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Panic in Real Estate

COMMENT: I live in central West Texas, I am passing on to you the fact that there is a “rush” of sales in rural property’s. Houses with small amounts of land attached are “flying off of the shelves” so to speak. This is occurring throughout all of West Texas and in the Panhandle. The effort to getting out of the cities. Even cities as small as 25,000 is in full swing! People are well aware of the potential of what is in the near future and are not sitting around wondering what they should do.

They are acting!

J

REPLY: There is a massive exodus from California and New York in particular. Even in North New Jersey, houses are selling in just days and over asking prices for cash. People are bailing out of New York City in herds. Here in Florida, condos are selling as fast as they can get them up in St Petersbourg. These lockdowns and COVID restrictions that are insane in the major cities have set in motion a massive exodus that these authoritarians never anticipated. As they flex their muscles to try to make this so draconian over nothing, they are complete the cycle which has been pointing to the collapse of urbanization, and the rich will flee.

One of my favorite stories of the Sovereign Debt Crisis is the City of Mainz, in Germany, around 1440. The goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, which began the Printing Revolution that enabled the Renaissance to flourish with the printing press which could produce up to 3,600 pages per workday compared to the hand-copying by scribes which would produce only about 40 pages per day. The printing press then spread within several decades to over two hundred cities in a dozen European countries.

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

The Importance Of A Resilient Life

The Importance Of A Resilient Life

In the end, it will mean all the difference

My business partner Adam and I recently met with a successful business owner whose career began on Wall Street. The kind of guy who should be rooting for the system, because it has treated him well.

Instead, he was quite nervous about the sustainability of the status quo. “Starting in August,” he said, “Maybe it was the Amazon catching fire, maybe it was the negative interest rates – I don’t know for certain what the trigger was – but something has snapped.”

I agree. Because I feel it, too.

As do so many others. And not just those who regularly read PeakProsperity.com. Increasingly, even ‘mainstream’ voices are stating to report a profound sense that something really isn’t right. That — from the economy to geopolitics to the natural world — things are swiftly worsening.

Public perception is beginning to shift from complacency to fear. Countries are fast rejecting globalization in favor of nationalization. The holes in our ecosystem — vanishing birds, insects, amphibians and fish stocks — are becoming frighteningly obvious. The threats to life as we’re accustomed to it are becoming more visible while accelerating in both magnitude and frequency.

I expounded on the danger of this in my recent report It’s the Pace of Change That Kills You. Negative developments can spark their own vicious cycle. The more components of a system that fail, the more at risk the remaining components become.

That report was published just two weeks ago. Since then the world’s largest oil refinery was attacked by hostile forces and knocked out of commission, throwing the future integrity of the global oil market into question. Scientists just announced that North America has lost 29% of its total bird population (a drop of -3 billion) in the past half century.

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

What a Relief that the U.S. and Global Economies Are Booming

What a Relief that the U.S. and Global Economies Are Booming

Doing more of what’s failed for ten years will finally fail spectacularly..It was a huge relief to see the charts of the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) and the U.S. retail sector ETF (RTH): both have soared to the moon, signaling that both the U.S. and global economies are booming: the BDI is widely regarded as a proxy for global shipping, which is a proxy for global trade and economic activity.

Amazon is 18% of the RTH basket of retail stocks, but the rest are conventional bricks and mortar chains with online sales: Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco, CVS, etc.The American consumer must be ready, willing and able to spend freely since the retail sector is hitting new heights.

OK, now let’s change channels from soaring market valuations to the real-world economy. What planet are buyers of BDI and RTH on? Maybe the shipping and retail sectors are incredibly robust on Sirius B, but here on Planet Earth the global economy is weakening, trade is stagnating, shipping is in recession, and retail sales and profits are stagnating.

Lumping all American households in one basket gives a false signal of financial health. If we look at averages, debt levels are reasonable, incomes are notching higher and so expectations of rising household debt and spending are reasonable.

But this radically distorts reality: only the top 10% are creditworthy and have rising incomes; the bottom 90% are over-indebted, poor credit risks and their income is stagnant and/or precarious.

The top 10% of households–a mere 12 million households–are also precarious, as much of their wealth and income is based on insanely overvalued asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. The wealth effect fuels their free-spending ways (recall that the top 10% collect roughly half of all income and account for almost half of all consumer spending).

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

Is This Downturn A Repeat of 2008?

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Is This Downturn A Repeat of 2008?

Crashes differ, so be cautious about your assumptions

Even people who don’t follow the stock market closely are aware that the global economy is weakening and appears to be heading into recession.

For those who track the stock market, the signs are ominous: the U.S. was the last major market to notch gains this year and in October the U.S. market followed the rest of the global markets into an extended slide which has yet to end.

Just as sobering, key sectors such as oil, banking and utilities have crashed with alarming ferocity, reaching oversold levels last seen in 2008 as the global financial system was melting down.

These sectors crashing sends an unmistakable signal: the global economy is heading into a potentially severe recession and assets will not be rising in value in a recessionary environment. So better to sell risk-assets like stocks now rather than later, and rotate the money into safe assets such as Treasury bonds.

And indeed, households now own more Treasuries than the Federal Reserve–a remarkable shift in risk appetite.

Many other indicators of recession are in the news: auto and home sales and global trade are all slumping.

Are we in a repeat of the global financial meltdown and recession of 2008-09? The sharp drop in equities is certainly reminiscent of 2008. Indeed, the December decline is the worst in a decade. Or are we entering a different kind of recession, the equivalent of uncharted waters?

And if we are entering a recession, what can central banks and governments do to ease the financial pain and damage? We can’t be sure of much, but we can be relatively confident central banks and states will respond to the cries to “do something.”  This poses two questions: what actions can central banks/states take, and will those policies work or will they backfire and make the recession worse?

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

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

The Ghost Of Christmas Future

Here in the brief period between Christmas and New year’s, as a writer I am obligated to say happy, wishful things. I have to confess, I’m just not feeling it this year, so I’ll just do the minimum here and return to being a curmudgeon, because that’s what the times call for.

So, happy new year. I hope everything works out well for you in 2019.

There, with that behind us we can now return our attention to the true state of the world, which is deteriorating and getting worse.

For most people things will be decidedly worse, not better, as things progress along their current trajectories. The only planet we’ve got to live on is being killed by human activity and gross inattention, while economically the greatest and most ill-advised credit bubble in all of human history flirts with the sort of sudden disaster that follows shortly after the failure of one’s reserve parachute.

As I’ve often repeated, I truly wish this weren’t the case.  I don’t have a “bummer gene” that relishes bad news nor do I enjoy being “that guy” who says what no one wants to hear.

Many of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.  You, too, had to keep your lips zipped over the holidays lest the strained family small talk and opening of cheaply-made forgettable gifts be ruined by any talk of ‘reality’.  Sure, everyone can inwardly wince at uncle Jack’s sixth bourbon and tolerate the buffoonery and social awkwardness sure to follow because  “it’s only once a year.”

But collapsing insect populations, species loss, shrinking aquifers, and the utter betrayal of the younger generations by the “olders” running the fiscal and monetary policies of the world are not as easily dismissed. There’s no relief at the end of the day when the problem drives itself home.

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

Every Bubble Is In Search Of A Pin

Every Bubble Is In Search Of A Pin

The ‘Everything Bubble’ has popped

Now that the world’s central banking cartel is taking a long-overdue pause from printing money and handing it to the wealthy elite, the collection of asset price bubbles nested within the Everything Bubble are starting to burst.

The cartel (especially the ECB and the Fed) is hoping it can gently deflate these bubbles it created, but that’s a fantasy. Bubbles always burst badly; it’s their nature to do so. Economic suffering and misery always accompany their termination.

It’s said that “every bubble is in search of a pin”. History certainly shows they always manage to find one.

History also shows that after the puncturing, pundits obsess over what precise pin triggered it, as if that matters.  It doesn’t, because ’cause’ of a bubble’s bursting can be anything.  It can be a wayward comment by a finance minister, otherwise innocuous at any other time, that spooks a critical European bond market at exactly the right (wrong?) moment, triggering a runaway cascade.

Or it might be the routine bankruptcy of a small company that unexpectedly exposes an under-hedged counterparty, thereby setting off a chain reaction across the corporate bond market before the contagion quickly spreads into other key elements of the financial system.

Or perhaps it will be the US Justice Department arresting a Chinese technology executive on murky, over-reaching charges to bully an ally into accepting that unilateral US sanctions are to be abided by everyone, regardless of sovereignty.

How was it that the famous Tulip Bulb bubble came to a crashing end back in the 1600’s?  No one knows the exact moment or trigger. But we can easily imagine that in some Dutch pub on the fateful night on the Feb 3rd1637, a bidder on the most-coveted of all bulbs, the Semper Augustus, had an upset stomach and briefly grimaced when hit by a ripping gas pain:

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

3 Things That Happened Just Before The Crisis Of 2008 That Are Happening Again Right Now

3 Things That Happened Just Before The Crisis Of 2008 That Are Happening Again Right Now

Real estate, oil and the employment numbers are all telling us the same thing, and that is really bad news for the U.S. economy.  It really does appear that economic activity is starting to slow down significantly, but just like in 2008 those that are running things don’t want to admit the reality of what we are facing.  Back then, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke insisted that the U.S. economy was not heading into a recession, and we later learned that a recession had already begun when he made that statement.  And as you will see at the end of this article, current Fed Chair Jerome Powell says that he is “very happy” with how the U.S. economy is performing, but he shouldn’t be so thrilled.  Signs of trouble are everywhere, and we just got several more pieces of troubling news.

Thanks to aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the average rate on a 30 year mortgage is now up to about 4.8 percent.  Just like in 2008, that is killing the housing market and it has us on the precipice of another real estate meltdown.

And some of the markets that were once the hottest in the entire country are leading the way down.  For example, just check out what is happening in Manhattan

In the third quarter, the median price for a one-bedroom Manhattan home was $815,000, down 4% from the same period in 2017. The volume of sales fell 12.7%.

Of course things are even worse at the high end of the market.  Some Manhattan townhouses are selling for millions of dollars less than what they were originally listed for.

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

The Primacy Of Income

The Primacy Of Income

The Era Of Gains is over

Ever since the central banks became serial bubble blowers twenty years ago, household wealth has mostly been driven by asset price inflation:

But this has been a quixotic pursuit. Created by pulling tomorrow’s prosperity into today, these asset price bubbles are unsustainable, and invariably suffer violent corrections at their end.

So far, the central banks have responded to these corrections by simply doing more of the same, just at greater and greater intensity. To keep the current Everything Bubble going, the world’s central banks have not only had to more than quintuple their collective balance sheets, but have recently had to resort to the extreme (desperate?) measure of injecting the greatest amount of liquidity ever in 2016 and 2017.

History has shown us that the height an asset bubble reaches is proportional to the damage it wreaks when it bursts. Applying this logic, the coming pop of the Everything Bubble will be devastating.

So devastating that analysts like John Hussman forecast a 0% (or worse) total market return over the next twelve years:

Moreover, the primary driver and supporter of asset price appreciation over the past seven years, central bank easing, is now gone. For the first time since the GFC, the collective central bank liquidity injection rate (the solid black line in the below chart) is now net zero.

And plans to tighten much further from here have been clearly committed and communicated to the world:

As a consequence, we fully expect yesterday’s capital gains to become tomorrow’s capital losses.  What goes up on thin-air money comes down with its removal.

And while this is going on, interest rates are suddenly exploding higher around the world after spending a decade at all-time historic lows:

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

Mike Maloney: “One Hell Of A Crisis”

Mike Maloney: “One Hell Of A Crisis”

Crashing stocks, bonds, real estate & currency all at once?

Mike Maloney, monetary historian and founder of GoldSilver.com, has just released two new chapters of his excellent Hidden Secrets Of Money video series.

In producing the series, Maloney has reviewed several thousand years of monetary history and has observed that government intervention and mismanagement — such as is now rampant across the world — has alwaysresulted in the diminishment and eventual failure of currency systems.

As for the world’s current fiat currency regimes, Mike sees a reckoning approaching. One that will be preceded by massive losses rippling across nearly all asset classes, destroying the phantom wealth created during the latest central bank-induced Everything Bubble, and grinding the global economy to a halt:

Gold and silver are tremendously undervalued right now, and I dare you to try to find another asset that is tremendously undervalued. There just is not. By all measures, everything is just in these hyper-bubbles. OK, real estate is not quite a hyper-bubble; it’s not quite as big as 2005 and 2006, but by all measures, it’s back into a bubble. But now, we’ve got the bond bubble, the biggest debt bubble in the world. These are all going to pop.

We had a stock market crash in the year 2000, and then in 2008, we had a crash in stocks and real estate. The next crash is going to be in stocks, real estate and bonds — including a lot of sovereign debt, corporate bonds and a whole lot of other bonds that will be crashing at the same time. So, it will be all of the standard financial asset classes, including the traditional ‘safe haven’ of bonds that are going to be crashing at the same time that the world monetary system is falling apart.

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

How Politicians Are Creating the Worst Economic Crash in History

Politicians have totally and completely misunderstood the trends within the global economy and as a result, they are actually creating one of the worst economic debacles in history. I have explained several times that the bulk of investment capital is tied up in two primary sectors – (1) government bonds and (2) real estate. Because of income taxes, real estate has offered a way to make money in capital gains without having to pay income taxes.

Money has looked to park in real estate around the world for many various different reasons as in Italy it was the escape from inheritance taxes as well as banks or in Vancouver to gain a foothold for residency fleeing Hong Kong. In Australia, there was the Super Annuation Fund which allowed people to use retirement funds for real estate. In New Zealand, the new government wanted to declare foreign investment just illegal and in Australia, they made it a criminal act for a foreigner to own property and not inform the government they were foreigners. Over in London, they imposed taxes on property which created a crash.

 

People spend more when they believe that they have big profits in their home. The recession of 2007-2010 was so bad recording the worst of all declines since the Great Depression all BECAUSE it undermined the real estate values. People then spent less because they viewed their home declined in value. As taxes have been rising and the average home value collapsed, the velocity of money kept declining. Especially as real estate values declined and interest on savings accounts vanished hurting the elderly who saved money for retirement and discovered their savings were producing less income, the velocity of money just plummeted. The velocity of money began to turn up finally in the USA ONLYwhen interest rates began to rise.

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

Wolf Richter: Making Sense Of The Recent Market Gyrations

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Wolf Richter: Making Sense Of The Recent Market Gyrations

Which triggers are driving the action? What’s next?

Every week at PeakProsperity.com, we record a podcast exclusive for our premium subscribers titled Off The Cuff, where Chris and a weekly expert discuss the notable developments of the week. Every once in a while, we’ll share one of these episodes with the general public, which we’re doing this week. Here’s Chris Martenson in discussion with Wolf Richter, evaluating the causes and repercussions of last week’s violent drop across the stock and bond markets.

Recorded last week as the market was in full melt-down mode, Chris and Wolf Richter decode the underlying drivers of the sudden reversal, and peer into the future to predict what is most likely to happen next. Both agree that, whether stocks are briefly ‘rescued’ in the ensuing days, the long-awaited downward re-pricing of the ‘Everything Bubble’ is nigh.

As Wolf puts it:

The emerging market stock index is down 22% from January. So they have gotten hit pretty hard. There’s this trend from the outside toward the core. So when something deteriorates, it starts at the outside and moves toward the core, the core being the higher quality US financial instruments. So that’s probably a dynamic that has already started. And I agree with you. The central banks removing liquidity is a big thing, and it has a big impact.

And people have said, for years, well, QE didn’t cause stocks to go up. So when that goes away, it’s not going to cause stocks to go down. But that’s just not true. The purpose of QE, as Bernanke himself explained it in a Washington Post editorial in 2010, is to create the wealth effect, to bring asset prices up so that the wealthy feel wealthier and spend more money and then this someone trickles down.

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

Has “It” Finally Arrived?

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Has “It” Finally Arrived?

Is this week’s 6% market drop the start of the Big One?

With the recent plunge in the S&P 500 of over 5%, has the long-anticipated (and long-overdue) market correction finally begun?

It’s hard to say for certain. But the systemic cracks we’ve been closely monitoring definitely got an awful lot wider this week.

After nearly a decade of endless market boosting, manipulation and regulatory neglect, all of the trading professionals I personally know are watching with held breath at this stage. The central banks have distorted the processes of price discovery and market structure for so many years now, that it’s difficult to know yet whether their grip on the markets has indeed failed.

But what we know for certain is that bubbles always burst. Inevitably. Each is built upon a fallacy; and when that finally becomes apparent to enough people, the mania ends.

And today, there are currently massive bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. Every one courtesy of the central banks (as we have written about in great detail here at PeakProsperity.com over the years).

And with no Plan B in place to gracefully exit the corner they have painted themselves — and thereby the global economy — into, the only option available to them is to double-down on the pretense that we’d all be screwed without their stewardship. They have to do this I suppose. To admit the truth would throw the world into panic and themselves out of a job.

Who knows what they think privately? But in public, they give us real gems like these:

Williams Says Fed Rate Hikes Helping Curb Financial Risk-Taking

U.S. interest-rate increases will help reduce risk-taking in financial markets, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said.

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

Think You’re Prepared For The Next Crisis? Think Again.

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Think You’re Prepared For The Next Crisis? Think Again.

Even the best-laid preparations have failure points

No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

~ Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

~ Mike Tyson

Scottish poet Robert Burns aptly penned the famous phrase: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley.” (commonly adapted as “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”)

How right he was.

History has shown time and time again that the only 100% predictable outcome to any given strategy is that, when implemented, things will not go 100% according to plan.

The Titanic’s maiden voyage. Napolean’s invasion of Russia. The Soviet’s 1980 Olympic hockey dream team. The list of unexpected outcomes is legion.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during WW2, went as far as to say: “In preparing for battle, I’ve always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

This wisdom very much applies to anyone seeking safety from disaster. Whether preparing for a natural calamity, a financial market crash, an unexpected job loss, or the “long emergency” of resource depletion — you need to take prudent planful steps now, in advance of crisis; BUT you also need to be mentally prepared for some elements of your preparation to unexpectedly fail when you need them most.

Here are two recent events that drive that point home.

Lessons From Hurricane Florence

A family member of mine lives in Wilmington, NC, which received a direct hit last month from Hurricane Florence.

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

Gold in the “Everything Bubble”: Effective Diversification?

Gold in the “Everything Bubble”: Effective Diversification?

What do you do when nearly all asset classes are overvalued?

Diversification is one of the oldest principles by which people try to hang on to their wealth, however little they might have. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, it goes. Diversification is not designed to maximize profits or minimize costs. It’s designed to get you through a smaller or larger fiasco, not necessarily unscathed but with at least some of your eggs intact so that you can go to market another day. This search for stability is a critical concept when looking at gold as diversification of risk in other asset classes.

There are many reasons to own or trade gold that are beyond the scope of my thoughts here on diversification. So I’ll leave them for another day.

The classic and most basic diversification for American households has been the triad of stocks, bonds, and real estate. In the past, it was often held that when stocks go up, bonds decline. This has to do in part with the Fed, which tends to raise rates when things get hot, thus driving up bond yields (which means by definition that bond prices decline). So stocks and bonds balanced each other out to some extent.

Throw in some leveraged real estate – the house you live in – and in the past, your assets were considered sufficiently diversified.

But this no longer applies today: Stocks, bonds, and real estate – both residential and commercial – all boomed together since the onset of QE in 2009. Other asset classes boomed to, including art and classic cars. Almost everything went up together in near lockstep. For a while, gold and silver, which had been on a surge since 2001 continued to surge. In other words, it was very difficult to achieve actual diversification.

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

Evidence The Housing Bubble Is Bursting?: “Home Sellers Are Slashing Prices At The Highest Rate In At Least Eight Years”

Evidence The Housing Bubble Is Bursting?: “Home Sellers Are Slashing Prices At The Highest Rate In At Least Eight Years”

The housing market indicated that a crisis was coming in 2008.  Is the same thing happening once again in 2018?  For several years, the housing market has been one of the bright spots for the U.S. economy.  Home prices, especially in the hottest markets on the east and west coasts, had been soaring.  But now that has completely changed, and home sellers are cutting prices at a pace that we have not seen since the last recession.  In case you are wondering, this is definitely a major red flag for the economy.  According to CNBC, home sellers are “slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years”…

After three years of soaring home prices, the heat is coming off the U.S. housing market. Home sellers are slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years, especially in the West, where the price gains were hottest.

It is quite interesting that prices are being cut fastest in the markets that were once the hottest, because that is exactly what happened during the subprime mortgage meltdown in 2008 too.

In a previous article, I documented the fact that experts were warning that “the U.S. housing market looks headed for its worst slowdown in years”, but even I was stunned by how bad these new numbers are.

According to Redfin, more than one out of every four homes for sale in America had a price drop within the most recent four week period…

In the four weeks ended Sept. 16, more than one-quarter of the homes listed for sale had a price drop, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. That is the highest level since the company began tracking the metric in 2010. Redfin defines a price drop as a reduction in the list price of more than 1 percent and less than 50 percent.

…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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