Why Does The Federal Reserve Keep Slamming The Panic Button Over And Over If Everything Is Okay?

What in the world is the Federal Reserve doing? For months the Fed has been trying to publicly convince us that the U.S. economy is “strong”, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently unequivocally stated that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, but the Fed’s actions tell a completely different story. If the U.S. economy really is performing well, any economics textbook will tell you that the Fed should not be reducing interest rates. Interest rate cuts should be saved for times when the economy is in serious trouble, and using up all of your ammunition before a downturn has begun is simply foolish. And the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the financial system is functioning normally, but meanwhile things are spinning so wildly out of control that they felt forced to announce overnight repurchase agreement operations for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We haven’t seen this sort of emergency intervention since the last financial crisis, but the Fed’s message to the general public is that “all is well”.

Unfortunately, the truth is that all is not well, and we continue to get more troubling economic news with each passing day.

In a desperate attempt to inject some vigor back into the U.S. economy, the Fed cut interest rates for the second month in a row on Wednesday

For the second time in two months, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday agreed to press down on the economy’s accelerator to keep the 10-year-old expansion chugging along.

A divided Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by another quarter percentage point to a range of 1.75% to 2% in an effort to stave off a possible recession triggered by a global economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war with China.

Of course this wasn’t enough to please President Trump, and shortly after the rate cut was announced he posted the following on Twitter

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

Apparently Trump wanted an even larger rate cut with the promise of more rate cuts in the future, but if the U.S. economy really is in good shape we shouldn’t be having any rate cuts at all. This was a panic move by the Fed, and they are going to find themselves very short on ammunition when things really start to get crazy.

And conducting overnight repurchase agreement operations for three days in a row also reeks of desperation. If you are not familiar with the repo market, the following is how Yahoo News described the key role it plays for our financial system…

Financial institutions use money markets to borrow for very short periods, from one day to a year, a crucial function to keep the gears of the economy running.

In so-called repurchase or “repo” agreements, banks borrow by putting up assets like Treasury notes as collateral and then repay the loans with interest the following day.

In a fit of panic, the Fed injected $53,000,000,000 into the system on Tuesday and another $75,000,000,000 on Wednesday.

But it turns out that Wednesday’s injection wasn’t nearly large enough. The following comes from Zero Hedge

20 minutes after today’s repo operation began, it concluded and there was some bad news in it: as we feared, yesterday’s take up of the Fed’s repo operation which peaked at $53.2 billion has expanded substantially, and according to the Fed, today there was a whopping $80.05BN in bids submitted, an increase of $27 billion, or 50% more than yesterday.

It also meant that since the operation – which is capped at $75BN – was oversubscribed by over $5BN, that there was one or more participants who did not get up to €5 billion in the critical liquidity they needed, and that the Fed will see a chorus of demands by everyone (because like with the discount window, nobody will dare to be singled out) to either expand the size of its operations, implement a fixed operation and/or – most likely as per the ICAP note yesterday – transition to permanent open market operations, i.e. QE

And then we learned that the Fed had announced that they were going to inject another $75,000,000,000 on Thursday.

This is utter insanity, and to many it is clear evidence that the Fed is losing control

“This just doesn’t look good. You set your target. You’re the all-powerful Fed. You’re supposed to control it and you can’t on Fed day. It looks bad. This has been a tough run for Powell,” said Michael Schumacher, director, rate strategy, at Wells Fargo.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and many are deeply concerned about what will happen as liquidity demands reach a peak as we approach the end of the month.

As our financial system continues to become increasingly unstable, is this sort of Fed intervention going to become a regular thing?

Of course there are some analysts that are already projecting that a massive new round of quantitative easing is inevitable at this point, and there is a very good chance that they are right.

Meanwhile, the “real economy” continues to deteriorate as well, and one new survey has found that a majority of U.S. CFOs now expect our economy to tumble into a new recession by the end of next year

Chief financial officers in the United States have started to prepare themselves and their finances for a recession. For the first time in several years, economic uncertainty is now their lead concern, replacing worries about the difficulty of hiring and retaining talented workers.

According to CNN, 53 percent of chief financial officers expect the United States to enter a recession prior to the 2020 presidential election. That information was sourced from the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey released on Wednesday. And two-thirds predict a downturn by the end of next year.

Unfortunately, we may not have to wait that long, and according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if honest numbers were being used they would show that the U.S. economy is already in a recession right now.

For the moment, most Americans are still buying the narrative that everything is going to be just fine, but that will soon change.

The pace at which things are deteriorating is beginning to accelerate, and the Fed is going to have to hit the panic button many more times in the months ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Insists There Won’t Be A Recession When All The Evidence Suggests Otherwise

It’s happening again. Just like last time around, the head of the Federal Reserve is telling us that there won’t be a recession even though all of the evidence suggests otherwise. Just before the recession of 2008, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke told the country that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, and shortly thereafter we plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. This time, it is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that is attempting to prop things up by making positive statements that are not backed up by reality. Speaking to a group at the University of Zurich, Powell insisted that the Fed is “not at all” anticipating that there will be a recession…

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that he doesn’t “at all” expect the U.S. to enter a recession, though he hinted the central bank will likely cut interest rates as expected this month.

“Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession,” Powell said in a panel discussion at the University of Zurich.

Meanwhile, things are literally falling apart all around us. Just a few days ago, I put together a list of 28 data points that clearly indicate that a recession is imminent, and since then we have gotten even more bad news.

For instance, we just learned that Fred’s will be filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 500 stores

Discount merchandise retailer and pharmacy chain Fred’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday with plans to close all of its stores.

The company plans to liquidate its assets, punctuating a swift collapse of its operations that involved a cascading series of store closures in recent months.

At this point, U.S. retailers have announced the closing of more than 8,200 stores in 2019, and we are going to break the old record for store closings in a single year by so much that the term “retail apocalypse” just doesn’t seem sufficient to describe the scale of what we are witnessing any longer.

Many are blaming “the Internet” for this colossal wave of store closings, but is “the Internet” also responsible for the transportation recession that has already started?

According to Zero Hedge, on a year over year basis heavy-duty truck orders were down 69 percent in June and 80 percent in July…

According to ACT Research, heavy-duty truck orders from the four largest truck makers in North America (Daimler Trucks North America, Paccar, Volvo Trucks USA, and Navistar International) collapsed 80% in July YoY. Orders in June plunged 69% from a year earlier.

As heavy-duty truck orders collapse, suppliers, such as ones who produce transmissions have predicted that the outlook for sales this year will be horrible.

And as global trade continues to plummet, one of the biggest shipping companies in the entire world has “temporarily suspended” one of their main routes…

Growth in the world continues to collapse into late summer, so much so that Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) had to “temporarily suspend” their AE2/Swan Asia to North Europe loop until mid-November, removing 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) a week from trade, reported The Loadstar.

None of this would be happening if economic conditions were good.

So let’s stop with the nonsense. Fed Chair Jerome Powell can deny reality all that he wants, but that isn’t going to change anything.

There are some people out there that are still finding solace in the fact that the official unemployment number in the U.S. is still so low. At just “3.7 percent”, it is the lowest that it has supposedly been in decades, but most people don’t realize that it has also been highly manipulated. It doesn’t include tens of millions of people that are working part-time for economic reasons, that are working temporary jobs or that are part of “the missing labor force”.

John Williams of shadowstats.com compares the official employment numbers to what they would look like if honest numbers were being used, and his figures tell an entirely different story.

According to Williams, the “real” rate of unemployment in the U.S. was hovering around 12 or 13 percent prior to the last recession, and then it shot up above 20 percent and has stayed there ever since. In fact, the alternate unemployment rate on shadowstats.com is currently sitting at 21.2 percent.

So that would suggest that we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession.

But of course “3.7 percent” sounds so much better than “21.2 percent”, and millions of Americans have completely bought into the false narrative that unemployment has been steadily falling since the early days of the Obama administration.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth, and “reality” is defined by whoever has the biggest spin machine. Americans are more deeply divided than ever, and there is very little agreement on the direction that our country should go. Meanwhile, economic conditions are deteriorating a little bit more with each passing day and it has become exceedingly clear that a new crisis is upon us. And this new crisis has arrived at a time when our debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before. In fact, one expert has calculated that our total debt burden is now “running close to 2,000% of GDP”

Total potential debt for the U.S. by one all-encompassing measure is running close to 2,000% of GDP, according to an analysis that suggests danger but also cautions against reading too much into the level.

AB Bernstein came up with the calculation — 1,832%, to be exact — by including not only traditional levels of public debt like bonds but also financial debt and all its complexities as well as future obligations for so-called entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and public pensions.

There is no way that this is going to end well.

The two major political parties will continue to relentlessly fight with one another, and it will mostly be about really silly stuff. But as they fight, our nation is literally steamrolling into oblivion, and there appears to be very little hope of avoiding our fate at this point.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

11 Reasons Why So Many Experts Believe That A U.S. Economic Crisis Is Imminent

The numbers are telling us that we have never been closer to the next recession than we are right now. The storm clouds that were gathering on the horizon are now directly above us, and suddenly the mainstream media is filled with stories about when the next recession will begin and the effect that this may have on President Trump’s chances of winning in 2020. In fact, there has been so much chatter about this that even President Trump is talking about it. All over television, experts are breathlessly speculating about when the coming recession will begin, and they are dispensing lots of advice about how people should be preparing for it.

So what evidence has led so many of these talking heads to come to such a conclusion?

Well, the following are 11 reasons why so many experts now believe that a U.S. economic crisis is imminent…

#1 Last week, the “spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields” turned negative for the very first time in 12 years. An inversion of the yield curve has occurred prior to every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and this is one of the most important economic signals that we have seen yet.

#2 U.S. consumer sentiment just fell to the lowest level that we have seen in all of 2019.

#3 74 percent of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that a recession will begin in the United States by the end of 2021.

#4 U.S. industrial production just slipped back into contraction territory.

#5 The IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since September 2009.

#6 Just like we witnessed in 2008, fear and volatility have returned to Wall Street in a major way. In fact, so far this month we have already seen the 4th and 7th largest single day point declines in U.S. stock market history.

#7 The total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States has been steadily shooting up, and it rose another 5 percent during the month of July.

#8 Major U.S. retailers continue to shut down more stores, and we have continued to stay on a pace that would break the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

#9 As I discussed yesterday, on a year over year basis U.S. freight shipment volume has now fallen for 8 months in a row.

#10 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability that a recession will happen within the next 12 months is now the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis.

#11 President Trump is suggesting that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by 100 basis points and that the Fed should restart quantitative easing as soon as possible. Both of those moves would be considered to be “emergency measures” that should only happen if a major economic downturn was imminent.

In that list, I didn’t even mention our rapidly escalating trade war with China. The two largest economies on the entire planet are engaged in an extremely bitter trade dispute, and that alone has the potential to plunge the entire global economy into a very deep downturn.

On the surface, the Trump administration is trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine, but behind the scenes they appear to be preparing for the worst. For example, we have just learned that the Trump administration is actually considering pushing for an emergency payroll tax cut

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Donald Trump’s top economic aides.

The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, an emergency payroll tax cut wouldn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are on the verge of a very serious economic crisis, then such a move would make perfect sense.

Of course the U.S. is definitely not the only major economy that is facing serious troubles. In fact, signs of economic trouble have been emerging all over the globe lately

The economies in Germany, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and a number of other countries are also showing vulnerabilities, experts say. The uncertainty is exacerbated by fears of the potential financial fallout that could happen if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in October without first reaching a deal on the terms of its departure.

In particular, developments in Germany are quite troubling. Their economy actually contracted last quarter, and the German government is “preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession”

Nearly two weeks after Der Spiegel sent its first trial balloon about the prospects that the German government might crank up its fiscal stimulus if Europe’s largest economy slides into recession (which, as we explained last week, is already on the cusp of doing), the trial balloons have crossed the Atlantic.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the German government is preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession, “citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

We haven’t seen talk like this in a very, very long time. For many people, the extreme pain caused by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 has almost faded from memory, but the truth is that many experts believe that what is ahead is going to be even worse.

If everything was going to be just fine, President Trump would not be trying to get the Federal Reserve to make extremely deep interest rate cuts. In life, what people do is far more important than what they say, and the moves that global leaders are making right now are telling us that huge trouble is coming.

So enjoy the relative stability that we are currently experiencing while you still can, because it looks like it won’t be lasting for too much longer.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

As The Perfect Storm Approaches, Most Americans Are Partying Instead Of Preparing

I can’t think of a time when Americans were more apathetic about getting prepared, and yet this is exactly the time when the urgency to get prepared should be at the highest. Earlier today, my wife Meranda and I were discussing the fact that every single element of “the perfect storm” is coming together just as we had anticipated. One by one, the pieces are all falling into place, and I share the most recent things that my research has uncovered with all of you on a daily basis. Unfortunately, most Americans are absolutely convinced that there is no reason to get prepared for hard times because everything is going to be just great. In America today, most people either believe that the future is going to be totally wonderful or that the future will be totally wonderful once we get rid of Trump. Because so many of us have adopted one of these false narratives, most Americans are partying instead of preparing, and that is going to mean big trouble when things really start going haywire.

Are you familiar with “the rule of three”? I just looked it up on Google, and this is how it is defined…

“You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water. You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water) You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment) You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)”

Of course these numbers are not exact. For example, many have gone without food for more than 3 weeks without serious problems. But in general, this is a pretty good guideline for survival.

Sadly, if a major emergency were to hit this country tonight, most Americans would be completely unprepared when it comes to even the most basic essentials. In fact, one survey found that only 39 percent of Americans have any sort of an “emergency kit” whatsoever…

When it comes to being prepared for an emergency, 39% say they have an emergency kit, while another 39% have a non-perishable food stock. A little less than one-third (28%) of people have stockpiles of water, and one in four people (25%) have an evacuation plan.

Of those who have an emergency kit, the most common items to have in the kit are: a first-aid kit (86%), flashlights or other light sources (83%), food (65%), water (63%), and blankets (62%).

Those are depressingly low numbers.

So what are all of those people going to do when things hit the fan and the government is not there to rescue them?

Needless to say, a lot of people will really freak out when they can’t get what they need.

But as long as things are relatively “normal”, this astounding lack of preparation will not be a problem. And right now, Americans are acting as if things will be “normal” for the foreseeable future. In fact, most of us are partying like it’s 1999 all over again. According to CNBC, U.S. consumer debt just surpassed the four trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

As of this month, outstanding consumer debt exceeded $4 trillion for the first time, according to the Federal Reserve.

Relatively strong holiday spending, particularly in November, and increasing credit card debt added more than $41 billion in outstanding balances at the end of 2018, according to LendingTree, a loan comparison website, which analyzed the data from the Fed.

We are spending money as if there is no tomorrow, and that would be fine if tomorrow never arrived.

Of course we really shouldn’t be spending money so wildly anyway, because many of us are already completely drowning in debt. For example, auto loan delinquencies are already far higher than they were during the peak of the last recession. The following comes from NBC News

At least 7 million Americans were in serious delinquency on their car loan — 90 or more days behind — at the end of 2018, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That’s 1 million more than at the end of 2010, after the recession.

And student loan delinquencies also just shot up to the highest level ever. We have never seen anything like this before in modern American history, and yet the party continues to roll on.

For now.

Unfortunately, all parties eventually come to an end, and the end of this one is going to be particularly painful.

When disaster strikes, most Americans are going to be out of resources very, very rapidly. One survey found that 78 percent of all American workers are living paycheck to paycheck. That number is a little higher than other figures that I have seen, but everyone agrees that a solid majority of the country is barely scraping by each month.

When things get really bad, I honestly don’t know how most people are going to make it.

A number of years ago, a survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time.

Nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.

Hopefully you are more resourceful than that. But without a doubt all of us are going to stand a better chance of surviving what is ahead if we make some basic preparations. It’s isn’t rocket science, but if you choose to do nothing because you have blind faith in the system, then you and your entire family could find yourselves in a world of hurt when things start getting really crazy out there.

If we had made different choices as a nation, we could have had a very different future.

Sadly, our self-destructive behavior continues to get even worse, and a day of reckoning for America is fast approaching.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“When the bubble bursts, America will experience an economic crisis much greater than the 2008 meltdown or the Great Depression”

The bigger they come, the harder they fall. Currently, we are in the terminal phase of an “everything bubble” which has had ten years to grow. It is the biggest financial bubble that our country has ever seen, and experts are warning that when it finally bursts we will experience an economic downturn that is even worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s. Of course many of us in the alternative media have been warning about what is coming for quite some time, but now even many in the mainstream media have jumped on the bandwagon. The Economist is one of the most prominent globalist mouthpieces in the entire world, and so I was stunned when I came across one of their articles earlier today that was entitled “Another economic downturn is just a matter of time”. When the alternative media and globalist media outlets are both preaching economic doom, that is a very clear sign that big trouble is imminent.

But for the moment, global financial markets seem to have settled down a bit. U.S. markets were down on Monday, but there wasn’t that much volatility. Once again, it was tech stocks that got hit the hardest

Apple and Netflix pulled back more than 1.8 percent each. Netflix fell after Goldman Sachs and Raymond James slashed its price targets on the video-streaming giant. Apple dropped after Goldman Sachs said the tech giant’s earnings could fall short this year as demand in China slows. Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet also traded lower.

This may seem odd to hear, but what happened on Monday was actually good news for Wall Street.

Whether the markets go up or down, what investors should want more than anything else right now is calm, and that is precisely what we witnessed on Monday. Yes, tech stocks took a bit of a hit, but overall there was not much panic in the marketplace and that is a positive sign (at least in the short-term) for Wall Street.

But that doesn’t mean that some big event isn’t going to cause another wave of panic on Wall Street by the end of the week. Nothing about the long-term outlook has changed at all. We have entered a time when the Ponzi scheme that we call “our financial system” could literally collapse at any moment.

And when it does collapse, the U.S. economy is going to experience pain unlike anything that we have ever seen before. In his most recent article, Ron Paul warns that when the “everything bubble” finally bursts “America will experience an economic crisis much greater than the 2008 meltdown or the Great Depression”…

The Fed will be unsuccessful in keeping the everything bubble from exploding. When the bubble bursts, America will experience an economic crisis much greater than the 2008 meltdown or the Great Depression.

This crisis is rooted in the failure to learn the lessons of 2008 and of every other recession since the Fed’s creation: A secretive central bank should not be allowed to manipulate interest rates and distort economic signals regarding market conditions. Such action leads to malinvestment and an explosion of individual, business, and government debt. This may cause a temporary boom, but the boom soon will be followed by a bust. The only way this cycle can be broken without a major crisis is for Congress both to restore people’s right to use the currency of their choice and to audit and then end the Fed.

Of course Ron Paul is far from alone.

Just the other day, Peter Schiff said essentially the exact same thing

Economic guru Peter Schiff is saying that the next market crash will be “far more painful” than that of the Great Recession in 2008. With rising interest rates and tariffs spiking the cost of living, Americans will have some difficult financial times ahead.

“I think as Americans lose their jobs, they are going to see the cost of living going up rather dramatically, and so this is going to make it particularly painful,” Schiff said. “This is a bubble not just in the stock market, but the entire economy,” he told Fox News Business. Schiff is predicting a recession, accompanied by rising consumer prices, that will be far more painful than the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

The Federal Reserve and other global central banks worked very hard to inflate this bubble for a very long time, and now the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates quite rapidly.

They seem determined to burst their own bubble, and in the process they are going to create immense economic devastation all over the planet.

When President Trump said that the Federal Reserve has “gone crazy”, he was right on the money, and hopefully the American people will finally see that it is time to shut the Fed down permanently.

And as I noted earlier, the mainstream media also seems to at least partially understand what is happening. For example, the following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “Get Out of Equities Before It’s Too Late, Says Fund Manager”

The tumble in equities may go deeper than the correction earlier this year and investors should get ready to sell, according to a Budapest-based fund manager.

“Investors have to start looking for a way out from equities now,” Attila Dzsubak, investment director at MKB-Pannonia Fund Manager, who helps oversee 670 billion forint ($2.4 billion) in assets, said in Budapest. “Past experience shows that exits can quickly become too narrow.”

In the stock market, you only make money if you buy at the right time and if you sell at the right time.

Many of those that are wealthy on paper at the moment are going to see that paper wealth disappear in stunning fashion during the coming collapse.

America’s pride is largely based on the staggering wealth that we have been able to enjoy, but what is going to happen once that wealth is gone?

For the moment the bubble still lives, but the clock is ticking…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Worst Job Growth In A Year – Way Below Expectations

We just got more evidence that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down. The U.S. economy must produce somewhere around 200,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, and last month we were way below that number. In fact, the employment numbers that the government released on Friday were the worst that we have seen in an entire year. In late 2018, the IMF is openly warning of “a second Great Depression”, and indications that another economic crisis is coming are emerging all around us. Many had been hoping that very strong employment numbers on Friday would change that trend, but instead it was “the worst performance since last September”

Nonfarm payrolls rose just 134,000, well below Refinitiv estimates of 185,000 and the worst performance since last September, when a labor strike weighed on the numbers.

But even though the number of jobs created did not even come close to keeping up with population growth, we are told that the unemployment rate actually declined, and some media outlets are proudly touting this as some sort of “success”.

Of course other numbers actually show that the unemployment rate is rising. The following comes from CNBC

A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons — sometimes called the “real unemployment rate” — edged higher to 7.5 percent.

And according to shadowstats.com, the actual unemployment rate in the United States right now is 21.3 percent. That is down slightly from the peak, but it is nowhere even close to where we were before the last recession.

There are many out there that desperately want to believe that the U.S. economy is “booming”, but that simply is not accurate.

If the U.S. economy really is “booming”, then why has “the largest ever homeless encampment” that Minneapolis has ever seen just gone up?…

The Associated Press (AP) has revealed a troubling story of the largest ever homeless encampment site mostly made up of Native Americans has quickly erected just south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

City officials are scrambling to contain the situation as two deaths in recent weeks, concerns about disease and infection, illicit drug use and the coming winter season, have sounded the alarm of a developing public health crisis.

We also got another really bad piece of economic news on Friday.

According to official government numbers, the U.S. trade deficit increased once again in August

The US Census Bureau reported Friday that the trade deficit increased to $53.2 billion in August for both goods and services, up from $50.0 billion in July. The goods trade deficit, which draws most of Trump’s attention, also increased to $86.3 billion, a $3.8 billion increase from the month before.

The primary reason for the increase in the deficit was a collapse in exports, especially soybeans, which fell off by $1 billion, a 28% drop from the month prior. China, the largest buyer of US soybeans, imposed tariffs on the American crop and it appears the restrictions are taking a toll.

One of the primary goals of the trade war is to decrease the size of our trade deficit, and so far it is not working.

Financial markets responded very negatively to all of the bad economic news. Stocks plunged for a third straight day on Friday, and the Nasdaq was hit particularly hard

US equity markets were pressured for a third straight day Friday, with all of the major averages sporting losses of at least 1% at their lows. Heavy selling pushed the tech-heavy Nasdaq down by as much as 2.1%, before rebounding and finishing with a loss of just more than 1%.

Overall, it was a very tough week on Wall Street. The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage…

 

  • US Stocks – worst 2-day drop since May
  • Small Caps, Nasdaq – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Small Caps – biggest 5-week drop since Nov 2016
  • China (closed) ETF – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Semis – biggest weekly drop in 6 months
  • FANGs – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Homebuilders – worst.losing.streak.ever…
  • USD Index – best week in 2 months
  • HY Bonds – biggest weekly price drop in 8 months
  • IG Bonds – biggest weekly drop since Nov 2016
  • Treasury Yields – biggest weekly yield spike in 8 months
  • Yield Curve – biggest weekly steepening in 8 months
  • Gold – best weekly gain in 6 weeks

 

In particular, it is absolutely stunning what is happening to homebuilder stocks. They have now fallen for 13 days in a row, and that could be another very clear indication that a housing crash is coming.

None of the problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed. It absolutely amazes me that some people think that you can “fix” our economy by tinkering with the tax code a little bit and getting rid of a few regulations. A handful of marginal changes is not going to alter our long-term outlook one bit.

The truth is that our economic system requires extensive emergency surgery. We need to abolish the Federal Reserve, abolish the IRS, abolish the income tax and start using currency that is not created by debt. And that would just be for starters. Our current economic system is fundamentally flawed, and in the long-term it is inevitably going to fail. The best that anyone can do in the short-term is to keep inflating the bubbles so that things will hold together long enough until they can become somebody else’s problem.

Right now, the only way that we can achieve economic growth is by growing debt at a far faster pace than the overall economy is expanding. That is a recipe for a long-term disaster, and everyone knows that we are in the process of committing national suicide, but nobody is really doing anything to stop it.

Sadly, it is probably going to take another major crisis before people start calling for real change, and that is extremely unfortunate.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

They Are Killing Small Business: The Number Of Self-Employed Americans Is Lower Than It Was In 1990

After eight long, bitter years under Obama, will things go better for entrepreneurs and small businesses now that Donald Trump is in the White House? Once upon a time, America was the best place in the world for those that wanted to work for themselves. Our free market capitalist system created an environment in which entrepreneurs and small businesses greatly thrived, but today they are being absolutely eviscerated by the control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system. Year after year, leftist politicians just keep piling on more rules, more regulations, more red tape and more taxes. As a result, the number of self-employed Americans is now lower than it was in 1990

In April 1990, 8.7 million Americans were self-employed, but today only 8.4 million Americans are self-employed.

Of course our population has grown much, much larger since that time. In 1990, there were 249 million people living in the United States, but today there are 321 million people living in this country.

What this means is that the percentage of the population that is self-employed is way down.

In fact, one study found that the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.

And if you go back even farther, the numbers are even more depressing. It may be hard to believe, but the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” declined by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.

Sometimes I like to watch a television show called Shark Tank, and on that show they make it seem like entrepreneurship in America is thriving.

But the exact opposite is actually the case. In a previous article, I discussed how the number of new businesses being created in the United States has been steadily falling over the years. According to economist Tim Kane, the number of startup jobs per one thousand Americans has been declining for several consecutive presidential administrations

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

So why is this happening?

As I mentioned at the top of this article, self-employed Americans are being absolutely strangled by oppressive rules, regulations and taxes.

To illustrate this point, I would like to share with you some quotes from an open letter that was authored by a small business owner named Don Chernoff…

#1 I work for myself and have to pay my own medical expenses. Before the “affordable care act” I was paying about $200 per month for a high deductible policy. It was far from perfect but it got so much worse under the “Affordable” care act.

I now pay over $400 a month, my deductible went from $5,000 to over $6,000 and my out of pocket costs for care have skyrocketed.

#2 I have to spend dozens of hours and thousands of dollars for a tax accountant each spring to prepare my taxes because I cannot possibly understand how to do it myself, and I have a master’s degree in engineering.

#3 Many years ago when I quit a perfectly good job to start my own small business, I was shocked to learn that I had to pay both my share and what had been my employer’s share of Social Security.

#4 Between state, federal and local taxes you’ve probably paid 50% or more of your income in taxes, but that’s not enough for politicians.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have created a business you can sell, now you’ll get to enjoy paying another tax on the capital gain from the sale.

This is another reason why we need a conservative revolution in Washington. We should demand that our members of Congress lower tax rates dramatically, completely eliminate the self-employment tax, greatly simplify the tax code and get rid of as many regulations on small business owners as possible.

In fact, if it was up to me I would abolish a number of federal agencies completely.

What we are doing right now is not working. Small businesses have traditionally been one of the main engines of economic growth in this country, but thanks to the left they are unable to play that role at the moment.

It isn’t an accident that over the last ten years the U.S. economy has grown at exactly the same rate as it did during the 1930s.

If we want our economy to be great again, we need to go back and start doing the things that made it great in the first place. If we continue to suffocate our economy, we will continue to get the same results.

And with each passing day, we get more signs that the economy is heading into another major downturn. For instance, we just learned that Sears is closing 30 more stores on top of the 150 that had already been announced…

Sears Holdings, which wasn’t shy when it announced at the start of the year that it is closing 150 underperforming stores, has quietly added at least 30 more to the list.

Another 12 Sears stores and 18 Kmarts are among the locations that are closing, from Carson, Calif., to Hialeah, Fla., with most scheduled to shut their doors in July, based on calls to the stores, malls and confirmation in local media.

At the start of the year, the retailer pinpointed the 150 stores it said it would close. But it declined this week to provide a list of additional locations that are slated to shut since then, saying that it update store counts each quarter.

In addition, we just learned that new home sales in April were 11.4 percent lower than they were in March

If you’re surprised by the collapse in new home sales in April, then you’re not paying attention.

The 11.4% MoM plunge in new home sales in April was 5 standard deviations below expectations and the biggest since March 2015.

Yes, the stock market is holding up for the moment, but for most Americans the “real economy” just continues to deteriorate. Just because we are at the end of a giant financial bubble does not mean that everything is going to be okay.

The numbers that I brought up in this article are just another example of our long-term economic decline. In a healthy economy, entrepreneurs and small businesses would be thriving. But instead, they are being systematically strangled out of existence by a political system that is wildly out of control.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Living In A Van Down By The River – Time To Face The True State Of The Middle Class In America

van-public-domain

Do you remember the old Saturday Night Live sketches in which comedian Chris Farley portrayed a motivational speaker that lived in a van down by the river? Unfortunately, this is becoming a reality for way too many Americans. As the middle class has shrunk and the cost of living has increased, a lot of people have decided to quite literally “live on the road”. Whether it is a car, a truck, a van, a bus or an RV, an increasing number of Americans are using their vehicles as their homes. Just recently, someone that I know took a trip down the west coast of the United States and stayed at a number of campgrounds along the way. What she discovered was that a lot of people were actually living at these campgrounds. Of course there are some that actually prefer that lifestyle, but many others are doing it out of necessity.

Earlier this week, Circa.com posted a story about “the van life”. One of the individuals that they featured was a recent graduate of the University of Southern California named Stephen Hutchins. Without much of an income at the moment, he decided that the best way to cut expenses was to live in his van

“The main expenses are insurance for the van, which is like $60 a month,” said Hutchins. “Then, I have a storage unit for like $60.”

That puts his monthly rent at $120. The van cost him just $125 at an auction.

Living in a van is certainly not the most comfortable way to go, and many of you are probably wondering how he performs basic tasks such as cooking and bathing. Well, it turns out that he makes extensive use of public facilities

He showers at the gym, cooks on a portable stove on a sidewalk (he stores his butane at his friends’ place nearby) and uses wifi at nearby coffeeshops.

For a while such a lifestyle may seem like “an adventure”, but after a while it will start to get really old. And not a lot of women are going to be excited about dating a man that lives in a van, and you certainly wouldn’t want to raise a family in a vehicle.

Sadly, just like during the last economic crisis many Americans are getting to the point where staying in their homes may not be an option. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent New York Post article entitled “The terrifying signs of a looming housing crisis“…

The number of New Yorkers applying for emergency grants to stay in their homes is skyrocketing — as the number of people staying in homeless shelters reached an all-time high last weekend, records show.

There were 82,306 applications for one-time emergency grants to prevent evictions in fiscal 2016, up 26 percent from 65,138 requests the previous year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.

I put a couple of phrases in that quote in bold because I really wanted you to notice a couple of things.

First of all, it is very alarming to hear that the number of New Yorkers staying in homeless shelters “reached an all-time high” last weekend. I thought that we were supposed to be in an “economic recovery”, but apparently things in New York are rapidly getting worse.

Secondly, the fact that applications for emergency grants are up 26 percent compared to last year is another indication of how rough things are right now for average families in New York. We all remember what happened when millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure across the nation during the last financial crisis, and nobody should want to see a repeat of that any time soon.

During this election season, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would like all of us to believe that the economy is doing just fine, but that is not true at all. Even using the doctored numbers that the government gives us, Barack Obama is solidly on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year of 3 percent GDP growth, and he has had two terms to try to do that.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton is also quite skeptical of this “economic recovery”, and he recently authored an article on this subject that is receiving a tremendous amount of attention. The following is how that article begins

I’ve been reading a lot about a “recovering” economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.

I don’t think it’s true.

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

Other surveys have found that it is even worse than that.

For example, a Pew Research Center study from the end of last year discovered that the middle class in America has now actually become a minority in this country.

Here are some other numbers that Clifton included in his article

  1. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983.
  2. The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.
  3. New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates.

Once upon a time, America was the land of opportunity.

We were the place where anything was possible and where entrepreneurship was greatly encouraged.

But today we strangle small businesses to death with rules, regulations, red tape and taxes.

If we want a stronger middle class, we need to create a much better environment for the creation of small businesses. Small business ownership often lifts individuals into the middle class, and small businesses have traditionally been the primary engine for the growth of good jobs in this country.

If the middle class continues to shrink, poverty will continue to rise. Previously I have written about how the number of homeless children in the United States has shot up by 60 percent since the last economic crisis, and Poverty USA claims that a staggering 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing during 2015.

If you will be sleeping in a warm bed in a comfortable home tonight, you should be thankful. An increasing number of Americans are sleeping in tent cities, in their vehicles or on the streets. These hurting people deserve our love, our compassion and our prayers.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

U.S. Economy 2016: 3 Classic Recession Signals Are Flashing Red

Red Light - Public Domain

Those that were hoping for an “economic renaissance” in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory to sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that I wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture. Virtually all of the signs that we would expect to pop up during the early chapters of a major economic crisis have now appeared, and yet most Americans still appear to be clueless about what is happening.

Even I was surprised when the government reported that retail sales had actually fallen in March. Consumer spending is a very large part of our economy, and so if consumer spending is slowing down already that certainly does not bode well for the rest of 2016. The following comes from highly respected author Jim Quinn

The Ivy League educated “expert” economists expected March retail sales to increase by 0.1%. They only missed by $6 billion, as retail sales FELL by 0.3%. They have fallen for three straight months. At least gasoline sales were strong, as prices have risen 22% since mid-February. That should do wonders for the finances of American households. If you exclude gasoline sales, retail sales fell by 0.4%. As the chart below reveals, the year over year change in retail sales has been at or near recessionary levels for most of 2015, and into 2016.

You can view the chart that he was referring to right here. In addition to a decline in retail sales, total business sales have also been falling, and this is another classic recession signal. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Total business sales fell again in February, the Commerce Department reported today. They include sales by manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers of all sizes across the US economy. This measure is far broader than the aggregate sales by publicly traded companies, which too have been falling.

At $1.284 trillion in February, total business sales were down an estimated 0.4% from January, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes. And they were down 1.4% from the already beaten-down levels of February last year. They’re back where they’d first been in November 2012!

Yes, the stock market has been on quite a run for the past several weeks, but that temporary rebound is not based on the economic fundamentals.

The truth is that the real economy is definitely starting to slow down substantially. If you want to break it down very simply, less stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, and that tells us far more about what is coming in the months ahead than the temporary ups and downs of stock prices.

Another huge red flag is the fact that the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has hit the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis

The crucial inventory-to-sales ratio, which tracks how long unsold inventory sits around in relationship to sales, is now at a mind-bending 1.41. That’s the level the ratio spiked to in November 2008, after the Lehman bankruptcy in September had put the freeze on the economy.

Inventories represent prior sales by suppliers. When companies try to reduce their inventories, they cut their orders. Suppliers see these orders as sales. As their sales slump, suppliers adjust by cutting their own orders, thus causing the sales slump to propagate up the supply chain. They all react by cutting their expenses. And if it lasts, they’ll cut jobs. Inventory corrections have a nasty impact on the overall economy.

Because sales have slowed down, inventories are starting to pile up to alarmingly high levels. And when companies see that business is slowing down, they start to let people go.

In a previous article, I told my readers that Challenger, Gray & Christmas is reporting that job cut announcements at major firms in the United States are up 32 percent during the first quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Somehow, most of the talking heads on television don’t seem too alarmed by this.

But ordinary Americans are beginning to become alarmed about what is happening. In fact, the percentage of Americans that believe that the U.S. economy is “getting worse” is now the highest it has been since last August

One of the more glaring examples of how strong pessimism has become is Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index. The measure gauges the difference between respondents who say the economy is improving or declining. The most recent results are not good.

Fully 59 percent say the economy is “getting worse” against just 37 percent who say it is “getting better.” That gap of 22 percentage points is the worst since August, according to Gallup, which polled 3,542 adults.

Personally, I thought that we would be a little further down the road by now, but without a doubt a new economic downturn has begun in America.

So far, it is less severe than what most of the rest of the planet is experiencing. Japan’s GDP is officially shrinking, major banks are failing all over Europe, and even CNN admits that what is going on down in Brazil is an “economic collapse”.

It’s funny – yesterday I took time out to write an article about the horrible suffering that ISIS sex slaves are enduring, and a few of my critics took that as a sign that there must not be enough bad economic news to write about.

Well, the truth is that this isn’t the case at all. The global economic meltdown is steaming along, even if it is moving just a little bit slower than many of us had originally anticipated. We are moving in the exact direction that myself and many others had warned about, and the rest of 2016 is looking quite ominous for the global economy.

So hopefully everyone (including the critics) is using whatever time we have left wisely. Because I definitely wish the very best for everyone during the exceedingly hard times that are coming.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Economic Collapse Is Erupting All Over The Planet As Global Leaders Begin To Panic

Earth Ready To Explode - Public Domain

Mainstream news outlets are already starting to use the phrase “economic collapse” to describe what is going on in some areas of our world right now. For many Americans this may seem a bit strange, but the truth is that the worldwide economic slowdown that began during the second half of last year is starting to get a lot worse. In this article, we are going to examine evidence of this from South America, Europe, Asia and North America. Once we are done, it should be obvious that there is absolutely no reason to be optimistic about the direction of the global economy right now. The warnings of so many prominent experts are now becoming a reality, and what we have witnessed so far are just the early chapters of a crushing economic crisis that will affect every man, woman and child in the entire world.

Let’s start with Brazil. It has the 7th largest economy on the entire planet, and it is already enduring its worst recession in 25 years. In fact, at the end of last year Goldman Sachs said that what was going on down there was actually a “depression“.

But now the crisis in Brazil has escalated significantly.

I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared“. I know, that title sounds like it comes directly from The Economic Collapse Blog, but I didn’t write it.

It actually comes from CNN

Amid political chaos, Brazil’s economic collapse is worse than its government once believed.

In the midst of rising calls to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s central bank announced Thursday that it now expects the country’s economy to shrink 3.5% this year.

That’s worse than the central bank’s previous estimate for a 1.9% contraction. The darker forecast matches what the International Monetary Fund projected for Brazil — Latin America’s largest country — and what many independent economists have suspected.

It is one thing for Michael Snyder to tell you that Brazil is in the midst of “economic collapse”, but it is another thing entirely for CNN to say it.

And of course I have been warning about the crisis down in Brazil for quite some time now. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “The Economic Collapse Of South America Is Well Underway“.

Meanwhile, things are actually much worse in Venezuela than they are in Brazil. Food and basic supplies are in short supply, the inflation rate has hit 720 percent, and crime is completely out of control.

The following is from an article in the Independent entitled “Venezuela is on the brink of complete economic collapse“…

The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever.

Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

Once again we see a very respected mainstream publication using the phrase “economic collapse” to describe what is happening in South America.

You can find some stunning video of the “economic Armageddon” that is taking place in Venezuela right here. I would encourage you to watch that video, because what is happening down there will eventually be happening here.

Meanwhile, over in Europe the collapse of the Italian banking system has entered a disturbing new chapter. Italy’s finance minister has called a meeting in Rome for Monday that will be focusing on a “last resort” bailout plan for the troubled banks…

Finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan has called a meeting in Rome on Monday with executives from Italy’s largest financial institutions to agree final details of a “last resort” bailout plan.

Yet on the eve of that gathering, concerns remain as to whether the plan will be sufficient to ringfence the weakest of Italy’s large banks, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, from contagion, according to people involved in the talks.

Italian bank shares have lost almost half their value so far this year amid investor worries over a €360bn pile of non-performing loans — equivalent to about a fifth of GDP. Lenders’ profitability has been hit by a crippling three-year recession.

As Italy descends into financial chaos, the rest of the continent better be paying attention.

Do you remember how hard it was for the rest of Europe to rescue Greece?

Well, Greece has the 44th largest economy on the planet.

Italy has the 8th.

It would be hard to overstate the seriousness of what is going on over in Europe, and it is not just Italy we are talking about. All over the continent major banks are in deep trouble, and the chairman of France’s second largest retail bank recently told reporters that “I am much more worried than I was in 2009“.

And there is very good reason for concern. On Sunday, we learned that a major “bail-in” had just been announced for one of Austria’s most prominent banks. The following comes from Zero Hedge

And then today, following a decision by the Austrian Banking Regulator, the Finanzmarktaufsicht or Financial Market Authority, Austria officially became the first European country to use a new law under the framework imposed by Bank the European Recovery and Resolution Directive to share losses of a failed bank with senior creditors as it slashed the value of debt owed by Heta Asset Resolution AG.

The highlights from the announcement:

Today, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) in its function as the resolution authority pursuant to the Bank Recovery and Resolution Act (BaSAG – Bundesgesetz über die Sanierung und Abwicklung von Banken) has issued the key features for the further steps for the resolution of HETA ASSET RESOLUTION AG. The most significant measures are:

  • a 100% bail-in for all subordinated liabilities,
  • a 53.98% bail-in, resulting in a 46.02% quota, for all eligible preferential liabilities,
  • the cancellation of all interest payments from 01.03.2015, when HETA was placed into resolution pursuant to BaSAG,
  • as well as a harmonisation of the maturities of all eligible liabilities to 31.12.2023.

According to the current resolution plan for HETA, the wind-down process should be concluded by 2020, although the repayment of all claims as well as the legally binding conclusion of all currently outstanding legal disputes will realistically only be concluded by the end of 2023. Only at that point will it be possible to finally distribute the assets and to liquidate the company.

The dominoes are starting to fall in Europe, and I would expect even bigger announcements in the weeks and months to come.

Over in Asia, economic chaos is beginning to prevail as well.

In China, the stock market is already down more than 40 percent from the peak, Chinese exports were down 25.4 percent on a year over year basis in February, and Chinese economic numbers overall have not been this poor since the depths of the last global recession.

At the same time, the Japanese economy is really struggling right now. As I wrote about the other day, Japanese GDP has shrunk for two out of the last three quarters, we just saw Japanese industrial production experience the biggest one month decline that we have witnessed since the tsunami of 2011, and business sentiment has fallen to a three year low. The Nikkei has dropped by about 5,000 points from where it was last summer, and some analysts believe that Japanese markets “are being destroyed” due to massive intervention by the Bank of Japan.

Here in the United States, we haven’t been hit quite as hard as the rest of the world just yet, but there are lots of very disturbing warning signs all around us.

At the end of last week, we learned that it is being projected that U.S. GDP will have grown by just 0.1 or 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2016. And on Monday corporate earnings reporting season begins, and it is expected to be a very, very bad one. The following comes from Business Insider

We are about to get confirmation that earnings growth for America’s biggest companies was negative in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year ago.

When aluminum giant Alcoa releases its results on Monday, it will mark the unofficial start of the heaviest reporting season for S&P 500 companies.

The final scoreboard is expected to show a 9.1% earnings drop for the quarter, according to FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters.

If these projections turn out to be accurate, it will be the fourth quarter in a row of earnings declines. This is something that we never see outside of a recession.

And for a whole bunch more numbers which indicate that the U.S. economy is in very serious trouble, please see my previous article entitled “19 Facts That Prove Things In America Are Worse Than They Were Six Months Ago“.

Of course I am just another voice in the crowd when it comes to predicting that the U.S. economy is headed for rough times. For example, just check out what Societe Generale economist Albert Edwards is saying

A tidal wave is coming to the US economy, according to Albert Edwards, and when it crashes it’s going to throw the economy into recession.

…the profit recession facing American corporations is going to lead to a collapse in corporate credit.

“Despite risk assets enjoying a few weeks in the sun our fail-safe recession indicator has stopped flashing amber and turned to red”

He continued:

Whole economy profits never normally fall this deeply without a recession unfolding. And with the US corporate sector up to its eyes in debt, the one asset class to be avoided — even more so than the ridiculously overvalued equity market — is US corporate debt. The economy will surely be swept away by a tidal wave of corporate default.

As you can see, it isn’t just one nation or one region of the world that we need to be concerned about.

Economic chaos is erupting literally all over the planet, and global leaders are starting to panic.

Unfortunately, they have had seven years to try to fix things since the last global recession, and they didn’t get the job done. Anyone that believes that by some miracle they will be able to pull us out of the fire this time and that everything will somehow be okay is simply engaged in wishful thinking.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Corporate Debt Defaults Explode To Catastrophic Levels Not Seen Since The Last Financial Crisis

Boom - Public Domain

If a new financial crisis had already begun, we would expect to see corporate debt defaults skyrocket, and that is precisely what is happening. As you will see below, corporate defaults are currently at the highest level that we have seen since 2009. A wave of bankruptcies is sweeping the energy industry, but it isn’t just the energy industry that is in trouble. In fact, the average credit rating for U.S. corporations is now lower than it was at any point during the last recession. This is yet another sign that we are in the early chapters of a major league economic crisis. Yesterday I talked about how 23.2 percent of all Americans in their prime working years do not have a job right now, but today I am going to focus on the employers. Big corporate giants all over America are in deep, deep financial trouble, and this is going to result in a tremendous wave of layoffs in the coming months.

We should rejoice that U.S. stocks have rebounded a bit in the short-term, but the euphoria in the markets is not doing anything to stop the wave of corporate defaults that is starting to hit Wall Street like a freight train. Zero Hedge is reporting that we have not seen this many corporate defaults since the extremely painful year of 2009…

While many were looking forward to the weekend in last week’s holiday-shortened week for some overdue downtime, the CEOs of five, mostly energy, companies had nothing but bad news for their employees and shareholders: they had no choice but to throw in the towel and file for bankruptcy.

And, as Bloomberg reports, with last week’s five defaults, the 2016 to date total is now 31, the highest since 2009 when there were 42 company defaults, according to Standard & Poor’s. Four of the defaults in the week ended March 23 were by U.S. issuers including UCI Holdings Ltd. and Peabody Energy Corp., the credit rating company said.

And by all indications, what we have seen so far is just the beginning. According to Wolf Richter, the average rating on U.S. corporate debt is already lower than it was at any point during the last financial crisis…

Credit rating agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s, are not known for early warnings. They’re mired in conflicts of interest and reluctant to cut ratings for fear of losing clients. When they finally do warn, it’s late and it’s feeble, and the problem is already here and it’s big.

So Standard & Poor’s, via a report by S&P Capital IQ, just warned about US corporate borrowers’ average credit rating, which at “BB,” and thus in junk territory, hit a record low, even “below the average we recorded in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 credit crisis.”

What all of this tells us is that we are in the early stages of an absolutely epic financial meltdown.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more indications that the real economy is slowing down significantly. According to the Atlanta Fed, U.S. GDP growth for the first quarter is now expected to come in at just 0.6 percent, and Moody’s Analytics is projecting a similar number…

First-quarter growth is now tracking at just 0.9 percent, after new data showed surprising weakness in consumer spending and a wider-than-expected trade gap.

According to the CNBC/Moody’s Analytics rapid update, economists now see the sluggish growth pace based on already reported data, down from 1.4 percent last week.

Of course if the government was actually using honest numbers, people wouldn’t be talking about the potential start of a new recession. Instead, they would be talking about the deepening of a recession that never ended.

We are in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble the world has ever experienced. For decades, the United States has been running up government debt, corporate debt and consumer debt. Our trade deficits have been bigger than anything the world has ever seen before, and our massively inflated standard of living was funded by an ever increasing pile of IOUs. I love how Doug Noland described this in his recent piece

With U.S. officials turning their backs on financial excesses, Bubble Dynamics and unrelenting Current Account Deficits, I expected the world to lose its appetite for U.S. financial claims. After all, how long should the world be expected to trade real goods and services for endless U.S. IOUs?

As it turned out, rather than acting to discipline the profligate U.S. Credit system, the world acquiesced to Bubble Dynamics. No one was willing to be left behind. Along the way it was learned that large reserves of U.S. financial assets were integral to booming financial inflows and attendant domestic investment and growth. The U.S. has now run persistently large Current Account Deficits for going on 25 years.

Seemingly the entire globe is now trapped in a regime of unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus required to levitate a world with unmatched debt and economic imbalances. History has seen nothing comparable. And I would strongly argue that the consequences of Bubbles become much more problematic over time. The longer excesses persist the deeper the structural impairment.

As this bubble bursts, we are going to endure a period of adjustment unlike anything America has ever known before. I talk about the pain coming to America in my new book entitled “The Rapture Verdict” which is currently the #1 new release in Christian eschatology on Amazon.com. To be honest, I don’t know if any of us really understands the horror that is coming to this nation in the years ahead. None of us have ever experienced anything similar to it, so we don’t really have a frame of reference to imagine what it will be like.

This spike in corporate debt defaults is a major league red flag. Since the last financial crisis, our big corporations went on a massive debt binge, and now they are starting to pay the price.

We never seem to learn from the errors of the past. Instead of learning our lessons the last time around, we just went out and made even bigger mistakes.

I am afraid that history is going to judge us rather harshly.

Those that are waiting for the next great financial crisis to begin can quit waiting, because it is already happening right in front of our eyes.

If you believe that the temporary rebound of U.S. stocks is somehow going to change the trajectory of where things are heading, you are going to end up deeply, deeply disappointed.

(Originally published on the Economic Collapse Blog)

The American Dream Is Dead, And Now Even The Mainstream Media Is Starting To Admit It

Cemetary Graveyard - Public Domain

Are you living “the American Dream”? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate, because most Americans are not. In fact, as you will see below, a new survey has found that there is nowhere on the entire planet where the average wage earner is making enough money to live “the American Dream”. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year, and poverty is growing rapidly. The American Dream is essentially dead, and even the mainstream media is starting to figure this out.

Just today, someone sent me a U.S. News & World Report article entitled “Even Americans Can’t Afford the American Dream”. The following is an excerpt from that article

The study goes country by country, factoring in average local wages and prices to calculate the regional costs of luxuries such as midsize homes (by U.S. standards, 1,480 square feet); electricity and high-speed Internet; cars and enough money for gasoline; food for a family of four; and enough disposable income to periodically dine out and attend movies or other events.

Researchers ultimately found there isn’t a country on the map whose average wage earner could afford all of these expenses together. What’s more, average consumers in Saudi Arabia and Oman are actually closer to financing these socioeconomic goals than the average American. The average Saudi household would only need to see monthly salaries climb by about $74 to realize the American dream in their own country, while U.S. workers would need hundreds of dollars in additional income.

Isn’t that alarming?

The American Dream is out of the grasp of most people living in America, and there isn’t anywhere else on the globe where a majority of the workers are experiencing it either.

That same article also contained a few other facts that are truly sobering…

“After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it,” the Pew report said. “Since 1971, each decade has ended with a smaller share of adults living in middle-income households than at the beginning of the decade, and no single decade stands out as having triggered or hastened the decline in the middle.”

Another recent study from the Brookings Institution found that median wages fell in 80 percent of America’s largest metros between 2009 and 2014.

The middle class has been shrinking for a very long time, and now that collapse is accelerating.

So what is the solution?

Well, CNN is reporting that a new survey has discovered that middle class Americans feel that the federal government should do more to help them out…

Hey federal government! The middle class would like some help, too.

A majority of Americans say the feds don’t do enough to help the middle class, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Thursday. The middle class is more neglected than the poor or children, survey respondents said.

More socialism for everyone!

That will solve all of our problems, right?

Of course not. Actually, if we had a much smaller government that would probably go a long way toward fixing things. This is hard to believe, but in 2015 Americans spent more on taxes than on food, clothing and housing combined.

If the federal government would just stop taxing us into oblivion, a lot more of us would do okay all on our own.

These days, so many families are just scraping by from month to month. As the cost of living continues to move steadily upward, many Americans find themselves forced to go into debt just to cover basic expenses.

And our society actually encourages all of us to go into debt, and so we think that it is okay. But many of us end up digging financial holes that we never get out of. This is especially true for a lot of young people today. One recent survey found that 68 percent of all Americans had destroyed their credit before the age of 30.

Of course then we hear on the news that the economy is “not growing fast enough” because consumers are not spending enough money.

The experts that are telling people this don’t seem to understand that most consumers are tapped out at this point.

You can’t get blood from a rock, and as a result a lot of retailers are really hurting right now. The following list of store closures comes from my recent article about the ongoing retail apocalypse

-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.

-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.

-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.

-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.

-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.

-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.

-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.

-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.

When I was a young boy, I think that you could have said that the American Dream was still alive and well in the United States.

But after decades of exceedingly foolish decisions, things have completely changed and the middle class is dying right in front of our eyes.

If you doubt this, please see the list of statistics that I have shared below that comes from one of my previous articles

#1 This week we learned that for the first time ever recorded, middle class Americans make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

#2 According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4 percent from 2000 to 2014.

#3 The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astounding 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.

#4 In 1970, the middle class took home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has plummeted to just 43 percent.

#5 There are still 900,000 fewer middle class jobs in America than there were when the last recession began, but our population has gotten significantly larger since that time.

#6 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#7 For the poorest 20 percent of all Americans, median household wealth declined from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011.

#8 A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.

#9 At this point, the U.S. only ranks 19th in the world when it comes to median wealth per adult.

#10 Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been one of the engines that has fueled the growth of the middle class in the United States, but today the level of entrepreneurship in this country is sitting at an all-time low.

#11 If you can believe it, the 20 wealthiest people in this country now have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined.

#12 The top 0.1 percent of all American families have about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.

#13 If you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of all Americans.

#14 The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

#15 An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.

#16 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans now live in a home that receives money from the government each month, and nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.

#17 In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.

#18 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996.

#19 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.

#20 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.

#21 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.

#22 The median net worth of families in the United States was $137, 955 in 2007. Today, it is just $82,756.

Suicide, Crime, Unemployment And Poverty All Soar As The Economic Crisis In Alberta Accelerates

Canadian Flag - Public Domain

The nightmare that is currently unfolding up in Canada will soon be coming to the United States.  When the price of oil first started crashing, most Americans and most Canadians applauded.  Most people thought that lower gas prices would be really good for the economy.  Well, it turns out that the exact opposite is true.  Just like in the United States, the energy industry has been the primary engine for the growth of good paying jobs in Canada since the last recession.  Up in Alberta, there was such a need for oil patch workers that even someone that had just recently graduated from high school could find an oil patch job that paid six figures during the boom times.  Now the “boom” is turning into a “bust”, and huge numbers of those good paying jobs are being lost.  As a result, suicide, crime, unemployment and poverty are all skyrocketing, and the mainstream media is telling us that “the worst is yet to come“.

It saddens me to watch what is happening to Alberta, because I have family up there.  Whenever I have visited Alberta, I have been very impressed by how clean and orderly the communities are and by how very polite most people seem to be.  As Americans, there is much that we could learn from our neighbors to the north.

But now that the oil bubble has burst, things are changing up in Alberta very rapidly.  The following comes from a recent Bloomberg article

Crime is rising, home prices are falling and food banks are overwhelmed in Calgary as job losses spread. And the worst isn’t yet over in the heart of Canada’s oil patch.

Some of the city’s largest employers are poised to cut more jobs in 2016 as they reduce spending for a second straight year, adding to an estimated 40,000 oil and natural gas positions lost across the nation since the crude price rout began 18 months ago.

We all know someone who has lost a job,” Naheed Nenshi, the city’s mayor, said in a speech this month, lamenting the “funeral”-like atmosphere in the business community.

When we start digging into some of the hard numbers, things get even bleaker.  Just check out these statistics

-A total of more than 63,000 jobs were lost in Alberta during the first eight months of 2015 alone.

-Over the past 12 months, the official unemployment rate in Calgary has shot up from 4.6 percent to 6.9 percent.

-Home sales in Calgary have plummeted 21 percent so far in 2015.

-Just since September, the number of school lunches for poor children provided by Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids has risen by 16 percent.

-Food bank use in the province of Alberta overall has jumped by a whopping 23 percent according to the most recent numbers.

-In Calgary, the number of commercial break-ins has nearly doubled over the past year.

-The number of bank robberies in Calgary has increased by 65 percent in 2015.

-The number of home invasions in Calgary has risen by 52 percent in 2015.

-Every time there is an economic downturn in Alberta, the suicide rate shoots up, and this year is no exception.  It is being projected that the suicide rate will be about 30 percent higher this year than it was last year.

This is what happens when a “boom cycle” turns into a “bust cycle”, and the same thing is coming to the United States.

Even in the midst of our so-called “economic recovery”, poverty in America has continued to explode, suicide rates have continued to rise, and in many of our largest cities violent crime rates are up by double digit percentages in 2015.

If these things have been happening during the “good times”, what in the world are the “bad times” going to look like?

Just because the U.S. stock market is doing okay for the moment does not mean that the underlying economy is in good shape.  The truth is that we are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is now starting to accelerate once again.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Sayonara Middle Class: 22 Stunning Pieces Of Evidence That Show The Middle Class In America Is Dying“.

What is happening up in Alberta right now gives us some important clues about what we can expect to happen shortly in our own communities.

First of all, we are going to see large numbers of people start to lose their jobs just like we saw back in 2008.  And because 62 percent of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, that means that most people do not have a cushion to fall back upon.  Just like in 2008, millions upon millions of Americans will go from living a very comfortable middle class lifestyle to facing hard times and desperation very, very rapidly.

As fear and poverty spread, people will become desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.

Some will decide that their lives are no longer worth living and will turn to suicide.  Others will turn to drugs, alcohol or pills.  When things get tough, addictive behavior tends to rise, and this time around will probably be no exception.

Other Americans will turn to crime and violent behavior in their desperation.  Just like we are seeing in Canada right now, home invasions, bank robberies and other forms of violent crime will increase.

But if you are prepared ahead of time, you and your family will have a chance to make it through the storm.  That is why I am constantly urging my readers to prepare.  If you wait until the storm is right on top of us, that will be too late to start preparing.

Right at this moment, things seem relatively quiet.  Most of us have become trained to think in terms of 48 hour news cycles, and so we can be fooled by temporary lulls in the action.

Don’t be fooled.  This period of relative quiet is about to come to an abrupt end, and 2016 is going to be far more chaotic than most people would dare to imagine.

So please get prepared for what is ahead now, while you still can.

Epocalypse Soon: The Great Economic Collapse is Happening

Economic Trouble - Public Domain

(Guest article by David Haggith of the Great Recession Blog) I use the term “epocalypse” to name the last days of the global economy as we know it — a global economic collapse of biblical proportion. It is economic, epochal, an apocalypse that will change the world and a collapse … all in one word that sounds the right size for what I’m talking about. Call it the “Great Collapse” or the “Epocalypse.” Whatever you call it, it’s about to change the world.

I am referring to an economic crisis so big that the global economy will be forever different after those days. This economic collapse has already begun throughout the world, but I am holding off on using the title “Epocalypse Now” until the US stock market joins the crash. That’s the point at which we’re all in (i.e., at a level where everyone knows it and denial that it is happening falls apart). I anticipate making that call in a matter of days now. Here is where we stand at present:

Economic collapse is already global

Open your eyes to a wider scope than just the US stock market, and it’s as if a fog lifts all around you to reveal a war-ravaged landscape. It may not be like the landscape described in the New Testament book, The Apocalypse (The Revelation), but it’s moving in that kind of direction. Let me describe what is already unfolding in case you haven’t caught the big picture.

 

  • The energy crash is certain to worsen. The news last week that OPEC is not going to lower output, makes it clear that OPEC is in the energy price war for the duration. Driven by the Saudis, OPEC nations will assure oversupply until they see several major oil companies in the US collapse. To lower output now and raise oil prices would be to have suffered a year of pain for absolutely nothing. OPEC is committed to breaking the US fracking industry, and it’s doing a pretty good job of it. That means energy stocks and oil prices are down for the long term. The price of oil now matches its lowest point in the Great Recession.
  • All commodity prices are collapsing, and the situation is clearly going to worsen and stay bad for a long time. China’s demand for natural resources is not coming back for many years, as its slowdown was intentional, albeit apparently out of control. Because of its slowdown, China became a net seller of materials this year, versus a net buyer. This has become huge bad news for companies all over the world in the natural-resources industry. China is now playing a similar role in all natural resources to that played by OPEC in oil. China has huge overcapacity now in its production of refined materials, but it is cheaper to run some businesses at a loss than to shut them down due to fixed expenses, liabilities, etc. These businesses are underpricing their global competitors, hoping to shut them down so that Chinese businesses can survive in a market of reduced demand. This is crushing major US companies like Alcoa, which has closed down smelters because it cannot compete against the lower price of Chinese aluminum. Copper, to give another example is down 37% from its last high in June of 2014. All of this is a longterm change in the commodities market that is affecting the entire natural-resources industry. The Bloomberg Commodities Index has hit its lowest level in sales of all commodities valued in dollars since 1999. The global overcapacity in steel production alone is estimated at 700,000,000 tons a year. China is exporting deflation all over the world. And major commodity crashes are usually a harbinger for stock market crashes and overall economic crashes.
  • Globally, twenty-seven stock markets are now in correction (a decline of 10% or more) with thirteen of those being bear markets (a decline of 20% or more). Several markets have fallen more than 30%. Trillions of dollars have evaporated around the world. These all-out crashes can be found in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. They are, in other words, global in extent and include such major economies as the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Canada, Australia and India — not just the usual trouble spots. The last time we saw such widespread stock-market carnage was in 2008 in the first part of the Great Recession. So, it is no overstatement to say we already have a global stock market crash. If you’re in the United States, you might not be feeling the epocalypse yet; but the rest of the world is; and once the US is in, things will become even worse for the rest of the world, which in turn will make things worse for the US.
  • Economic collapse is everywhere; several economies have seen recession this year. Japan, Canada, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Greece are just some of the nations that have officially been in recession during 2015.  Japan, of course, has revised its numbers to claim it is not really in recession. Whatever. If you’re that close that you can’t figure it out, you might as well be considered in. For Japan this makes five recessions in seven years. Global GDP — the sum of all national GDPs — has been falling for a year. The only other time in the past half century that has seen any drop in global GDP was 2008, during which it fell the same amount that it has fallen this year. As recessions are measured by drops in GDP, this means the globe overall is in recession. So, I’m already correct this year in my major prediction that global economic collapse would be a fact this fall. It is a fact.
  • Global economic trade has been collapsing all year. It is down 8.4%, and the rate of decline is getting steeper. The Baltic Dry Index, which monitors shipping costs, has dropped from 809 to 628 in just one month. Container costs go down as demand goes down, and shippers compete more fiercely for fewer customers. The China Containerized Freight Index has hit a record low, falling 31% for the year. German exports were down 18% for the year; US exports, down 10%. Shipping giant Maersk says that shipping indicates the global economy is actually doing worse than most economic projections indicate.
  • Europe is trying to absorb millions of impoverished refugees. Already teetering on recession, Europe averages an unemployment rate of 10%. I have to wonder why European leaders think Europe actually has the financial capacity to absorb millions of jobless refugees. Who is going to support them? Millions of jobless Europeans? The situation has the makings of social calamity, even without the huge cultural divide between the refugees and Europeans and even aside from the risk that such rapid immigration makes it easier for terrorists to slip in among the immigrants. Europe’s leaders are completely unrealistic about Europe’s capacity to absorb the refuge crisis.
  • Islamic terrorism is not going away. Forty-nine nations that are predominantly Islamic want to see the entire globe ruled by Sharia. Many of them are directly funding terrorists. ISIS is expanding its recruitment within nations all over the world, claiming now is the time for Muslims everywhere to rise up in battle within their own nations. Its efforts are sophisticated and inspirational, such as this new song in Mandarin in China (lyric translation). This epic battle creates a high security cost to the economies of all Western nations at a time when they are already weak … and ISIS knows this. Their philosophy is to strike the giant while he is ailing in order to bring him down for good.

 

The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State

 

Economic collapse developing in the US

 

  • Junk bond interest is skyrocketing as the high-yield bond market begins to collapse. The US collapse into the Great Recession was led by junk bonds. Obviously, as junk bonds become riskier, the amount offered in interest to attract financiers rises. So, skyrocketing interest equates to a perception of skyrocketing risk. Junk bond interest this year has taken on that distinct “hockey stick” shape, reaching its highest level in five years. That rise is across the board, not just in industries where it would be expected, such as financing in the energy industry. Those who already hold high-yield bonds are seeing their first annual loss since 2008 as they seek to dump bonds that have a growing risk of default. Risky bonds usually average about one-and-a-half times the yield of safer bonds. They now average four times the yield in order to find buyers. This the start of a bond market sell-off. UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, reported recently that over a trillion dollars of junk bond issuers are having troubles refinancing. This adds up to a likelihood of large defaults in corporate junk bonds like the defaults that created the Great Recession. Junk-bond crashes also have a longstanding reputation of foreshadowing stock-market crashes. The potential Fed rate hike is exacerbating the rise in interest. The US economy now stands at the brink of the second crash of the Great Recession — the Epocalypse.
  • The US Dept. of Agriculture has forecast that farm incomes will decline 38% this year. Not dire for everyone, but it calls to mind years of the Great Depression when farmers struggled against drought during a time of economic collapse, and it does add more downward pressure on some parts of the economy, including major corporations like John Deere. Poor farmers don’t buy expensive farm equipment if they can avoid it. They also don’t buy cars and trucks and a lot of other things. It all adds to the impact that the oil crash is having on the midwest.
  • Major retailers are in decline. Target, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Tiffany are all experiencing trouble. Sales are dropping so that inventories are backing up. The Wall Street Journal just published a story titled “Retailers Ring Alarm Bells for the Holiday Season,” which describes the decline as “shockingly bad.” This is not due entirely to customers switching from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchases. Bank of America reports that credit-card purchases, which happen equally in both physical stores and online stores, took their first holiday-season decline (year-on-year) since the official years of the Great Recession. Part of the decline, they say, but not all of it, was due to the drop in fuel prices, also purchased with credit cards; but part of it is due to retail.
  • Auto loans and student loans are a leaning tower of debt. Auto sales have peaked only as a result of a huge extension of looser, loser credit where loan terms are now up to seven years long, and interest is low or non-existent as are down payments. The last time we saw such desperate financing measures in the auto industry was just before the Great Recession, and we all know what happened to the auto industry then. We also know what happened to the housing industry when it peaked because of this kind of looser credit. We’ve learned nothing and have repeated the problem … on steroids. So, another crash is coming.
  • The US manufacturing sector is already in recession. When the index run by the Institute for Supply Management (the ISM index) falls below a reading of 50, it means US manufacturing is in contraction. Last month, it finally caved in to a level of  48.59. This is not a fluke. The index has been in steady decline since this past June. 65% of the times when the ISM index has gone below 50, the US economy has gone into recession. The 35% of the times when it did NOT go into recession were times that had nowhere near the downward economic pressures that the present time already has. The direction the ISM index moves has been a nearly perfect predictor of the direction US gross domestic product moves, and GDP is the measure by which economists determine if an economy is in expansion (growth) or contraction (recession). The last time the ISM index hit this level was during the pit of the Great Recession in 2009.
  • Dow Theory is waving a bright-red flag. Shipping companies, railroads and trucking companies are all in serious decline, as is Cummins, the maker of diesel engines, as is the sale of new trucks, new rail cars and new ships … because products and resources are not moving nearly as fast as they were. Sales are down. Stocks are down. The Port of Los Angeles reports a 15% decline in container shipping volume this year. Both imports and exports are down. Orders of large trucks are down 44% year-on-year. Railcar orders plunged 83% year-over-year in the third quarter, the largest decline in almost thirty years! Year-to-date, the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gone from a value of 9,200 to 7,800, a 15% drop.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, has lost less than half a percent for the year. According to Dow Theory, a healthy stock market with a good future sees both the Industrial Average and the Transportation Average going up together. When they diverge (especially this dramatically) trouble is afoot. The theory is based on the idea that, when manufacturers are doing well, they produce more, AND they ship more. Transportation stocks are seen as the leading indicator. If shipping is slowing, demand is slowing, and so manufacturing will have to slow down, too, as inventories start to pile up. Exactly what we’ve been seeing all year. Since transportation stocks have dropped 15% overall, Dow Theory suggests that manufacturing has a similar or even greater decline waiting for it, as manufacturing slows to match plunging demand and rid itself of existing overstock.
  • Hedge funds are tanking. Money managers who made big names for themselves are failing. They have been failing all year. Some have been failing for a few years now, and their problems are only getting worse. Why is it that the nation’s top stock pickers can no longer pick winning stocks to save their souls? Could it be that the stock market no longer works as a market for buying and selling interest in corporations but is purely a casino so that traditional fund managers no longer know how the game operates? Do you even wonder? When those with reputations of great economic success fail spectacularly and in fairly large numbers, can economic collapse be far behind?
  • The US stock market now rides on only ten stocks. Right now the US stock market is the best looking horse at the glue factory, so a whopping ten of its stocks are still fetching enough bids to keep the entire US stock average above water. Most of the US stock market is already in recession. When support in the market narrows down to only a handful of stocks that are going up in value enough to keep the market’s average up, that leaning out is nearly always the dying breath of a bull market. It means investors are finding very few stocks they have confidence in and are crowding into those few remaining shares like rats running to the highest point of a sinking ship.
  • Corporate sales have been down every quarter of 2015, and stock buybacks have been the market’s main support to share prices. Stock values have not risen due to sales but due to companies using cheap interest loans (as a result of the Federal Reserve’s policies) to buy back their own shares, creating their own demand in the stock market. The last time we saw such an incestuous frenzy of buybacks as we have in 2015 was in 2007. We all know what happened right after that. With no reason for sales to go up and with interest rates likely going up, buybacks will end, so stock prices will fall. Any companies that have to refinance their debt will have to do so at higher interest at a time of declining sales, exacerbating their decline.
  • The Fed will raise interest rates in December. The gauges for jobs that the Federal Reserve pays the closest attention to when deciding on interest targets came in so strong last month that the Federal Reserve would be hard-pressed to find another reason to keep interest down. While Permabear Peter Schiff has predicted repeatedly that the Fed will not raise rates and will go straight into a fourth round of quantitative easing, I have strongly disagreed throughout the year, maintaining that the Fed is blind and, so, it will raise rates because it looks at a very limited array of gauges and will not see the economic demise that is happening all around it any better this time than it did when Ben Bernanke declared in 2008 that the Fed saw no hint of a recession in sight, even as it turned out he was already standing knee-deep in the middle of one!
  • China’s yuan is now a global reserve currency. That threatens the supremacy of the US dollar as a reserve currency. China, once the United States’ major financier of national debt has divested from US treasuries. So, has Russia, once the second-largest financier of US debt. Longterm, this indicates higher interest rates on US debt as major buyers have already moved away and more may move away now that China’s yuan represents an option for storing sovereign treasure. With the national debt now four times higher than the mountain of debt that existed before the Great Recession, this could be calamitous.

 

That’s the large picture. When you see large blocks of it all at once like that, you get more of a sense of the scale of economic collapse that is coming. Note that none of the enormous pressures above appear likely to reverse anytime soon.

My conclusions about global economic collapse in 2015

 

Major hedge funds collapsing, only ten stocks carrying the whole stock market, junk bonds failing rapidly, commodities crashing spectacularly and for the long term. Are these not the four horsemen of an economic apocalypse? Is that the company you really want to ride with. If not, get out!

The US stock market is teetering on collapse just as the Fed is ready to raise interest — the perfect timing I have predicted all along for Fed foolishness  — the one thing the Fed excels at. The perfect storm. As a reader of this blog, you have the advantage of knowing what the Fed will do, when it will do it, and how oblivious the Fed will be to understanding that it is crashing its own false economy. You can’t do anything to stop the Fed’s childish ignorance. You can only watch it unfold from as safe a seat as you can find. So, find it quickly because the US is about to go over the cliff with the rest of the world.

Clearly, 2015 is a year when things fall apart as a result of the end of quantitative easing at the end of 2014. The year has unfolded just as I predicted it would. I’ve bet my blog that we will go into global economic collapse (already a fact), and that the US stock market and overall US economy will go over the cliff with the rest of the world this fall (fourth quarter), so I have a lot at stake in the next few weeks.

If you’ve been around this site for awhile, you know I said last year that the big stock market plunge in September-October of 2014 marked the end of the bull market. I said, you’d see that play out throughout 2015, and you have. Hindsight now verifies that the US stock market has bounced hectically sideways along an obvious ceiling ever since. The slope of the bull is long gone.

Why should it have been obvious that 2015 would go this way? Anyone understanding economic fundamentals should be able to see that the “recovery” is a mirage created by TRILLIONS of dollars of free money — a mirage that would, therefore, fall apart when the free money stopped that was sustaining it because nothing has been done to establish an economy built on anything other than endless mountains debt as its foundation, which was the cause of the initial economic collapse that we called “The Great Recession.”

Almost-free money continues under the Fed’s zero-interest program. So, when the Fed raises interest next week — a nearly certain likelihood — the remainder of support to the bubblistic, mirage economy falls away. The false recovery vanishes once the wizard’s magic ends. I have said for years now that the illusory recovery is completely unsustainable because our only solution to the Great Recession has been to prop up the old dying regime as long as we could to milk it for all its worth.

When the government reacted to the Great Recession many years ago, I used the metaphor of a snow plow, which is supposed to angle its blade to push the snow off to the side, not push it straight ahead. I pointed out that, if you push the snow straight ahead, it piles up until the snow plow is no longer able to push it. That, I have said all along is all we are doing — just pushing our mountains of debt higher and higher ahead of ourselves as our sole answer. (“Kicking the can down the road,” as congress often said (and did).) 2015 is the year the snow plows lost traction. That’s all you’ve heard all year is the screech of spinning tires. The end of 2015 is the time the epocalypse begins — a great economic collapse that will ultimately lead to global economic transformation because a global crisis will seem to demand global solutions.

What is truly needed is freedom from the addiction to and bondage of debt along with justice brought against colossal greed, instead of bailouts. That is one global answer that would work — a biblical “Year of Jubilee,” in which all debts are dissolved everywhere in the world — a global reboot that ends the tyranny of the 1%.

That would be a move for justice against the stockpilers of greed. You’d lose much of your retirement fund, but you’d also lose your mortgage and all other debts; and you’re likely to lose much of your retirement fund in the days ahead anyway, unless you move your money to cash, and even that has some peril. A “Year of Jubilee” would reset the whole playing field on a level plane.

It won’t happen.

Instead, we’ll see global answers that keep the majority of the world indebted to the minority and that consolidate the power of those already in power. You’ll see a loss of human freedoms in the face of anarchy and terrorism. Today’s people will readily give up their freedom in exchange for a sense of security. Gone are the days when brave souls gave up their own lives to assure human freedoms for others. Here are the days in which people will give up their own freedoms in order to assure their own lives.

That, however, is writing for another time. It is too soon right now to say such things, as people have not seen the epocaplyse that will change the world. They don’t believe in it; therefore, it seems too dismal by present measures to imagine such surrender of freedom is possible, much less likely. Nevertheless, that is the trend I see, but the first measure of the accuracy of that insight will be whether the epocaplyse comes this year, as I have maintained all year long it will. If I’m wrong, I’ll go away, as the world does not need dismal people, but one is not dismal if he is simply right. In that case, he cannot help that the truth is bleak. Better to see it for what is than to be blindsided by it.

The epocalypse has already begun in most of the world. Look for it to materialize in the US next week as the Fed raises interest. In fact, look for it to materialize even if the Fed does NOT raise interest. The Fed is now damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. Their magic has ended. Because the entire market is now anticipating the Fed will raise interest, based on the Fed’s own telegraphed messages, the Fed will send shock waves through the market if it does not follow through. If the Fed cannot raise interest even when all of its job gauges are where it said it wants them, that would say to many people that the Fed doesn’t believe in its own recovery either.

I am certain, however, that the Fed does believe in its false recovery, and am confident it will end its stimulus with the worst possible timing. That’s why I’ve predicted unflinchingly that the US stock market will crash this fall. The global economic collapse that I also predicted for this year, is clearly already happening; but for US citizens, it will take a stock-market crash to convince them that the end is here.

While JP Morgan and Citi were finally smart enough last week to put the likelihood of a US recession at 65% (after years of talking about “recovery” as if it were happening), they were also safe enough in hedging their prediction to give that a three-year time frame for happening. You can find much better precision and courage here. I’m stating a higher likelihood with a window now of one week. I’m not hedging my bets. Of course, it will take months to play out; but you’ll see the dramatic shift begin before fall has ended.

2015 was a year of moving sideways after the bull market ended. 2016 will be a long year of decline with many plunges along with some brief phantom rallies.

You’ve got little time left to secure your financial positions. After this week, things will change rapidly enough that you may not be able to get ahead of the wall of water that will be coming your way. Get as safely out of the way now as you can and watch it unfold from a position that is out of the way.

This is likely to be my final warning. After this, I’ll be writing about how it happened. For more reading on how the epocalypse is unfolding, click here.

Alarm Bells Go Off As 11 Critical Indicators Scream The Global Economic Crisis Is Getting Deeper

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Economic activity is slowing down all over the planet, and a whole host of signs are indicating that we are essentially exactly where we were just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008. Yesterday, I explained that the economies of Japan, Brazil, Canada and Russia are all in recession. Today, I am mainly going to focus on the United States. We are seeing so many things happen right now that we have not seen since 2008 and 2009. In so many ways, it is almost as if we are watching an eerie replay of what happened the last time around, and yet most of the “experts” still appear to be oblivious to what is going on. If you were to make up a checklist of all of the things that you would expect to see just before a major stock market crash, virtually all of them are happening right now. The following are 11 critical indicators that are absolutely screaming that the global economic crisis is getting deeper…

#1 On Tuesday, the price of oil closed below 40 dollars a barrel. Back in 2008, the price of oil crashed below 40 dollars a barrel just before the stock market collapsed, and now it has happened again.

#2 The price of copper has plunged all the way down to $2.04. The last time it was this low was just before the stock market crash of 2008.

#3 The Business Roundtable’s forecast for business investment in 2016 has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#4 Corporate debt defaults have risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession. This is a huge problem because corporate debt in the U.S. has approximately doubled since just before the last financial crisis.

#5 The Bloomberg U.S. economic surprise index is more negative right now than it was at any point during the last recession.

#6 Credit card data that was just released shows that holiday sales have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#7 As I mentioned yesterday, U.S. manufacturing is contracting at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession.

#8 The velocity of money in the United States has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. Not even during the depths of the last recession was it ever this low.

#9 In 2008, commodity prices crashed just before the stock market did, and late last month the Bloomberg Commodity Index hit a 16 year low.

#10 In the past, stocks have tended to crash about 12-18 months after a peak in corporate profit margins. At this point, we are 15 months after the most recent peak.

#11 If you look back at 2008, you will see that junk bonds crashed horribly. Why this is important is because junk bonds started crashing before stocks did, and right now they have dropped to the lowest point that they have been since the last financial crisis.

If just one or two of these indicators were flashing red, that would be bad enough.

The fact that all of them seem to be saying the exact same thing tells us that big trouble is ahead.

And I am not the only one saying this. Just today, a Reuters article discussed the fact that Citigroup analysts are projecting that there is a 65 percent chance that the U.S. economy will plunge into recession in 2016…

The outlook for the global economy next year is darkening, with a U.S. recession and China becoming the first major emerging market to slash interest rates to zero both potential scenarios, according to Citi.

As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.

Personally, I am convinced that we are already in a recession. There is a lag in the official numbers, so often we don’t know that we are officially in one until it is well underway. For example, we now know that a recession started in early 2008, but in the summer of 2008 Ben Bernanke and our top politicians were still insisting that there was not going to be a recession. They were denying what was actually happening right in front of their eyes, and the same thing is happening now.

And of course if the government was actually using honest numbers, we would all be talking about the recession that never seems to end. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, honest numbers would show that the U.S. economy has continually been in recession since 2005.

But just like in 2008, the “experts” at the Federal Reserve are assuring all of us that everything is going to be just fine. In fact, Janet Yellen is convinced that things are so rosy that she seems quite confident that the Fed will raise interest rates in December

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled Wednesday that the Fed is all but certain to raise interest rates this month for the first time in nearly a decade, saying that gains in the economy and labor market have met the central bank’s goals.

Her comments at the Economic Club of Washington amount to the strongest indication the Fed has provided so far that it will take action at a December 15-16 meeting.

This is the exact same kind of mistake that the Federal Reserve made back in the late 1930s. They thought that the U.S. economy was finally recovering, and so interest rates were raised. That turned out to be a tragic mistake.

But this time around, any mistake that the Fed makes will have global consequences. The rising U.S. dollar is already crippling emerging markets all around the globe, and an interest rate hike will just push the U.S. dollar even higher. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “The U.S. Dollar Has Already Caused A Global Recession And Now The Fed Is Going To Make It Worse“.

Many people are waiting for “the big crash”, but the truth is that almost everything has crashed already.

Oil has crashed.

Commodities have crashed.

Gold and silver have crashed.

Junk bonds have crashed.

Chinese stocks have crashed.

Dozens of other stock markets around the world have already crashed.

But the “big event” that many are waiting for is the crash of U.S. stocks. And just like in 2008, it is inevitable that a U.S. stock crash will follow all of the other crashes that I just mentioned.

Sometimes I get criticized for issuing these kinds of alarms. But just think of how many people could have been helped if they would have known that the financial crisis of 2008 was going to happen ahead of time.

The exact same patterns that we experienced back then are playing out once again right in front of our eyes, and the more people that we can warn in advance the better.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

18 Numbers That Scream That A Crippling Global Recession Has Arrived

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The stock market has been soaring, but all of the hard economic numbers are telling us that a major global recession is here. This is so reminiscent of what happened back in 2008. Back then, all of the fundamentals were screaming “recession” by the middle of that year, but the equity markets didn’t respond until later. It appears that a similar pattern is playing out right now. The trade numbers, the manufacturing numbers, the inventory numbers and even the GDP numbers are all saying that a very significant economic slowdown is happening, but stock traders haven’t gotten the memo yet. In fact, stocks had an absolutely great month in October. Of course just like in 2008, stocks will eventually catch up with reality. It is just a matter of time. The following are 18 numbers that scream that a crippling global recession has arrived…

#1 According to the biggest bank in the western world, British banking giant HSBC, the world is already in a “dollar recession“. Global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent so far in 2015, and total global trade has fallen 8.4 percent.

#2 In September, Chinese exports were down 3.7 percent compared to one year ago, and Chinese imports were down a whopping 20.4 percent compared to a year ago.

#3 Demand for Chinese steel is down 8.9 percent compared to a year ago.

#4 China’s rail freight volume is down 10.1 percent compared to last year.

#5 In October, South Korean exports were down 15.8 percent from a year ago.

#6 According to the Dutch government index, a year ago global trade in primary commodities was sitting at a reading of 150 but now it has fallen all the way down to 114. What this means is that less commodities are being traded around the world, and that is a very clear sign that global economic activity is really slowing down.

#7 U.S. exports are down 11 percent for the year so far. The only other times they have fallen this dramatically since the turn of the century were during the last two recessions.

#8 Since March, the amount of stuff being shipped by truck, rail and air inside the United States has been falling every single month on a year over year basis. If less stuff is being moved around the country, does that mean that economic activity is growing or declining? The answer, of course, is obvious.

#9 The ISM Manufacturing Index, which is the most important measurement of U.S. manufacturing activity, has fallen for four months in a row.

#10 The Dallas Fed’s Manufacturing Outlook has dropped for 10 months in a row.

#11 Wholesale sales in the U.S. have fallen to the lowest level since the last recession.

#12 The inventory to sales ratio has risen to the highest level since the last recession. This means that there is a whole lot of unsold inventory that is just sitting around out there and not selling.

#13 It looks like a new housing slump is emerging in the United States. Sales of previously owned homes fell by 2.3 percent in September.

#14 New home sales in the United States declined by a whopping 11.5 percent in September.

#15 Wal-Mart is projecting that its earnings may fall by as much as 12 percent during the next fiscal year.

#16 According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate in the United States today would be 22.9 percent.

#17 According to Challenger Gray, layoffs at major firms have risen to the highest level that we have witnessed since 2009.

#18 The number of job openings in the United States declined by 5.3 percent during the month of August. That was a very large plunge for just one month.

None of the underlying issues that caused our problems back in 2008 and 2009 have been fixed. Instead, we just became even bigger and bolder with our mistakes. In the period between the last recession and today, we witnessed the greatest debt binge in the history of the planet. Now a lot of that debt is starting to go bad, and the Bank for International Settlements says that their “dashboard of risk is flashing red”. The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian entitled “Apocalypse now: has the next giant financial crash already begun?“…

This summer, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) pointed out that certain major economies were seeing a sharp rise in debt-to-GDP ratios, which were well outside historic norms. In China, the rest of Asia and Brazil, private-sector borrowing has risen so quickly that BIS’s dashboard of risk is flashing red. In two thirds of all cases, red warnings such as this are followed by a major banking crisis within three years.

And that is exactly what we are heading for. Whether it happens next week or several months from now, the truth is that we are steamrolling toward another great banking crisis, and it will be worldwide in scope.

By the time that it is all said and done, I believe that the economic crisis that we are heading toward will be much worse than what we experienced back in 2008 and 2009. The U.S. economy has never even gotten close to the level it was operating at prior to the last recession, and now the next crisis is upon us.

But until stocks crash here in the United States, most people are going to ignore all of the numbers above and will just keep pretending that everything is going to be just fine.

Just like in 2008, the irrational optimists are going to keep chanting their happy mantras for as long as they possibly can.

(Originally published on End of the American Dream)

The Calm Before The Storm

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Have you noticed that things have gotten eerily quiet in the month of October? After the chaos of late August and early September, many had anticipated that we would be dealing with a full-blown financial collapse by now, but instead we have entered a period of “dead calm” in which things have become exceedingly quiet in almost every way that you can possibly imagine. Other “watchmen” that I highly respect have made the exact same observation. Even though the economic numbers are screaming that we have entered a global recession, they aren’t really make any headline news. A whole host of major financial institutions around the planet are currently in danger of collapsing and creating the next “Lehman Brothers moment”, but none of them has imploded just yet. And of course Barack Obama seems bound and determined to start World War III. On Monday, it was announced that he is sending a guided missile destroyer into Chinese waters in the South China Sea. The Chinese have already stated that they might just start shooting if this happens, but Barack Obama doesn’t seem to care. But until the shooting actually begins, that is not likely to upset the current tranquility that we are enjoying either.

To me, what we are experiencing at the moment would best be described as “the calm before the storm”. If you are not familiar with this concept, this is how it is defined by How Stuff Works

Have you ever spent an afternoon in the backyard, maybe grilling or enjoying a game of croquet, when suddenly you notice that everything goes quiet? The air seems still and calm — even the birds stop singing and quickly return to their nests.

After a few minutes, you feel a change in the air, and suddenly a line of clouds ominously appears on the horizon — clouds with a look that tells you they aren’t fooling around. You quickly dash in the house and narrowly miss the first fat raindrops that fall right before the downpour. At this moment, you might stop and ask yourself, “Why was it so calm and peaceful right before the storm hit?”

Like so many others, I believe that a great storm is coming, and yet right at this moment things seem so peaceful.

Unfortunately, this period of peace and quiet is not going to last for long, and most Americans know deep down that something is seriously wrong with our nation. In fact, a new WND/Clout poll has found that 85.3 percent of all likely voters in the United States believe that our country is going in the wrong direction…

The poll found 92.6 percent of those who identified themselves as conservative believe the nation is on the wrong track. Among those who call themselves liberal, 90.9 percent said it is going the wrong direction.

When asked what they think of the American economy after seven years of Obama’s leadership and economic policies, nearly 80 percent described it as “very fragile” or “somewhat fragile.”

Self-identified Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives were in general agreement, with about 75 percent to 80 percent describing the economy as “somewhat fragile” or “very fragile.”

But even though we are steamrolling in the wrong direction, we haven’t suffered any incredibly serious consequences for it yet.

For the moment, this is allowing the mockers to have a field day. They are fully confident that Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve knew what they were doing after all, and they are gleefully taunting those of us that have been warning of the great disaster that is heading our way.

However, those that are wise are getting prepared.

I think that we could all learn some lessons from what Overstock.com Chairman Jonathan Johnson is doing. The following is an extended excerpt from a recent Zero Hedge article

*****

One week ago Johnson, who is also candidate for Utah governor, spoke at the United Precious Metals Association, or UPMA, which we first profiled a month ago, and which takes advantage of Utah’s special status allowing the it to use gold as legal tender, offering gold and silver-backed accounts. As a reminder, the UPMA takes Federal Reserve Notes (or paper dollars) which it then translates into golden dollars (or silver). The golden dollars are based off the $50 one ounce gold coins produced by the Treasury of The United States. They are legal tender under the law and are protected as such.

What did Johnson tell the UPMA? Here are some choice quotes:

We are not big fans of Wall Street and we don’t trust them. We foresaw the financial crisis, we fought against the financial crisis that happened in 2008; we don’t trust the banks still and we foresee that with QE3, and QE4 and QE n that at some point there is going to be another significant financial crisis.

So what do we do as a business so that we would be prepared when that happens. One thing that we do that is fairly unique: we have about $10 million in gold, mostly the small button-sized coins, that we keep outside of the banking system. We expect that when there is a financial crisis there will be a banking holiday. I don’t know if it will be 2 days, or 2 weeks, or 2 months. We have $10 million in gold and silver in denominations small enough that we can use for payroll. We want to be able to keep our employees paid, safe and our site up and running during a financial crisis.

We also happen to have three months of food supply for every employee that we can live on.

*****

Why would such a seemingly intelligent and successful CEO of a large Internet company do such things?

It is because he can see the writing on the wall.

This period of calm will not last. A great storm is coming, and when it does arrive those that have not prepared for it are going to suffer tremendously.

Most people have no idea just how fragile our system really is. Today, some of these “too big to fail” banks supposedly have trillions of dollars in assets, but if you want to withdraw $10,000 or more in cash you have got to give them 24 hours notice to get enough money

This is just the beginning. As anyone can tell you, it’s all but impossible to move large amounts of money into cash in the US. Even the large banks will routinely ask you for 24 hours notice if you need $10,000 or more in cash. These are banks will TRILLIONS of dollars worth of assets on their books.

And with each passing day we see even more signs of the global economic slowdown that is emerging all around us. For example, we just learned that the China Containerized Freight Index has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. China accounts for more global trade than anyone else, and so this is a very clear sign that global economic activity is slowing down dramatically…

By early July, the index dropped below 800 for the first time in its history, which started in 1998 when the index was set at 1,000. It soon recovered to about 850. And just when bouts of hope were rising that the worst was over, it plunged again and hit even lower levels.

The latest weekly reading dropped another 1.7% from the prior week to 752.21, the worst level ever. The CCFI is now 30% below where it had been in February this year and 25% below where it had been 17 years ago at its inception.

But for those that don’t want to believe that hard times are on the way, they can take comfort in the eerie period of calm that we are experiencing right now.

What they don’t realize is that this truly is “the calm before the storm”, and the global economic crisis that is ahead of us is going to be far beyond what most people ever dared to imagine was possible.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Why Are The IMF, The UN, The BIS And Citibank All Warning That An Economic Crisis Could Be Imminent?

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The warnings are getting louder. Is anybody listening? For months, I have been documenting on my website how the global financial system is absolutely primed for a crisis, and now some of the most important financial institutions in the entire world are warning about the exact same thing. For example, this week I was stunned to see that the Telegraph had published an article with the following ominous headline: “$3 trillion corporate credit crunch looms as debtors face day of reckoning, says IMF“. And actually what we are heading for would more accurately be described as a “credit freeze” or a “credit panic”, but a “credit crunch” will definitely work for now. The IMF is warning that the “dangerous over-leveraging” that we have been witnessing “threatens to unleash a wave of defaults” all across the globe…

Governments and central banks risk tipping the world into a fresh financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned, as it called time on a corporate debt binge in the developing world.

Emerging market companies have “over-borrowed” by $3 trillion in the last decade, reflecting a quadrupling of private sector debt between 2004 and 2014, found the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report.

This dangerous over-leveraging now threatens to unleash a wave of defaults that will imperil an already weak global economy, said stark findings from the IMF’s twice yearly report.

The IMF is actually telling the truth in this instance. We are in the midst of the greatest debt bubble the world has ever seen, and it is a monumental threat to the global financial system.

But even though we know about this threat, that doesn’t mean that we can do anything about it at this point or stop what is about to happen.

The Bank of England, the UN and the Bank for International Settlements have all issued similar ominous warnings. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Guardian

The IMF’s warning echoes a chorus of others. The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, has argued that the world is entering the latest episode of a “three-part crisis trilogy”. Unctad, the UN’s trade and development arm, would like to see advanced economies boost public spending to offset the downturn in emerging economies. The Bank for International Settlements believes interest rates have been too low for too long, encouraging too much risk-taking in financial markets. All of them fear that the global financial system is primed for a crisis.

I particularly like Andy Haldane’s likening our current situation to a “three-part crisis trilogy”. I think that is perfect. And if you are familiar with movie trilogies, then you know that the last episode is usually the biggest and the baddest.

Citigroup economist Willem Buiter also believes that big trouble is on the horizon. In fact, he is publicly warning of a “global recession” in 2016

Citigroup economist Willem Buiter looks at the world landscape and sees an economy performing substantially below potential output, which he uses as the general benchmark for the idea of a global recession. With that in mind, he said the chances of a global recession in 2016 are growing.

“We think that the evidence suggests that the global output gap is negative and that the global economy is currently growing at a rate below global potential growth. The (negative) output gap is therefore widening,” Buiter said in a note to clients. He added, “from an output gap that was probably quite close to zero fairly recently, continued sub-par global growth is likely to put the global economy back into recession, if indeed the world ever fully emerged of the recession caused by the global financial crisis.”

Usually when we are plunged into a new crisis there is some sort of “trigger event” that creates widespread panic. Yesterday, I wrote about the ongoing problems at commodity giants such as Glencore, Trafigura and The Noble Group. The collapse of any of them could potentially be a new “Lehman Brothers moment”.

But something else happened just yesterday that is also extremely concerning. Just a couple of weeks ago, I warned that the biggest bank in Germany, Deutsche Bank, was on the verge of massive trouble. Well, on Wednesday the bank announced a loss of more than 6 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2015

Deutsche Bank’s new boss John Cryan set about cleaning up Germany’s biggest bank on Thursday, revealing a record pre-tax loss of 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in the third quarter and warning investors of a possible dividend cut.

Write downs, impairments and litigation costs all contributed to the loss, the bank said.

Cryan became chief executive in July with a promise to cut costs. The Briton is accelerating plans to shed assets and exit countries to shrink the bank and is preparing to ax about 23,000 jobs, or a quarter of the bank’s staff, sources told Reuters last month.

Keep an eye on Germany – the problems there are just beginning.

Something else that I am closely watching is the fact that major exporting nations such as China that used to buy up lots of U.S. government debt are now dumping that debt at an unprecedented pace. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Five large purchasers of US Treasuries – China, Russia, Norway, Brazil, and Taiwan – have changed their minds. They’re dumping Treasuries, each for their own reasons that are now coinciding. And at the fastest rate on record.

For the 12-month period ended July, sales of Treasuries by central banks around the world reached a net of $123 billion, “the biggest decline since data started to be collected in 1978,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

China, the largest foreign owner of Treasuries – its hoard peaking at $1.317 trillion in November 2013 – has been unloading with particular passion. By July, the latest data available from the US Treasury Department, China’s pile was down to $1.241 trillion.

Yes, I know, the stock market went up once again on Thursday, and all of the irrational optimists are once again telling us that everything is going to be just fine.

The truth, of course, is that everything is not going to be just fine. Ever since I started the Economic Collapse Blog, I have never wavered in my belief that the greatest economic crisis that the United States has ever seen is coming, and I have written well over 1000 articles setting forth the case for the coming collapse in excruciating detail. Nobody is going to be able to say that I didn’t try to warn them.

Those that have blind faith in Barack Obama, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the other major central banks around the planet will continue to mock the idea that a major collapse is coming for as long as they can.

But when the day of reckoning does arrive and crisis coming knocking at their doors, what will they do then?

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

You Can Add Iraq And Ukraine To The List Of Economies That Are Collapsing

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The list of nations around the globe that have collapsing economies just continues to grow. In recent weeks I have written about the ongoing saga in Greece, the stock market crash in China, the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and the economic meltdown in South America. But there are more economic flashpoints that I have not even addressed yet. For example, did you know that a full-blown economic collapse is happening in Iraq right now? And did you know that the economy of Ukraine is contracting rapidly and that it cannot pay its debts? Back in 2008, the financial crisis was primarily centered on the United States, but this time around it is turning out to be a truly global phenomenon.

When the U.S. “liberated” Iraq, the future for that nation was supposed to be incredibly bright. But instead, things have just gone from bad to worse. This has especially been true since we pulled our troops out and allowed ISIS to run buck wild. At this point unemployment in Iraq is at Great Depression levels, the economy is steadily contracting and government debt is spiraling wildly out of control

But Iraq’s oil industry, and the government’s budget, is being squeezed by low oil prices. As a result, the nation’s finances are being hit hard: the market price is now half that needed to break even, expanding the budget deficit, forecast to return to balance until the rise of IS, to a projected 9% of GDP.

In the past, Iraq’s leaders approved budgets without seriously taking into account a drop in the price of oil. Now the severe revenue shortfall is forcing leaders to cut back on new investments. Russia’s Lukoil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Italy’s ENI are also cutting back, eyeing neighbouring Iran’s pending economic opening as a safer investment.

Despite improving its finances after the US troop withdrawal, the drop in oil prices and the rising costs of battling IS have pushed Iraq’s economy into a state of near-crisis. According to the IMF, the nation’s GDP shrank by 2.7% in 2014 and unemployment is estimated to be over 25%.

Things are even worse in another nation that was recently “liberated”. The new U.S.-friendly government in Ukraine was supposed to make things much better for average Ukrainians, but instead the economy is absolutely imploding

The country’s GDP contracted by 6.8 percent last year, and is forecast to shrink by another 9 percent this year — a total loss of roughly 16 percent over two years.

Just like in much of southern Europe, the banks are absolutely overloaded with bad loans and the entire banking system is on the verge of total collapse. The following comes from a CNN article that was posted earlier this year…

Ukraine’s banking sector is one of the weakest parts of the economy. The key interest rates are the highest in 15 years, and experts estimate bad loans make up between one third and one half of all banking assets.

Over 40 banks have been declared bankrupt since the war began, with the country’s fourth largest lender, Delta Bank, going under earlier this week.

Just recently, the government of Ukraine declared that it could not pay its debts. We didn’t hear much about this in the United States, because the Obama administration wants us to believe that their policies over there are a success. But the truth is that Ukraine now needs a “debt restructuring deal” similar to what Greece has received in the past

Progress between Ukraine and its creditors on a $19 billion restructuring may be losing momentum as a proposed high-level meeting was canceled amid further disagreements over terms.

Ukraine’s $2.6 billion of 2017 notes fell the most in a month after a person familiar with negotiations said a new offer put forward by Ukraine this week would be unacceptable to bondholders. Later on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry said that a Franklin Templeton-led creditor group should prepare an improved offer for meetings next week.

Speaking of Greece, things just continue to unravel over there. Earlier this week we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in Greek history, and there was more financial carnage on Wednesday. The following comes from the Economic Policy Journal

For a second straight day, following the reopening of the Greek stock market, there were heavy losses in Greek banking stocks, with shares across the sector once again falling by about 30 percent, the bottom of their daily limit.

Bank of Piraeus and National Bank of Greece fell the most, falling by the daily limit of 30 percent t. Alpha Bank was 29.7 percent lower and Eurobank Ergasias lost 29.6 percent.

At this point you would have to be blind to not see what is happening.

A financial crisis is not just imminent – one is already starting to erupt all over the planet.

And none of us can say that we weren’t warned. In a recent piece, Bill Holter included a long list of ominous financial warnings that were issued over the past two years by either the IMF or the Bank for International Settlements…

July 2014 – BIS –BIS Issues Strong Warning on “Asset Bubbles”

July 2014 – IMF –Bloomberg: IMF Warns of Potential Risks to Global Growth

October 2014 – BIS –”No One Could Foresee this Coming”

October 2014 IMF Direct Blog — What Could Make $3.8 Trillion in global bonds go up in smoke?

October 2014 IMF Report –”Heat Wave”-Rising financial risk in the U.S.

***December 2014 – BIS –BIS Issues a new warning on markets

December 2014 – BIS —BIS Warnings on the U.S. Dollar

February 2015 – IMF – Shadow Banking — Another Warning from the IMF – This Time on “Shadow Banking”

March 2015 – Former IMF Peter Doyle – Don’t expect any warning on new crisis -Former IMF Peter Doyle: Don’t Expect any Early Warning from the IMF –

*** April 2015 IMF – Liquidity Shock –IMF Tells Regulators to Brace for Liquidity Shock

May 2015 BIS – Need New “Rules of the Game” –BIS: Time to Think about New Global Rules of the Game?

June 2015 BIS Credit Risk Report –BIS: New Credit Risk Management Report

June 2015 IMF (Jose Vinals) –IMF’s Vinals Says Central Banks May Have to be Market Makers

***BIS June 2015 (UK Telegraph) –The world is defenceless against the next financial crisis, warns BIS

July 2015 – IMF – Warns US the System is Still Vulnerable (no blog article)IMF warns U.S.: Your financial system is (still) vulnerable

July 2015 – IMF – Warns Pension Funds Could Pose Systemic Risk (no blog article) –IMF warns pension funds could pose systemic risks to the US

Overall, there are currently 24 nations that are dealing with a major financial crisis right now, and there are another 14 nations that are right on the verge of one.

But even though a global financial crisis is already unfolding right in front of our eyes, there are people that come to my website every day and leave comments telling me that everything is going to be just fine.

So what do you think?

What do you believe the rest of this year will bring?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Copper, China And World Trade Are All Screaming That The Next Economic Crisis Is Here

Screaming Smiley - Public Domain

If you are looking for a “canary in a coal mine” type of warning for the entire global economy, you have a whole bunch to pick from right now. “Dr. Copper” just hit a six year low, Morgan Stanley is warning that this could be the worst oil price crash in 45 years, the Chinese economy is suddenly stalling out, and world trade is falling at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis. In order not to see all of the signs that are pointing toward a global economic slowdown, you would have to be willingly blind. In recent months, I have been writing article after article detailing how the exact same patterns that happened just before the stock market crash of 2008 are playing out once again. We are watching a slow-motion train wreck unfold right before our eyes, and things are only going to get worse from here.

Copper is referred to as “Dr. Copper” because it does such an excellent job of indicating where economic conditions are heading next. We saw this in 2008, when the price of copper started crashing big time in the months leading up to the stock market implosion.

Well, now copper is crashing again. Just check out this chart. The price of copper plunged again on Wednesday, and it is now the lowest that it has been since the last financial crisis. Unfortunately, the forecast for the months ahead is not good. The following is what Goldman Sachs is saying about copper…

“Though we have been bearish on copper on a 12-mo forward basis for the past two and a half years, we have maintained a more bullish medium to long-term stance on the assumption of Chinese copper demand growth of 4% per annum and a major slowing in supply growth around 2017/2018 … we substantially lower our short, medium, and long-term copper price forecasts, on the back of lower Chinese copper demand growth forecasts (we have been highlighting that the risk has been skewed to the downside for some time), increased conviction in copper supply growth over the next three years, and increased conviction in the outlook for mining cost deflation in dollar terms.”

It is funny that Goldman mentioned China so prominently. Even though China’s fake GDP figures say that everything is fine over there, other numbers are painting a very dismal picture.

For instance, Chinese electrical consumption in June grew at the slowest pace that we have seen in 30 years, and capital outflows from China have reached a level that is “frightening”

Robin Brooks at Goldman Sachs estimates that capital outflows topped $224bn in the second quarter, a level “beyond anything seen historically”.

The Chinese central bank (PBOC) is being forced to run down the country’s foreign reserves to defend the yuan. This intervention is becoming chronic. The volume is rising. Mr Brooks calculates that the authorities sold $48bn of bonds between March and June.

Charles Dumas at Lombard Street Research says capital outflows – when will we start calling it capital flight? – have reached $800bn over the past year. These are frighteningly large sums of money.

Just last month, the Chinese stock market started to crash, but the crash was interrupted when the Chinese government essentially declared a form of financial martial law.

And I don’t think that “financial martial law” is too strong of a term to use in this case. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article in the Telegraph

Half the shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen were suspended. New floats were halted. Some 300 corporate bosses were strong-armed into buying back their own shares. Police state tactics were used hunt down short sellers.

We know from a vivid account in Caixin magazine that China’s top brokers were shut in a room and ordered to hand over money for an orchestrated buying blitz. A target of 4,500 was set for the Shanghai Composite by Communist Party officials.

So a stock market crash was halted, but in doing so Chinese officials have essentially destroyed the second largest stock market in the world. China’s financial markets have lost all legitimacy, and foreigners are going to be extremely hesitant to put any money into Chinese stocks from now on.

Meanwhile, there is no hiding the fact that trade activity in China and in most of the rest of the planet is slowing down. In fact, world trade volume has now dropped by the most that we have seen since the last global recession. The following comes from Zero Hedge

As goes the world, so goes America (according to 30 years of historical data), and so when world trade volumes drop over 2% (the biggest drop since 2009) in the last six months to the weakest since June 2014, the “US recession imminent” canary in the coalmine is drawing her last breath

World Trade Volume - Zero Hedge

As Wolf Street’s Wolf Richter adds, this isn’t stagnation or sluggish growth. This is the steepest and longest decline in world trade since the Financial Crisis. Unless a miracle happened in June, and miracles are becoming exceedingly scarce in this sector, world trade will have experienced its first back-to-back quarterly contraction since 2009.

As you probably noted in the chart above, a decline in world trade is almost always associated with a recession.

That was certainly the case back in 2008 and 2009.

Another similarity between the last crisis and what is happening now is a crash in the price of oil.

According to Business Insider, we have just officially entered a brand new bear market for oil…

Oil is officially in a bear market.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell more than 1% to settle near $48.55 per barrel in New York.

A bear market is roughly defined as a 20% drop from highs. Crude has now fallen by about 20% in the last six weeks.

So what does all of this mean?

All of these signs are indicating that another great economic crisis is here, and that a global financial implosion is just around the corner.

At this point, even many of the “bulls” are sounding the alarm. For example, just consider what Henry Blodget of Business Insider is saying…

As regular readers know, for the past ~21 months I have been worrying out loud about US stock prices. Specifically, I have suggested that a decline of 30% to 50% would not be a surprise.

I haven’t predicted a crash. But I have said clearly that I think stocks will deliver returns that are way below average for the next seven to 10 years. And I certainly won’t be surprised to see stocks crash. So don’t say no one warned you!

For those that don’t know, Henry Blodget is definitely not a bear. In fact, he is one of Wall Street’s biggest cheerleaders.

So for Blodget to suggest that we could see the stock market drop by half is a really big deal.

The closer that we get to this next crisis, the clearer that everything is becoming.

Where are things going to go from here? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession

Twelve - Public Domain

Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008? When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets. And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us. In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways. Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”. Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us. But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking. The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…

#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty. This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent

There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.

Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.

This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

#2 In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent. Today, it has plunged below 64 percent. Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years. Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…

Homeownership Rate 2015

#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before. In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program. Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars. If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?

#4 On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession. Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled. We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…

Presentation National Debt

#5 During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit. Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…

Median Household Income

#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily. This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food. As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled since the last recession.

#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down. But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#8 Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Labor Force Participation Rate

#9 Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring. But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years. As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Inactivity Rate

#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas. At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars. Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.

#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying. In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced. In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#12 This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating. The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy. When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system. I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc. But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down. As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960. So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…

Velocity Of Money M2

If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.

One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.

But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen. And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.

Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.

So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.

(Originally published by Michael T. Snyder)

Economic exodus means two-thirds of Puerto Ricans may soon live in the U.S.

Poverty - Public Domain

Facing a crisis of monumental proportions at home, tens of thousands of people are fleeing a Caribbean island in search of a better life in the United States only to find hardship and struggle on American shores. Their stories sound like those of millions of migrants – poverty at home, where the economy lies in tatters – but they differ from millions of others: they’re already American.

Unable to pay its $73bn debt, Puerto Rico has begun rationing water, closing schools and watching its healthcare system collapse and 45% of its people living in poverty. Emigration to the mainland has accelerated in recent years, activists say, and data shows that from 2003 to 2013 there was a population swing of more than 1.5 million people.

“This new wave of immigration can be compared with the immigration in the 1930s and 40s,” said Edgardo González, coordinator of the Defenders of Puerto Rico, an activist group. The Great Depression and second world war spurred the so-called “Great Migration”, when tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans moved to New York every year for nearly two decades.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

The 75 Trillion Dollar Shadow Banking System Is In Danger Of Collapsing

Shadow Banking System - Public Domain

Keep an eye on the shadow banking system – it is about to be shaken to the core. According to the Financial Stability Board, the size of the global shadow banking system has reached an astounding 75 trillion dollars. It has approximately tripled in size since 2002. In the U.S. alone, the size of the shadow banking system is approximately 24 trillion dollars. At this point, shadow banking assets in the United States are even greater than those of conventional banks. These shadow banks are largely unregulated, but governments around the world have been extremely hesitant to crack down on them because these nonbank lenders have helped fuel economic growth. But in the end, we will all likely pay a very great price for allowing these exceedingly reckless financial institutions to run wild.

If you are not familiar with the “shadow banking system”, the following is a pretty good definition from investing answers.com

The shadow banking system (or shadow financial system) is a network of financial institutions comprised of non-depository banks — e.g., investment banks, structured investment vehicles (SIVs), conduits, hedge funds, non-bank financial institutions and money market funds.

How it works/Example:

Shadow banking institutions generally serve as intermediaries between investors and borrowers, providing credit and capital for investors, institutional investors, and corporations, and profiting from fees and/or from the arbitrage in interest rates.

Because shadow banking institutions don’t receive traditional deposits like a depository bank, they have escaped most regulatory limits and laws imposed on the traditional banking system. Members are able to operate without being subject to regulatory oversight for unregulated activities. An example of an unregulated activity is a credit default swap (CDS).

These institutions are extremely dangerous because they are highly leveraged and they are behaving very recklessly. They played a major role during the financial crisis of 2008, and even the New York Fed admits that shadow banking has “increased the fragility of the entire financial system”…

The current financial crisis has highlighted the growing importance of the “shadow banking system,” which grew out of the securitization of assets and the integration of banking with capital market developments. This trend has been most pronounced in the United States, but it has had a profound influence on the global financial system. In a market-based financial system, banking and capital market developments are inseparable: Funding conditions are closely tied to fluctuations in the leverage of market-based financial intermediaries. Growth in the balance sheets of these intermediaries provides a sense of the availability of credit, while contractions of their balance sheets have tended to precede the onset of financial crises. Securitization was intended as a way to transfer credit risk to those better able to absorb losses, but instead it increased the fragility of the entire financial system by allowing banks and other intermediaries to “leverage up” by buying one another’s securities.

Over the past decade, shadow banking has become a truly worldwide phenomenon, and thus it is a major threat to the entire global financial system. In China, shadow banking has been growing by leaps and bounds, but this has the authorities deeply concerned. In fact, according to Bloomberg one top Chinese regulator has referred to shadow banking as a “Ponzi scheme”…

Their growth had caused the man who is now China’s top securities regulator to label the off-balance-sheet products a “Ponzi scheme,” because banks have to sell more each month to pay off those that are maturing.

And what happens to all Ponzi schemes eventually?

In the end, they always collapse.

And when this 75 trillion dollar Ponzi scheme collapses, the global devastation that it will cause will be absolutely unprecedented.

Bond expert Bill Gross, who is intimately familiar with the shadow banking system, has just come out with a major warning about the lack of liquidity in the shadow banking system…

Mutual funds, hedge funds, and ETFs, are part of the “shadow banking system” where these modern “banks” are not required to maintain reserves or even emergency levels of cash. Since they in effect now are the market, a rush for liquidity on the part of the investing public, whether they be individuals in 401Ks or institutional pension funds and insurance companies, would find the “market” selling to itself with the Federal Reserve severely limited in its ability to provide assistance.

As far as shadow banking is concerned, everything is just fine as long as markets just keep going up and up and up.

But once they start falling, the whole system can start falling apart very rapidly. Here is more from Bill Gross on what might cause a “run on the shadow banks” in the near future…

Long used to the inevitability of capital gains, investors and markets have not been tested during a stretch of time when prices go down and policymakers’ hands are tied to perform their historical function of buyer of last resort. It’s then that liquidity will be tested.

And what might precipitate such a “run on the shadow banks”?

1) A central bank mistake leading to lower bond prices and a stronger dollar.

2) Greece, and if so, the inevitable aftermath of default/restructuring leading to additional concerns for Eurozone peripherals.

3) China – “a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. It is the “mystery meat” of economic sandwiches – you never know what’s in there. Credit has expanded more rapidly in recent years than any major economy in history, a sure warning sign.

4) Emerging market crisis – dollar denominated debt/overinvestment/commodity orientation – take your pick of potential culprits.

5) Geopolitical risks – too numerous to mention and too sensitive to print.

6) A butterfly’s wing – chaos theory suggests that a small change in “non-linear systems” could result in large changes elsewhere. Call this kooky, but in a levered financial system, small changes can upset the status quo. Keep that butterfly net handy.

Should that moment occur, a cold rather than a hot shower may be an investor’s reward and the view will be something less than “gorgeous”. So what to do? Hold an appropriate amount of cash so that panic selling for you is off the table.

In order to avoid a shadow banking crisis, what we need is for global financial markets to stabilize and to resume their upward trends.

If stocks and bonds start crashing, which is precisely what I have projected will happen during the last half of 2015, the shadow banking system is going to come under an extreme amount of stress. If the coming global financial crisis is even half as bad as I believe it is going to be, there is no way that the shadow banking system is going to hold up.

So let’s hope that the financial devastation that we have seen so far this week is not a preview of things to come. The global financial system has been transformed into a delicately balanced pyramid of glass that is not designed to handle turbulent times. We should have never allowed the shadow banks to run wild like this, but we did, and now in just a short while we are going to get to witness a financial implosion unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Auto Loan Delinquencies Are at HIGHEST Rate since Economic Crisis Year 2008

Ford - Public Domain

New vehicle sales in the US have been on a tear in 2014, rising 5.6% to 16.5 million units, the highest since banner year 2006. Light-truck sales jumped 10%, cars edged up 1.8%. The industry is drunk with its own enthusiasm.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra sees “still plenty of room for the auto industry to grow.”

She rattled off politically correct reasons: consumers who’re “feeling pretty good about the future,” due to “the strength of the labor market, better job security and the recovery in home prices,” topped off by the “sharp drop in fuel prices and rising incomes,” possibly confusing their stagnant or declining incomes with her rising income.” reports Wolf Richter.

What is she smoking?

Obviously a lamestream media Kool-Aid drinker that lives in La-La Land, she continues to drabble, “So sales could hit 17 million in 2015. It would take the industry back to the car-glory days of 2001. It’s going to be younger buyers – the Holy Grail of everyone.

They’re not just moving out of their parents’ homes, where they’ve been holed up for years because they can’t afford the soaring rents or home prices, but now they’re also going to splurge on a set of wheels. Because it’s a great time to buy.”

This is the kind of non-sensical reasoning you will run into from people. They just don’t know what’s going on. This is a result of mainstream media propoganda, and it IS working. They don’t know that young people are losing jobs, not gaining them.

Interest rates for six-year new-car loans are as low as 2.75%, Loan-to-Value ratios have soared well past 100%; loosey-goosey lending standards are the norm and bad credit, no problem.

Wolf Richter of Wolf Street continues, “Over 8.4% of subprime auto loans taken out in the first quarter of 2014 were already delinquent by November, according to an analysis of Equifax data by Moody’s Analytics for the Wall Street Journal. That’s the highest rate of early subprime delinquencies since Financial-Crisis year 2008.”

Car Delinquincies Are at Their HIGHEST Rate since the Financial Crisis Year 2008

It seems like a lot of financial areas are experiencing their “highest”rate since 2008. Let’s see, there’s the biggest oil price decline, the highest stock market prices, the lowest Labor Force Participation Rate, the biggest home price declines, and on and on…yet most people think we are in a recovery, because the TV tells them so. Propaganda is a powerful thing.

“Stuffing people into cars they can’t afford and ultimately may not be able to pay for is big business. Auto loans to subprime borrowers (credit scores below 640) make up over 31% of all auto loans, according to Equifax. Outstanding loan balances have soared nearly 17% over the last two years. At this rate, they’ll breach the $1-trillion mark by the end of the first quarter this year.

In broader terms, 2.6% of the auto loans taken out in Q1 2014 were delinquent by November, the highest rate of early delinquencies since crisis-year 2008, when they rose above 3%.

Santander, one of the top 15 auto lenders in the US, discovered that it’s overall auto-loan delinquency rate in Q3 was a vertigo-inducing 16.7%, highest in the nation, followed by Capital One’s delinquency rate of 6.6%.

But there’s nothing to worry about.

Regulators are saying, “We’re putting banks on notice that we have concerns,” Darrin Benhart, deputy comptroller of supervision risk management for the Office of Comptroller of Currency, told the Wall Street Journal.

They’re worried about the lackadaisical lending standards and extended loan terms, and about the high interest rates for subprime borrowers who don’t have other options.”

Article authored by Carol Serpa. You can find the original story right here.

If Oil Drops to $40 – Things Will Get TERRIFYING!

America On Fire

“Today’s plunging commodity prices represent something new under the sun. That is, they are the product of a fracturing monetary supernova that was a unique and never before experienced aberration caused by the 1990s rise, and then the subsequent lunatic expansion after the 2008 crisis, of a cancerous regime of Keynesian central banking,” states Miles Franklin.

He’s not the only one who thinks lower oil prices mean trouble.

In a recent interview, DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach explained his concerns about the oil market not being “unequivocally good” for everyone…

Question: The crash in the oil market is already causing jitters in the financial markets around the globe. What is your take on that?

Gundlach: Oil is incredibly important right now. If oil falls to around $40 a barrel then I think the yield on ten year treasury note is going to 1%. I hope it does not go to $40 because then something is very, very wrong with the world, not just the economy. The geopolitical consequences could be – to put it bluntly – terrifying.

What would that mean for stocks?

“…the approximate $50 trillion gain in the reported global GDP over the past two decades was an unhealthy and unsustainable economic deformation financed by a vast outpouring of fiat credit and false prices in the capital markets,” says David Stockman.

There Will Be No Rebound in Oil Prices

“Self-evidently, we are now in the cliff-diving phase, but unlike the bounce after the September 2008 financial crisis, there will be no rebound this time around.””

“Most of the world is at “peak debt”. That is, the ratio of total credit market debt to current national income ranges between 350% and 500% in every major economy; 
and that is the limit of what can be serviced even at today’s aberrantly low interest rates.”

US Rig Count Continues To Plunge To 10-Month Lows

Just as T.Boone Pickens warned, watching the US Rig Count is key to comprehending the looming crisis in oil. The last 4 weeks alone have seen a drop of over 100 rigs – the 2nd fastest slide since 2001 in percentage terms. This is the worst December to January since 2008/9. As Pickens noted, “demand is down” – “lower demand is the main driver” – “rig count is gonna fall – drop 500 rigs in next 6-9 months”.

Miles Franklin adds, “Fed and other Central banks’ relentless monetary bubbles created such massive overcapacity in commodity production, it could take years – or decades – to be worked through.  In other words, for all intents and purposes, the current plunge in commodity prices will be permanent.Nearly certainly in real terms, and possibly nominal terms as well – unless/until the Central banks inevitably resort to hyperinflation to “repay” their debts; which sadly, has been the route taken in every fiat regime throughout history.  

Thus, particularly given my ten years of experience as a Wall Street energy analyst, I am incredulous when I hear people speak of the “temporary” nature of the oil/commodity price decline; such as, for instance, Janet Yellen, who earlier this month described it as “transitory” – although clearly, she was lying through her teeth.

No, the multi-million barrel/day difference between supply and demand will decidedly NOT “correct” itself; particularly as demand continues to plunge, and supply to surge.  You see, unlike in 2008, Central banks cannot inflate the money supply without causing hyperinflation, and manufacturing capacity is dramatically larger, financed predominantly with high-yield debt from an insolvent banking system.

Saudi Arabia itself just announced a record trade deficit; and given that it, and most OPEC producers, are socialized nations relying on $100 oil to fund spending programs, there is essentially no chance they will cut production; as not only do they desperately need the revenues, but are low-cost producers; and thus, know they can destroy high-cost producers, such as the U.S. shale industry.  And sadly, this argument is not limited strictly to oil, but countless other resource-exploiting industries.

Except, of course, gold and silver – which are not only the polar opposite of “commodities” (given their maximum utility during times of financial crisis), but have been “treated to” the polar opposite supply effect of other commodities.

In other words, just as the Central banks funneled endless amounts of printed money into the production of industrial commodities,

their unrelenting suppression of gold, silver, and mining shares has created an essentially guaranteed production collapse; again, which could take decades to resolve, 
with the double whammy of occurring amidst historic demand.

At the Miles Franklin Blog, we have written of this all year; and given my five years’ experience in the mining industry, I can tell you unequivocally that this outcome was set in stone as far back as 2011, when the industry was already devastated by capital strangulation, surging production costs, and surging geopolitical risks.  

In October we concluded that a 50% silver production decline in the coming years is not unrealistic; and as for gold, it too will unquestionably experience dramatic production declines in the coming years, as essentially no material capacity is expected to offset unrelenting depletion, particularly in today’s suppressed price environment.

Of course, when prices do inevitably explode, it will no doubt be due to the Cartel finally losing control over financial markets.  This, in turn, will cause an historic “gold rush,” not just by investors but governments themselves – such as, for example, “repatriators” like Germany, Holland, and Austria.  Not to mention the “pink elephant” in the room – CHINA.

We can only warn you of the likelihood that 2015 may be the ugliest economically of our lifetimes; during which, the few assets one can PROTECT themselves with likely trade at huge premiums to today’s levels; that is, if you can find them at all.”

Article authored by Carol Serpa. You can find the original story right here.

Natural gas collapses—‘This is panic selling’

Natural Gas - Public Domain

Natural gas was cratering Monday, as mild weather forecasts compound a supply surplus and a general energy market swoon.

Nat gas futures were as low as $3.12 per million British thermal units, which is the lowest level since January 2013, and represents a decline of 15 percent in two trading sessions. (The futures have ticked a bit higher after hitting those lows at 9:44 a.m. ET, but are still down sharply on the day.)

The backdrop for the move is Thursday’s natural gas inventory report, which showed a year-over-year supply surplus for the first time since December 2012. However, it was not until this news was compounded by a mild seven-day forecast for the Northeast that nat gas futures really started to plunge.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russia crisis leaves banks around the world exposed by the billions

Dollar Currency Money - Public Domain

Major banks across Europe, as well as the UK, US, and Japan, are at major risk should the Russian economy default, according to a new study by Capital Economics.

The ING Group in the Netherlands, Raiffeisen Bank in Austria, Societe General in France, UniCredit in Italy, and Commerzbank in Germany, have all faced significant losses in the wake of the ruble crisis. On Tuesday, the currency had its biggest fall in a decade and a half, losing 20 percent, nearing the 27 percent drop it experienced in 1998 that led to a default.

Overall Societe General, known as Rosbank in the Russian market, has the most exposure at US$31 billion, or €25 billion, according to Citigroup Inc. analysts. This is equivalent to 62 percent of the Paris-based bank’s tangible equity, Bloomberg News reported.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

If Everything Is Just Fine, Why Are So Many Really Smart People Forecasting Economic Disaster?

Apocalyptic Disaster - Public Domain

The parallels between the false prosperity of 2007 and the false prosperity of 2014 are rather striking. If we go back and look at the numbers in the fall of 2007, we find that the Dow set an all-time high in October, margin debt on Wall Street had spiked to record levels, the unemployment rate was below 5 percent and Americans were getting ready to spend a record amount of money that Christmas season. But then the very next year the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression shook the entire planet and everyone wondered why most people never saw it coming. Well, now a similar pattern is unfolding right before our eyes. The Dow and the S&P 500 both hit record highs on Monday, margin debt on Wall Street is hovering near record levels, the unemployment rate has ticked down a little bit and Americans are getting ready to spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season. The truth is that the economy seems pretty stable for the moment, and most people cannot even imagine that an economic collapse is coming. So why are so many really smart people forecasting economic disaster in the near future?

For example, just consider what the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center is saying. This is an organization with a tremendous economic forecasting record that goes all the way back to the Great Depression. In fact, it predicted ahead of time the financial trouble and the recession that would happen in 2008. Well, now this company is forecasting that there is a 65 percent chance that there will be a global recession by the end of next year…

In 1929, a businessman and economist by the name of Jerome Levy didn’t like what he saw in his analysis of corporate profits. He sold his stocks before the October crash.

Almost eight decades later, the consultancy company that bears his name declared “the next recession will be caused by the deflating housing bubble.” By February 2007, it predicted problems in the subprime-mortgage market would spread “to virtually all financial markets.” In October 2007, it saw imminent recession — the slump began two months later.

The Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, based in Mount Kisco, New York, and run by Jerome’s grandson David, is again more worried than its peers. Its half-dozen analysts attach a 65 percent probability of a worldwide recession forcing a contraction in the U.S. by the end of next year.

Could they be wrong?

It’s certainly possible.

But I wouldn’t bet against them.

John Hussman is another expert that is warning of financial disaster on the horizon. He believes that we are experiencing a massive stock market bubble right now and that stocks are approximately double the value that they should be

If you look at corporate profits and especially corporate profit margins, they’re one of the most cyclical and mean-reverting series in economics. Right now, we have corporate profits that are close to about 11% of GDP, but if you look at that series you will find that corporate profits as a share of GDP have always dropped back to about 5.5% or below in every single economic cycle including recent decades, including not only the financial crisis but 2002 and every other economic cycle we have been in.

Right now stocks as a multiple of last year’s expected earnings may look only modestly over valued or modestly richly valued. Really if you look at the measures of valuation that are most correlated to the returns that stocks deliver over time say over seven years or over the next 10 years the S&P 500 in our estimation is about double the level of valuation that would give investors a normal rate of return.

Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue if stocks really did drop by 50 percent?

Well, Hussman says that this is precisely what must happen in order for stock prices to return to historical norms…

Right now, like I say, we are looking at stocks that have been pressed to long-term expected returns that are really dismal. But more important than that, in every market cycle that we’ve seen with the mild exception of 2002, we’ve seen stocks price revert back to normal rates of return. In order to get to that point from here, we would have to have equities drop by about half.

If that does happen, it will make the crisis of 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

Meanwhile, other very prominent thinkers are also warning that an economic nightmare is rapidly approaching.

Economic cycle theorist Martin Armstrong foresees major economic problems in 2015 which will ultimately lead to “civil unrest” in 2016

It looks more and more like a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down. That is the magic ingredient. Turn the economy down and you get civil unrest and revolution.

And of course there are a whole lot of other economic cycle theorists that are forecasting that we are about to experience a massive economic downturn as well. For much more on this, please see this article and this article.

What is truly frightening is that we have never even come close to recovering from the last economic crisis. One poll that was taken just prior to the recent election found that only 28 percent of Americans said that their families were doing better financially. In addition, here are some more survey numbers about how Americans are feeling about the economy

According to voter exit polls conducted by CNN, 78% said they are worried about the economy, with 69% saying that, in their view, economic conditions are not good. 65% responded that the country is on the wrong track vs. only 31% who believed that it is headed in the right direction.

Even though we are repeating so many of the same patterns that we experienced back in 2007, we are doing so with a fundamentally weaker economy. The last crisis did a tremendous amount of permanent damage to us. For an extensive look at this, please see my previous article entitled “12 Charts That Show The Permanent Damage That Has Been Done To The U.S. Economy“.

And there are lots of signs that much of the planet is already entering another major economic slowdown. In a recent article, Brandon Smith summarized some of these. He says that we are currently witnessing “the last gasp of the global economy“…

Global exports, and thus consumer demand, are plunging. Germany, the only pillar left to prop up the failing European Union, has experienced a severe decline in exports not seen since 2009.

China, the largest exporter and importer in the world, and Chinese companies, have been caught in a number of instances using fraudulent invoices to artificially inflate their own export numbers, in some cases reporting 50% more exported goods than had actually existed.

China’s manufacturing has also declined for the past five months, exposing the nature of its inflated export stats and indicating a global slowdown.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global shipping rates for raw goods, and thus a measure of demand for shipping, continues to drag along near historic lows.

The U.S. consumer (the only economic asset the U.S. has besides the dollar’s world reserve status), has seen declines in spending as well as wages.

In the meantime, long term jobless Americans continue to fall off welfare rolls by the millions, making unemployment numbers look good, but the overall future picture look terrible as participation rates dissolve into the ether of government statistics.

How is such poverty being hidden? Foodstamps. Plain and simple. Nearly 50 million Americans now subsist on food stamp programs today, and this number shows no signs of dropping. In states like Illinois, two people sign up for food assistance for every citizen that happens to find a job.

From time to time, I get accused of “spreading fear” and of being obsessed with “doom and gloom”.

But that is not the case at all.

I actually want our economy to stay stable for as long as possible. Many Americans don’t realize this, but even the poorest of us live in luxury compared to much of the rest of the world. It would be wonderful if we could all live out our lives in peace and quiet and safety.

Unfortunately, it is simply not going to happen.

And it does not take an expert to see what is coming.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to see the economic disaster that is approaching.

There is hope in understanding what is happening and there is hope in getting prepared. Millions of Americans that are willingly blind to our problems are going to have their lives absolutely destroyed when they get blindsided by the coming crisis. So please use this brief period of relative stability to get prepared and to warn others.

Once this false bubble of hope runs out, all of our lives are going to dramatically change.

(Originally posted on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The Head Of ‘The Central Bank Of The World’ Warns That Another Great Financial Crisis May Be Coming

The Bank For International Settlements at Night - Photo by Wladyslaw

Most people have never heard of Jaime Caruana even though he is the head of an immensely powerful organization. He has been serving as the General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements since 2009, and he will continue in that role until 2017. The Bank for International Settlements is a rather boring name, and very few people realize that it is at the very core of our centrally-planned global financial system. So when Jaime Caruana speaks, people should listen. And the fact that he recently warned that the global financial system is currently “more fragile” in many ways than it was just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers should set off all sorts of alarm bells. Speaking of the financial markets, Caruana ominously declared that “it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally” and he noted that “markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”. In other words, he is saying what I have been saying for so long. The behavior of the financial markets has become completely divorced from economic reality, and at some point there is going to be a massive correction.

So why would the head of ‘the central bank of the world’ choose this moment to issue such a chilling warning?

Does he know something that the rest of us do not?

According to a recent article in the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Caruana is extremely concerned about rising debt levels and the current level of euphoria in the financial markets…

The world economy is just as vulnerable to a financial crisis as it was in 2007, with the added danger that debt ratios are now far higher and emerging markets have been drawn into the fire as well, the Bank for International Settlements has warned.

Jaime Caruana, head of the Swiss-based financial watchdog, said investors were ignoring the risk of monetary tightening in their voracious hunt for yield.

“Markets seem to be considering only a very narrow spectrum of potential outcomes. They have become convinced that monetary conditions will remain easy for a very long time, and may be taking more assurance than central banks wish to give,” he told The Telegraph.

Mr Caruana said the international system is in many ways more fragile than it was in the build-up to the Lehman crisis. Debt ratios in the developed economies have risen by 20 percentage points to 275pc of GDP since then.

And you know what?

Caruana is certainly correct to be warning us about these things.

As I have written about previously, the total amount of government debt in the world has grown by about 40 percent since the last recession, and the “too big to fail banks” have collectively gotten 37 percent larger since that time.

The U.S. national debt has grown from about 10 trillion dollars to more than 17.5 trillion dollars, and even the Bank for International Settlements admits that the global derivatives bubble has grown to at least 710 trillion dollars.

The massive financial imbalances that we were facing during the last crisis have not been fixed. Instead, they have gotten much, much worse.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

18 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Accelerating As We Enter The Last Half Of 2014

Accelerating - Public Domain

A lot of people that I talk to these days want to know “when things are going to start happening”.  Well, there are certainly some perilous times on the horizon, but all you have to do is open up your eyes and look to see the global economic crisis unfolding.  As you will see below, even central bankers are issuing frightening warnings about “dangerous new asset bubbles” and even the World Bank is declaring that “now is the time to prepare” for the next crisis.  Most Americans tend to only care about what is happening in the United States, but the truth is that serious economic trouble is erupting in South America, all across Europe and in Asian powerhouses such as China and Japan.  And the endless conflicts in the Middle East could erupt into a major regional war at just about any time.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and people need to understand that the period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now is extremely vulnerable and will not last long.  The following are 18 signs that the global economic crisis is accelerating as we enter the last half of 2014…

#1 The Bank for International Settlements has issued a new report which warns that “dangerous new asset bubbles” are forming which could potentially lead to another major financial crisis.  Do the central bankers know something that we don’t, or are they just trying to place the blame on someone else for the giant mess that they have created?

#2 Argentina has missed a $539 million debt payment and is on the verge of its second major debt default in 13 years.

#3 Bulgaria is desperately trying to calm down a massive run on the banks that threatens of spiral out of control.

#4 Last month, household loans in the eurozone declined at the fastest rate ever recorded.  Why are European banks holding on to their money so tightly right now?

#5 The number of unemployed jobseekers in France has just soared to another brand new record high.

#6 Economies all over Europe are either showing no growth or are shrinking.  Just check out what a recent Forbes article had to say about the matter…

Italy’s economy shrank by 0.1% in the first three months of 2014, matching the average of the three previous quarters. After expanding 0.6% in Q2 2013, France recorded zero growth. Portugal shrank 0.7%, following positive numbers in the preceding nine months. While figures weren’t available for Greece and Ireland in Q1, neither country is showing progress. Greek GDP dropped 2.5% in the final three months of last year, and Ireland limped ahead at 0.2%.

#7 A few days ago it was reported that consumer prices in Japan are rising at the fastest pace in 32 years.

#8 Household expenditures in Japan are down 8 percent compared to one year ago.

#9 U.S. companies are drowning in massive amounts of debt, but the corporate debt bubble in China is so bad that the amount of corporate debt in China has actually now surpassed the amount of corporate debt in the United States.

#10 One Chinese auditor is warning that up to 80 billion dollars worth of loans in China are backed by falsified gold transactions.  What will that do to the price of gold and the stability of Chinese financial markets as that mess unwinds?

#11 The unemployment rate in Greece is currently sitting at 26.7 percent and the youth unemployment rate is 56.8 percent.

#12 67.5 percent of the people that are unemployed in Greece have been unemployed for over a year.

#13 The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is 11.8 percent – just a little bit shy of the all-time record of 12.0 percent.

#14 The European Central Bank is so desperate to get money moving through the system that it has actually introduced negative interest rates.

#15 The IMF is projecting that there is a 25 percent chance that the eurozone will slip into deflation by the end of next year.

#16 The World Bank is warning that “now is the time to prepare” for the next crisis.

#17 The economic conflict between the United States and Russia continues to deepen.  This has caused Russia to make a series of moves away from the U.S. dollar and toward other major currencies.  This will have serious ramifications for the global financial system as time rolls along.

#18 Of course the U.S. economy is struggling right now as well.  It shrank at a 2.9 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2014, which was much worse than anyone had anticipated.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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