

The long-stay illness isn’t the priority of the hour, as every good doctor knows.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Fed Fears Complete Economic Collapse – Peter Schiff

Fed Fears Complete Economic Collapse – Peter Schiff

Money manager and economist Peter Schiff said in October the Federal Reserve “could NOT win the fight on inflation by raising interest rates.”  As inflation just turned up anew, it looks like he was right—again.  Schiff explains, “Based on the recent data we got . . . the inflation curve has bent back up.  The months of declining inflation are in the rearview mirror.  Now, we are going to see accelerating inflation . . . and I think before the year is over, we are going to take out that 9% inflation high last year in year over year CPI (Consumer price Index) . . . and what that is going to show is what the Fed has done thus far in its inflation fight is completely ineffective.  If the Fed is serious about fighting inflation, and I do not believe it is, it’s going to have to fight a lot harder than it has.  Interest rates need to go up much higher than anybody thinks, but that alone is not going to do the trick.  We also have to see a big contraction in consumer credit and lending standards rising so consumers can’t keep spending. . . . Consumers are running up credit card debt.  That is inflationary.  That is an expansion of the supply of credit.”

It gets worse when the Fed has to save the economy again.  Schiff predicts, “I think the Fed is going to have to throw in the towel on the inflation fight because it will be fighting something it fears more, which is a complete economic collapse. . . .The federal government may be legitimately forced to cut Medicare and Social Security instead of illegitimately cutting it through inflation. . . .We have this collapsing standard of living, but think about it as a tax.  This is what Americans are paying…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Global Debt & Death Spiral – John Rubino

Global Debt & Death Spiral – John Rubino


Analyst and financial writer John Rubino says we’re are in a “debt and death spiral” that will force dramatic changes on the world.  Rubino explains, “The debt spiral part of this means things from here continue to get worse and worse for the big currencies of the world until they die.  In other words, until people lose faith in them, refuse to use them and hold them anymore until their value falls to their intrinsic value, which is zero. That manifests to hyperinflation.  The value of the currency falls as opposed to the things you buy with it. . . . Things feel basically okay for a long time as long as governments could force interest rates down to really low levels.  The side effects of that are massive money creation and, eventually, inflation.  That’s what we are dealing with now.  So, here we go.  Welcome to the end game for the world’s big currencies.”

Rubino contends things have gotten so out of control that there is no stopping what is coming.  Rubino says, “We are in the part of the cycle now where things just get worse, and there is nothing we can do about it.  You are going to see companies that have borrowed huge amounts of money to buy back their stock, and now they see their interest costs explode.  Governments around the world have the same problem, and there is nothing central banks can do about this.  The next stage of this is when everybody realizes that there is no fix.  Daddy is not going to come home and take care of all of this, and there is no adult supervision.  The financial markets are basically on their own with so much debt that there is nothing left to do…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

A tale of two worlds

A tale of two worlds

In the war between the western alliance and the Asian axis, the media focus is on the Ukrainian battlefield. The real war is in currencies, with Russia capable of destroying the dollar.

So far, Putin’s actions have been relatively passive. But already, both Russia and China have accumulated enough gold to implement gold standards. It is now overwhelmingly in their interests to do so.

From Sergey Glazyev’s recent article in a Russian business newspaper, it is clear that settlement of trade balances between members, dialog partners, and associate members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) optionally will be in gold. Furthermore, the Russian economy would benefit enormously from a decline in borrowing rates from current levels of over 13% to a level more consistent with sound money.

To understand the consequences, in this article the comparison is made between the western alliance’s fiat currency and deficit spending regime and the Russian-Chinese axis’s planned industrial revolution for some 3.8 billion people in the SCO family. China has a remarkable savings rate, which will underscore the investment capital for a rapid increase in Asian industrialisation, without inflationary consequences.

With a new round of military action in Ukraine shortly to kick off, it will be in Putin’s interest to move from passivity to financial aggression. It will not take much for him to undermine the entire western fiat currency system — a danger barely recognised by a gung-ho NATO military complex.

Introduction

In the geopolitical tussle between the old and new hegemons, we see the best of strategies and the worst of strategies, where belief is pitted against credulity. It is the season of light and the season of darkness, the spring of hope and the winter of despair…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Companies in UK Are Hitting the Wall at Fastest Rate Since Global Financial Crisis

Companies in UK Are Hitting the Wall at Fastest Rate Since Global Financial Crisis

As the price of everything, including debt, continues to soar, life is getting harder and harder for the UK’s heavily indebted businesses. 

Business insolvencies in the UK surged by 57% in 2022, to 22,109, according to the latest data from the Insolvency Service, a UK government agency that deals with bankruptcies and companies in liquidation. It is the highest number of insolvencies registered annually since 2009, at the height of the Global Financial Crisis.

Last year “was the year the insolvency dam burst,” said Christina Fitzgerald, the president of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body. Insolvencies peaked in the fourth quarter, underscoring the compounding pressures on companies grappling with surging costs and rapidly slowing economic activity.

“Supply-chain pressures, rising inflation and high energy prices have created a ‘trilemma’ of headwinds which many management teams will be experiencing simultaneously for the first time,” Samantha Keen, UK turnround and restructuring strategy partner at EY-Parthenon and president of the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), told the Financial Times. “This stress is now deepening and spreading to all sectors of the economy as falling confidence affects investment decisions, contract renewals and access to credit.”

Other headwinds include soaring interest rates, falling consumer demand, nationwide strikes, lingering Brexit-induced supply chain issues, an epidemic of quiet quitting and both chronic and acutely bad government.

Closest to the Edge

None of this, of course, should come as a surprise. Of all the large economies in Europe, the UK’s is arguably closest to the cliff edge. As newspaper headlines trumpeted this week, the UK economy this year will probably fare worse than Russia’s sanction-hit economy, according to the IMF’s latest forecasts. But then the same could be said of many other European economies, including Germany and Italy.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

You Think the Global Economy Is Brightening? Beware: The Big Hit Is Yet to Come

You Think the Global Economy Is Brightening? Beware: The Big Hit Is Yet to Come

decreasing graph

Relief is spreading among economic analysts and stock market experts. Energy prices are decreasing noticeably. The energy supply this winter seems secure; in Europe, government support for consumers and producers is available if needed. China is turning away from its zero-covid policy, and production is ramping up again. High goods price inflation is still a major concern for consumers and producers, but central banks are delivering at least some interest rate hikes to hopefully reduce currency devaluation. So should we bid farewell to crisis and recession worries? Unfortunately, no.

Because there is an overall economic development that is tantamount to a storm but remains unnamed by many experts and investors. And that is the global contraction of the real money supply. What does that mean? The real money supply represents the actual purchasing power of money. For example: You have ten dollars, and one apple costs one dollar. So with your ten dollars, you can buy ten apples. If the apple price increases to, say, two dollars per piece, the purchasing power of the ten dollars falls to five apples. It becomes obvious that the real money supply is determined by the interplay between the nominal money supply and the prices of goods.

The real money supply in an economy can decrease when the nominal money supply goes down or goods prices rise. This is exactly what is currently happening around the world. The chart below shows the annual growth rate of the real money supply in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 1981 to October 2022. The real money supply recently contracted by 7.3 percent year on year. There has never been anything like this before. What is the reason?

polleit 1

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Why Recession Is Imminent, In Three Charts

Why Recession Is Imminent, In Three Charts

Any one of these would be enough to make the case

The idea that the world’s central banks can inflate the biggest financial bubble in human history — appropriately called the everything bubble — and then deflate it gently into a soft landing is mathematically and philosophically impossible. So the question is not if but when we get a bust that’s commensurate with the boom.

Based on the following three indicators, that bust is imminent.

Massively inverted yield curve
When short-term interest rates rise above long-term rates, a slowdown usually follows. That’s because traditional banks (though not necessarily the monstrous hedge funds that the biggest banks have evolved into) make most of their money by borrowing short and lending long. In normal times, long-term rates are higher than short-term, reflecting the higher risk of lending into the distant future, so the spread between a bank’s borrowing and lending rates produces a nice spread, which translates into a decent profit.

Invert the yield curve by pushing short-term rates above long-term rates, and this business model breaks down. Banks stop making suddenly-unprofitable loans, their customers have less money to spend and invest, and the economy shrinks.

Note two things on the following chart, which depicts the spread between 10-year and 2-year Treasury bond yields. First, when this spread went slightly negative (i.e., 2-year rates higher than 10-year) in 2000 and 2007, recession followed within a year or so. Second, today’s yield curve is a lot more than slightly negative. It is, in fact, one for the record books, implying that the credit markets expect a dramatic slowdown.

Shrinking money supply
A Ponzi scheme needs ever-greater amounts of money flowing in to avoid collapse. Today’s global economy is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme. Therefore, it needs an increasing money supply to function.

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Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

Is the Fed trying to wean the markets off monetary policy? Such was an interesting premise from Alastair Crooke via the Strategic Culture Foundation. To wit:

“The Fed however, may be attempting to implement a contrarian, controlled demolition of the U.S. bubble-economy through interest rate increases. The rate rises will not slay the inflation ‘dragon’ (they would need to be much higher to do that). The purpose is to break a generalised ‘dependency habit’ on free money.”

That is a powerful assessment. If true, there is an overarching impact on the economic and financial markets over the next decade. Such is critical when considering the impact on financial market returns over the previous decade.

“The chart below shows the average annual inflation-adjusted total returns (dividends included) since 1928. I used the total return data from Aswath Damodaran, a Stern School of Business professor at New York University. The chart shows that from 1928 to 2021, the market returned 8.48% after inflation. However, notice that after the financial crisis in 2008, returns jumped by an average of four percentage points for the various periods.

Monetary, Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

We can trace those outsized returns back to the Fed’s and the Government’s fiscal policy interventions during that period. Following the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve intervened when the market stumbled or threatened the “wealth effect.”

Monetary, Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

Many suggest the Federal Reserve’s monetary interventions do not affect financial markets. However, the correlation between the two is extremely high.

Monetary, Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

The result of more than a decade of unbridled monetary experiments led to a massive wealth gap in the U.S. Such has become front and center of the political landscape.

Monetary, Monetary Policy. Is The Fed Trying To Wean Markets Off Of It?

It isn’t just the massive expansion in household net worth since the Financial Crisis that is troublesome. The problem is nearly 70% of that household net worth became concentrated in the top 10% of income earners.

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2023: Expect a financial crash followed by major energy-related changes

2023: Expect a financial crash followed by major energy-related changes

Why is the economy headed for a financial crash? It appears to me that the world economy hit Limits to Growth about 2018 because of a combination of diminishing returns in resource extraction together with rising population. The Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying financial manipulations hid these problems for a few years, but now, as the world economy tries to reopen, the problems are back with a vengeance.

Figure 1. World primary energy consumption per capita based on BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy. Same chart shown in post, Today’s Energy Crisis Is Very Different from the Energy Crisis of 2005.

In the period between 1981 and 2022, the economy was lubricated by a combination of ever-rising debt, falling interest rates, and the growing use of Quantitative Easing. These financial manipulations helped to hide the rising cost of fossil fuel extraction after 1970. Even more money supply was added in 2020. Now central bankers are trying to squeeze the excesses out of the system using a combination of higher interest rates and Quantitative Tightening.

After central bankers brought about recessions in the past, the world economy was able to recover by adding more energy supply. However, this time we are dealing with a situation of true depletion; there is no good way to recover by adding more energy supplies to the system. Instead, the only way the world economy can recover, at least partially, is by squeezing some non-essential energy uses out of the system. Hopefully, this can be done in such a way that a substantial part of the world economy can continue to operate in a manner close to that in the past.

One approach to making the economy more efficient in its energy use is by greater regionalization. If countries can start trading almost entirely with nearby neighbors, this will reduce the world’s energy consumption…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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