The True Size Of The U.S. National Debt, Including Unfunded Liabilities, Is 222 Trillion Dollars

The United States is on a path to financial ruin, and everyone can see what is happening, but nobody can seem to come up with a way to stop it. According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is currently 22 trillion dollars in debt, and that represents the single largest debt in the history of the planet. Over the past decade, we have been adding to that debt at a rate of about 1.1 trillion dollars a year, and we will add more than a trillion dollars to that total once again this year. But when you add in our unfunded liabilities, our long-term financial outlook as a nation looks downright apocalyptic. According to Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff, the U.S. is currently facing 200 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, and when you add that number to our 22 trillion dollar debt, you get a grand total of 222 trillion dollars.

Of course we are never going to pay back all of this debt.

The truth is that we are just going to keep accumulating more debt until the system completely and utterly collapses.

And even though the federal government is the biggest offender, there are also others to blame for the mess that we find ourselves in. State and local governments are more than 3 trillion dollars in debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, and U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt.

When you add it all together, the total amount of debt in our society is well above 300 percent of GDP, and it keeps rising with each passing year.

But for the moment, let’s just focus on the giant mountain of debt that the federal government has piled up. The U.S. budget deficit for last month was 234 billion dollars, and that was an all-time record for a single month. Our exploding debt is an existential threat to our nation, and we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

And it isn’t just a 22 trillion dollar debt that we are leaving them with. We have also made tens of trillions of dollars worth of future promises that we expect future generations to keep. These are called “unfunded liabilities” because we do not currently have the money to fulfill those obligations.

According to official government projections, the Social Security Administration is facing a 13 trillion dollar unfunded liability over the next 75 years, and Medicare is facing a 37 trillion dollar unfunded liability over the same time frame.

Adding those two numbers together, we get a grand total of 50 trillion dollars.

Where in the world would we ever be able to get so much money when we are already drowning in debt?

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with government projections, those unfunded liability numbers are actually wildly optimistic.

Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff has been studying our unfunded liability crisis for many years, and according to him the real number is 200 trillion dollars

Consumers will largely bear the brunt of the country’s financial ruin, according to Kotlikoff, which is why it is crucial to give them the power to make better financial decisions.

While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said.

If Kotlikoff is correct, that means that the true size of the financial obligation that we are imposing upon future generations is 222 trillion dollars, and that number just keeps rising month after month.

Many pundits speak of a day when America will be bankrupt in the future, but according to Kotlikoff we are bankrupt “right now”

But Kotlikoff’s dire prognosis for the United States is enough to wake anyone out of even the deepest summer slumber.

“The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out. Any politician that would be foolish enough to even threaten to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits would be immediately voted out of office. America’s population is rapidly aging, and about half of America’s seniors don’t have anything saved for retirement

The bad news is that almost half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved in a 401(k) or other individual account. The good news is that the new estimate, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is slightly better than a few years earlier.

Of those 55 and older, 48 percent had nothing put away in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan or an individual retirement account, according to a GAO estimate for 2016 that was released Tuesday.

America’s seniors are counting on us to keep the promises that we have made to them.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that we are going to be able to do that for too much longer.

In the end, we are going to have to make some very tough choices. One Democrat actually started a petition to sell the state of Montana to Canada for a trillion dollars, and so far it has over 18,000 signatures. Of course we aren’t ever going to sell off pieces of our country, but we are going to have to find some way to come up with an enormous mountain of money.

When I ran for Congress last year, I made doing something about the national debt one of my top issues. Unfortunately, concern about the national debt is not a priority for either political party right now, and that is a huge mistake.

You can spend more money than you are bringing in for quite a while, but eventually a day of reckoning arrives. Anyone that has ever gone into too much credit card debt knows exactly what I am talking about. We have been on the biggest debt binge in the history of the world, and it has allowed us to enjoy a standard of living that is far beyond what we actually deserve, but the price that we will pay for such utter foolishness will be extremely painful indeed.

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.

America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

If we do not change course, our once great nation will be destroyed by a debt that has grown wildly out of control. We are facing an unprecedented debt crisis that literally threatens to bring our country to an end, and yet our politicians are almost entirely silent on this issue in 2018. In fact, Republicans and Democrats just worked together to pass another big, fat spending bill through Congress that is actually going to increase the pace at which we are going into debt. What the Republicrats are doing is not just wrong. To be honest, the truth is that they are committing crimes against humanity, and they are completely wiping out the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. How in the world is America supposed to be “great again” when we are buried in so much debt that future generations can never have any possible hope of getting free from it?

The fiscal year of the federal government goes from October 1st to September 30th. During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. national debt increased by 1.271 trillion dollars

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Washington. Our current “representatives” are completely and utterly failing us.

Once upon a time, at least members of the Tea Party would stand up and say something, but these days nobody seems to care that America’s future is being systematically destroyed. Republicans have been in control of both houses of Congress, but our debt problems just continue to get worse and worse. And the truth is that the budgets that have been passed since Donald Trump became president are simply slightly revised Obama budgets. The Republicans have allowed the Democrats to have their way time after time, and it has been absolutely disgusting to watch.

In 8 of the past 11 fiscal years, the U.S. national debt has risen by more than a trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is now sitting at an all-time record high of 21.52 trillion dollars.

What we are doing is literally insane, and if we want our nation to survive we must change course immediately.

These days, there is a lot of discussion about the political gains that “Democratic socialists” have been making all over America, and Republicans are trying to assure us that the American people don’t actually want socialism.

But you know what?

We have already gone most of the way down the road toward socialism. I think that Ron Paul made this point very well in his most recent article

We know socialism does not work. It is an economic system based on the use of force rather than economic freedom of choice. But while many Americans seem to be in a panic over the failures of socialism in Venezuela, they don’t seem all that concerned that right here at home President Trump just signed a massive $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill that delivers socialism on a scale that Venezuelans couldn’t even imagine. In fact this one spending bill is three times Venezuela’s entire gross domestic product!

Did I miss all the Americans protesting this warfare-welfare state socialism?

If you are really against socialism, you should be fighting for the federal government to be greatly reduced in size and scope.

But so few Americans seem to believe in true limited government these days.

It would be a great first step if we would actually try to start living within our means. But if 1.271 trillion dollars of government spending was pulled out of the economy over the past 12 months, the result would be a horrible economic depression. And politicians do not like economic downturns, because when things get bad voters tend not to vote for incumbents. So they just keep going into more debt and they keep kicking the can down the road.

But if we stay on the path that we are currently on, the CBO says that the United States will be 99 trillion dollars in debt by 2048.

Of course we will never actually ever get to 99 trillion dollars in debt. America will cease to exist long before we ever reach that mark.

If we want to save America, we must take action now, but very few people seem to even care about our exploding debt at this point.

And it isn’t just our national debt that is the problem. State and local government debt is at record levels all over the nation, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt

If you added up the personal debt of every American — what they owe on their mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and more — the total is staggering. Collectively, we’re $13.2 trillion in the red. That’s the highest ever, according to the New York Fed.

Yet no one seems to be panicking. Maybe that’s because we can’t comprehend $13 trillion. Imagine buying every NFL team. And every NBA team. And every NHL team. And every Major League Baseball team. But that only adds up to $191 billion.

America is committing suicide in slow-motion, and it is an absolutely heartbreaking thing to witness.

It is almost as if we lack the will to survive as a nation. All we seem to care about is our comfort level at this moment, and we don’t want anyone to tell us that we have to cut back on anything. I think that Chris Martenson summed things up very well in his most recent piece

Nothing grows forever. Cancer tries, but always defeats itself in the process. Yeast parties until all the sugar in the vat is gone or it pollutes itself out of an active existence.

Can humans do better? The jury is still out on that.

But so far, the signs say that, as a group, we lack the ability to organize effectively against big, complex challenges. Especially if doing so requires us to willingly choose to live a life of less. We’re simply too addicted to more.

We cannot continue to go down this road.

Because at the end of this road is not just economic collapse. What we are talking about is literally the end of the United States of America.

All throughout history, great societies have been done in by greed, sloth, corruption and laziness, and we are headed down the exact same path. If we want to survive, emergency surgery is necessary, but at this point nobody is even tending to the dying patient.

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.

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Stock Prices Are Surging Because Corporations Are Spending More Money On Stock Buybacks Than Anything Else

The primary reason why stock prices have been soaring in recent months is because corporations have been buying back their own stock at an unprecedented pace. In fact, the pace of stock buybacks is nearly double what it was at this time last year. According to Goldman Sachs, S&P 500 companies spent 384 billion dollars buying back stock during the first half of 2018. That is an absolutely astounding number. And in many cases, corporations are going deep into debt in order to do this. Of course this is going to push up stock prices, but corporate America will not be able to inflate this bubble indefinitely. At some point a credit crunch will come, and the pace of stock buybacks will fall precipitously.

Prior to 1982, corporations were not permitted to go into the market and buy back stock.

The reason for this is obvious – stock buybacks are a really easy way for corporations to manipulate stock prices.

But these days it is expected that most large corporations will engage in this practice. Large stockholders love to see the price of the stock go up, and they are never going to complain when smaller shareholders are bought out and their share of the company is increased. And corporate executives love buybacks because so much of their compensation often involves stock options or bonuses related to key metrics such as earnings per share.

So in the end, stock buybacks are often all about greed. It is a way to funnel money to those at the very top of the pyramid, and those stock market gains are taxed at capital gains rates which are much lower than the rates on normal income.

Normally, you would expect successful companies to invest most of their available cash back into operations so that they can make even more money in the future. And for 19 of the past 20 years, corporations have spent more on capital investments than anything else. But now, share buybacks have actually surpassed capital spending. The following comes from CNN

But that doesn’t mean companies aren’t spending on job-creating investments, like new equipment, research projects and factories. Business spending is up 19% — it’s just that buybacks are growing much faster.

In fact, Goldman Sachs said that buybacks are garnering the largest share of cash spending by S&P 500 firms. It’s a milestone because capital spending had represented the single largest use of cash by corporations in 19 of the past 20 years.

And this trend seems to be accelerating during the second half of 2018. It is being projected that firms will spend more than 600 billion dollars on stock buybacks during the second half of this year, and that will bring the grand total for 2018 to more than a trillion dollars

And the trend may not be done yet. Goldman Sachs predicted that share buyback authorizations among all US companies in all of 2018 will surpass $1 trillion for the first time ever.

Wow.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more than a trillion dollars that we could put toward reducing the national debt?

This is the reason why stocks hit another new all-time record high this week. Stock buybacks have reached absolutely insane levels, and what we are witnessing is essentially a giant orgy of greed.

To give you some perspective, the previous annual record for stock buybacks was just 589 billion dollars in 2007.

This year, we may come close to doubling the previous record.

And let us not forget that the year after 2007 was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

So what corporations are the worst offenders? Here is more from CNN

Apple (AAPL) alone spent a whopping $45 billion on buybacks during the first half of 2018, triple what it did during the same time period last year, the firm said. That included a record-shattering sum during the first quarter.

Amgen (AMGN), Cisco (CSCO), AbbVie (ABBV) and Oracle (ORCL) have also showered investors with big boosts to their buyback programs.

As I noted earlier, corporate insiders greatly benefit from stock buybacks, and they took advantage of massively inflated stock prices by selling off $10.3 billion worth of their shares during the month of August.

Inflating your stock price by cannibalizing your own shares is not a good long-term strategy for any corporation, but without a doubt it is making a lot of people very wealthy.

But in the process, the size of the stock market as a whole has been steadily shrinking. In fact, the number of shares on the S&P 500 has fallen by almost 8 percent since the beginning of 2011…

According to Ed Yardeni, the number of S&P 500 shares has shrunk by 7.7% since the start of 2011. This tends to increase the earnings per remaining share and the dividends available per remaining share.

This is yet another example that shows why the stock market has become completely disconnected from economic reality. Wall Street is inhabited by con men that are promoting Ponzi scheme after Ponzi scheme, and it is only a matter of time before the entire system collapses under its own weight.

But for now, the euphoria on Wall Street continues as stock prices continue to march higher. Meanwhile, we continue to get more signs of trouble from the real economy. For instance, this week we learned that the third largest bank in the entire country is going to lay off thousands of workers

Wells Fargo, the third-biggest U.S. bank, plans to lower its employee headcount by 5 percent to 10 percent in the next three years as part of its ongoing turnaround plan, the company announced Thursday.

The bank has 265,000 employees, meaning the reduction would result in a loss of between 13,250 and 26,500 jobs.

Why would they do that if the economy was in good shape?

And globally, the emerging market currency crisis has continued to escalate. According to one source, more than 80 percent of all global currencies have fallen in value so far this year…

A review of the values of 143 global currencies indicates that so far this year, more than 80 percent have fallen in value.

Another eleven appear to be pegged to the dollar and 13 have risen in value. Of the 13 that have increased in value, only six are up more than 1 percent versus the dollar.

There have been outsized declines in countries like Venezuela (down 99 percent), Argentina (53 percent) and Turkey (38 percent). However, Brazil is down 20 percent, Russia 15 percent, India 11 percent, Sweden 10 percent, and the Philippines 8 percent. Big economies like China are experiencing a 5 percent currency value decline while the Euro is off by 3 percent.

I applaud those that have made lots of money in the stock market, but the party will not last forever.

In 2007 corporations were pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into stock buybacks, and it propped up the market for a time. But eventually the bubble burst and the crisis of 2008 was so dramatic that it will be remembered forever.

Now we are facing a similar scenario, and it is just a matter of time before this bubble bursts as well.

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.

Major Currencies All Over The World Are In “Complete Meltdown” As The $63 Trillion EM Debt Bubble Implodes

The wait for the next global financial crisis is over. Major currencies all over the planet are in a “death spiral”, many global stock markets are crashing, and economic activity is beginning to decline at a stunning rate in quite a few nations. Over the past 16 years, the emerging market debt bubble has grown from 9 trillion dollars to 63 trillion dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. Now that emerging market debt bubble is imploding, and as a result emerging market currencies all over the globe are in “complete meltdown”. In fact, at least 20 different currencies have fallen by double-digit percentages against the U.S. dollar so far in 2018, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

You may be tempted to think that this must be a good thing for the United States since the value of the U.S. dollar has been rising, but it is not.

During the “boom years”, trillions of dollars were borrowed by emerging market economies, and a high percentage of those loans were denominated in U.S. dollars. Now that their currencies are crashing, it is going to take much more local currency to service those U.S.-denominated debts, and a whole lot of them are going to start going bad.

That means that many financial institutions here in the United States and over in Europe are going to end up holding enormous piles of bad debt, and the losses could potentially be astronomical.

The dominoes are starting to fall, and even the mainstream media is admitting that what we are facing is really bad. For example, the following comes from a CNBC article entitled “The emerging market crisis is back. And this time it’s serious”

The crisis has engulfed countries across the globe — from economies in South America, to Turkey, South Africa and some of the bigger economies in Asia, such as India and China. A number of these countries are seeing their currency fall to record levels, high inflation and unemployment, and in some cases, escalating tensions with the United States.

When I say that the world has been on the greatest debt binge in human history since the last financial crisis, I am not exaggerating one bit.

The emerging market debt bubble is now three times larger than it was in 2007, and it is seven times larger than it was in 2002. Here is more from CNBC

Emerging markets are also heavily plagued by debt and a stronger dollar makes it tougher for them to pay this debt. The latest data from the Institute of International Finance shows that debt in emerging markets including China increased from $9 trillion in 2002 to $21 trillion in 2007 and finally to $63 trillion in 2017.

Of course this bubble was going to burst.

Anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that.

Now we have a full-blown crisis on our hands, and nobody seems to have any idea how to solve it.

As Charles Hugh Smith has observed, emerging market currencies all over the globe “are in complete meltdown”…

As the chart below illustrates, a great many currencies around the world are in complete meltdown. This is not normal. Nations that over-borrow, over-spend and print too much of their currency to generate an illusion of solvency eventually experience a currency crisis as investors and traders lose faith in the currency as a store of value, i.e. the faith that it will have the same (or more) purchasing power in a month that it has today.

This is the chart that Charles Hugh Smith referenced in that quote…

I am not sure that I even have the words to describe financial carnage of that magnitude.

Since the financial markets are not crashing here in the United States yet, most Americans do not really seem to be concerned about this crisis at this point. But that is a mistake. This meltdown has started with the weaker nations, but ultimately what we are witnessing is an “unraveling” of the entire global financial system

The fact that so many currencies are melting down at the same time is telling us the global financial system is unraveling, and unraveling fast. This is a symptom of a fatal disease. Currencies reflect all sorts of financial information; they’re akin to taking an economy’s pulse: trade balances, debt levels, interest rates, central bank policies, fiscal policies, and so on.

The global financial system is inter-connected, but this is not a viable excuse for the meltdown. The general explanation floating around is that currency weakness is like the flu: one currency gets it, and then it spreads to other weak currencies.

This diagnosis is misleading. What’s actually happening is the unprecedented global bubble of debt and assets of the past decade is popping, and it’s laying waste to the most indebted, over-leveraged and mismanaged nations first, either via stock market declines or meltdowns in currencies.

Earlier today, we learned that the South African economy has officially plunged into a new recession. This crisis is spreading very quickly, and the United States won’t be immune from what is happening. This is a point that Charles Hugh Smith made very well as he wrapped up his most recent article

The illusion that the U.S. is immune to the unraveling of debt and asset valuations won’t last. When the defaults start piling up, so will the losses, and when asset bubbles pop, incomes and spending decline. Although few seem to notice, almost half the profits of the S&P 500 corporations are earned overseas.

The belief that U.S. markets are somehow disconnected from global markets and immune to the repricing of risk, debt, assets and currencies is magical thinking.

I am entirely convinced that we have reached a major turning point.

For several years it has seemed like things have been getting “better”, but it was largely an illusion. Our ridiculously high standard of living was financed by the greatest debt binge in the history of the world, and it was inevitable that a day of reckoning would arrive.

Now that day of reckoning is knocking on the door, and our society is completely and utterly unprepared for what is going to happen next.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog. 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.

Economic Doom Returns: Emerging Market Currencies Collapse To Record Lows As Global Financial Chaos Accelerates

After a little bit of a lull, the international currency crisis is back with a vengeance. Currencies are collapsing in Argentina, Brazil, India, Turkey and other emerging markets, and central banks are springing into action. It is being hoped that the financial chaos can be confined to emerging markets so that it will not spread to the United States and Europe. But of course the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, and a massive wave of debt defaults in emerging markets would inevitably have extremely serious consequences all over the planet. It would be difficult to overstate the potential danger that this new crisis poses for all of us. Emerging market economies went on an unprecedented debt binge over the past decade, and a high percentage of those debts were denominated in U.S. dollars. As emerging market currencies collapse, it is going to become nearly impossible to service any debts denominated in U.S. dollars, and that could ultimately mean absolutely enormous losses for international lenders. Our system tends to do fairly well as long as everybody is paying their debts, but once the dominoes begin to tumble things can get messy really quickly.

Let’s start our roundup today with India. While India is currently not in as bad shape as some of the other emerging markets, the truth is that they could get there pretty rapidly if they keep going down this path.

On Thursday, concerns about rising oil prices drove the Indian rupee to a brand new all-time record low

The Indian rupee fell to a record low on Thursday morning, following a declining trend all year — which economists attributed to rising oil prices, broader emerging market concerns, and strong month-end dollar demand.

It slid to 70.8100 against the dollar, after a previous new low just a day before at 70.475. That marked a 10.97 percent decline since the start of the year.

But at least India is doing much better than Argentina.

The Argentine peso collapsed to another all-time record low on Thursday, and at this point it has fallen more than 45 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this year…

The Argentine peso crashed to record lows on the news. It saw steep losses in the previous session and collapsed another 15 percent to hit 39 pesos against the U.S. dollar on Thursday morning.

The peso is down more than 45 percent against the greenback this year, exacerbating pre-existing fears over the country’s weakening economy while inflation is running at 25.4 percent this year.

As Wolf Richter has noted, the Argentine peso was worth one U.S. dollar in 2002.

Today, it is worth 2.4 cents.

That is what a collapse looks like.

In an desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, the Argentine central bank raised interest rates to 60 percent

On Thursday, the central bank said it was increasing the amount of reserves that banks have to hold, in a bid to tighten fiscal policy and shore up the currency. It hiked rates by 15 percentage points to 60 percent from 45 percent and promised not to lower them at least until December.

Yes, I know that looks like a misprint, but it is not.

Interest rates in Argentina have not been raised to 6 percent. They have been raised to 60 percent.

Could you imagine what 60 percent interest rates would do to the U.S. economy?

Well, we will get there someday if we don’t change our ways, because we are going down the exact same path that Argentina has gone.

Things continue to get even worse in Turkey as well

The risks are fast multiplying in Turkey’s beleaguered economy. In a clear sign of deterioration, Turkey’s economic confidence index plunged 9% month-on-month to 83.9 points in August, its lowest since March 2009. The country’s currency, the Lira, resumed its downward spiral. And Moody’s downgraded 20 financial institutions in Turkey.

The financial nightmare in Turkey is the gift that just keeps on giving. Their entire system is in the process of imploding, and President Erdogan seems to be in a persistent state of panic these days.

Also on Thursday, the Brazilian central bank directly intervened in the market to keep their currency from plunging to another new all-time record low…

The bloodbath in Argentina and Turkey is evident in Brazil also where Bloomberg reports that the central bank just intervened for the first time since June 22.

BCB reportedly intervened at 4.20 “to provide liquidity” adding that intervention intensity and frequency will depend on the market. The BCB also attempted to provide some confidence by reaffirming that monetary policy is not directly linked to recent market shocks.

A global financial crisis has begun, but because it has not really affected the United States too much yet, the mainstream media and most Americans aren’t really paying any attention.

But if the markets start crashing here too, then it will suddenly be all over the news.

Most people are aware that most of the biggest stock market crashes in U.S. history have happened in the fall, and the calendar is about to turn to the month of September.

We have definitely entered a “danger zone”, and more shocks seem to hit the global economy with each passing day. For example, we just learned that President Trump apparently intends to follow through on his threat to hit the Chinese with another 200 billion dollars in tariffs

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Trump had told aides that he wants to follow through on a threat to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as early as next week. That would mean more than half of all Chinese imports would be subject to tariffs.

The tariffs could go into effect after the public-comment period ends on September 6.

Of course the Chinese will retaliate, and that will mean more disruption for the global economic system.

Many people believe that the U.S. economy is much stronger than it was in 2008, and that we will be able to easily weather any shocks that come along.

Unfortunately, that is not true at all.

The truth is that all of our long-term problems are much worse than they were in 2008, and the stage is definitely set for an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog. 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 5 Previous Times This Stock Market Indicator Has Reached This Level Stock Prices Have Fallen By At Least 50 Percent

Have you ever heard of the “Sound Advice Risk Indicator”? Every single time in our history when it has gone above 2.0 the stock market has crashed, and now it has just surged above that threshold for the very first time since the late 1990s. That doesn’t mean that a stock market crash is imminent, but it is definitely yet another indication that this stock market bubble is living on borrowed time. But for the moment, there is still quite a bit of optimism on Wall Street. The Dow set another brand new all-time record high earlier this week, and on Wednesday we learned that this bull market is now officially the longest in our history

For context, a bull market is defined as a 20% rally on a closing basis that’s at no point derailed by a subsequent 20% decline. March 9, 2009, has long been the agreed-upon starting point for such calculations because that was the absolute bottom for the prior bear market, which ended that day.

The S&P 500 has surged a whopping 323% over the period, with its roughly 19% annualized return slightly lagging behind the historical bull market average of 22%.

Of course the U.S. economy has not been performing nearly as well. Even if you accept the highly manipulated numbers that the federal government puts out, we haven’t had a year when GDP grew by at least 3 percent since the middle of the Bush administration.

It simply is not possible for stock prices to continue to soar about 20 percent a year when the U.S. economy is growing less than 3 percent a year. At some point a major adjustment is coming, and it is going to be exceedingly painful.

Author Gray Cardiff has been touting his “Sound Advice Risk Indicator” for many years. He believes that the relationship between the S&P 500 and the median price of a new house in the United States is very important, and this is the very first time since the late 1990s that this indicator has entered the danger zone

The “Sound Advice Risk Indicator” is a different story. This indicator, the brainchild of Gray Cardiff, editor of the Sound Advice newsletter, is derived from the ratio of the S&P 500 to the median price of a new U.S. house. For the first time since the late 1990s, and for only the sixth time since 1895, this indicator has risen above the 2.0 level that represents a major sell signal for equities.

So should we be concerned?

In previous instances when this level has been breached, a crash hasn’t always happened right away, but in every instance the market eventually fell “by 50 % or more”

To be sure, Cardiff is quick to emphasize, his risk indicator is not a short-term market timing tool. In the wake of past occasions when it rose above 2.0, for example, equities stayed high or even continued rising “for many months, sometimes even a couple of years.” However, he continues, “in all cases, a major decline or crash followed, pulling down stock prices by 50% or more.”

Because Wall Street is so highly leveraged today, a 50 percent decline in stock prices would be totally catastrophic. Banks would go down one after another, and we would be facing a financial crisis that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

And the truth is that much of the world is already in crisis mode. The mainstream media is telling us that Italy is teetering on the brink of “financial disaster”, and China appears to be entering a serious economic downturn as the trade war begins to take a substantial toll on their economy.

Meanwhile, emerging market currencies continue to plummet, and this week it has been Brazil’s turn to capture the headlines. The Brazilian real is absolutely crashing, and many analysts are pointing to their internal problems as the cause

According to analysts the devaluation of the Brazilian real is not due to the current foreign turbulence but to internal uncertainties and the upcoming October presidential elections.

“The (Brazilian) real was not devalued sixteen percent because of Turkey or other external reasons, it was because the rate of R$3.00 to R$3.30 (per US$1) was absolutely incompatible with the status quo of the Brazilian economy and the expressiveness of the country’s fiscal debt,” said Sidnei Moura Nehme, executive director at NGO.

At the same time, trouble signs continue to emerge here in the United States.

On Wednesday, we learned that Lowe’s is planning to shut down 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores

The company said Wednesday that the 99 Orchard Supply Hardware stores that Lowe’s owns in California, Oregon and Florida, as well as a distribution center, will be shut down by the end of the fiscal year.

Orchard Supply Hardware has 4,300 employees. Ellison said in the earnings release that the chain’s workers will be given “priority status” if they apply for other jobs at Lowe’s and will also receive job placement assistance and severance.

If the U.S. economy really was in good shape, why would they be doing that?

Ultimately, most people out there realize on some level that our current economic situation is not sustainable. Stock prices have become completely detached from reality, and we are enjoying a ridiculously high standard of living that has been fueled by the greatest debt binge that the world has ever seen.

We can steal from the future for an extended period of time, but eventually it will catch up with us.

When the stock market finally crashes, the mainstream media will treat it like a big surprise, but the truth is that it shouldn’t catch anybody off guard. Key stock valuation ratios always return to their long-term averages eventually, and in this case stock prices are going to have to fall at least 40 or 50 percent before they begin to make sense again.

But as I noted earlier, our system is so fragile that we won’t be able to handle that kind of an adjustment.

Our system almost completely collapsed in 2008, but what we are facing is going to be much worse than that. Most of the wealth of the country will be wiped out in the process, and it will be an exceptionally painful time for the American people.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog. 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.

5 Signs That Global Financial Markets Are Entering A Bear Market, And 11 Ways That You Can Get Prepared For The Chaos That Is Coming…

We haven’t seen carnage like this in the global financial marketplace in quite some time. On Wednesday, U.S. stocks were down some, but things were much, much worse around the rest of the world. Global banking stocks are plunging, emerging market stocks are cratering, and emerging market currencies continue their stunning decline. This represents a dramatic change from the relative stability that we have seen throughout most of 2018. It is almost as if someone flipped a switch once the month of August began, and the shakiness of global financial markets has many investors wondering what trouble fall will bring. What we are witnessing right now is not a full-blown panic yet, but it definitely has the potential to turn into one.

The term “bear market” is being thrown around a lot lately, but a lot of people don’t understand what a “bear market” actually is.

A bear market is generally considered to be when we see a decline of 20 percent or more from the 52-week high, and after the carnage of this past week a lot of those thresholds are now being crossed.

It would probably be too early to call this a “global stock market crash”, but we are well on the way to getting there. The following are 5 signs that global financial markets are entering a bear market…

#1 Global stocks have now fallen beneath all key moving averages. Those key moving averages are important psychological thresholds for investors, and if we have a few more days like Wednesday we could see global financial markets go into full panic mode.

#2 European banking stocks have now officially entered a bear market, and all major European stock indexes are now red for the year.

#3 Global banking stocks are down a whopping 23 percent from the peak established earlier this year, and that means that they have officially entered a bear market.

#4 Emerging market stocks have fallen 20 percent from the peak, and that means that they are also now in a bear market.

#5 When demand for industrial metals falls, that indicates that an economic slowdown is coming. On Wednesday, prices for industrial metals fell to their lowest level in almost a year, and “Dr. Copper officially entered a bear market.

If the financial carnage continues (and that is a big “if”), this could be the beginning of another financial crisis like we experienced in 2008, and that would almost certainly mean a crippling global recession.

And of course once the next global recession begins, it is likely to be more painful than we have ever seen before in modern history, because the global debt bubble is far larger than it has ever been before.

We live at a time of great global instability, and there are so many ominous warnings about our future. A lot of people reach out to me for advice on how to get prepared for what is coming, and I hope to share quite a few tips in future articles.

Today, I would like to share with you 11 tips that my good friend Ray Gano shared with his readers in his most recent article

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1 – Get Out of Debt: The old saying, “the borrower is the servant of the lender”, is so incredibly true. The key to insulating yourself from an economic meltdown is to become as independent as possible, and as long as you are in debt, you simply are not independent. You don’t want a horde of creditors chasing after you when things really start to get bad out there.

2 – Find New Sources of Income: With the birth of The IRA, there simply is no such thing as job security anymore. If you are dependent on a job (“just over broke”) for 100% of your income, you are in a very bad position. There are thousands of different ways to make extra money. What you don’t want to do is to have all of your eggs in one basket. One day when the economy melts down and you are out of a job are you going to be destitute or are you going to be okay?

IF you need some ideas on what you can do, contact me and I can help.

3 – Reduce Your Expenses: Many Americans have left the rat race and have found ways to live on half or even on a quarter of what they were making previously. It is possible – if you are willing to reduce your expenses. In the future times are going to be tougher, so learn to start living with less today.

4 – Learn To Grow Your Own / Supplement Your Food: Today the vast majority of Americans are completely dependent on being able to run down to the supermarket or to the local Wal-Mart to buy food. But what happens when the U.S. dollar declines dramatically in value and it costs ten bucks to buy a loaf of bread? If you learn to grow your own food (even if is just a small garden) you will be insulating yourself against rising food prices. Another thing is to learn to hunt and fish. There is “low cost” food out there for the taking, you just need to assert yourself. (Low Cost = you still need to pay for hunting and fishing licenses.)

5 – Make Sure You Have A Reliable Water Supply: Water shortages are popping up all over the globe. Water is quickly becoming one of the “hottest” commodities out there. Even in the United States, water shortages have been making headline news recently. As we move into the future, it will be imperative for you and your family to have a reliable source of water. Some Americans have learned to collect rainwater and many others are using advanced technology such as atmospheric water generators to provide water for their families. But whatever you do, make sure that you are not caught without a decent source of water in the years ahead.

6 – Buy Land: This is a tough one, because prices are high depending on where you are looking. If you are able to buy land when prices are low, that is going to insulate you a great deal from the rising housing costs that will occur when the U.S dollar does totally go into the tank.

7 – Buy Precious Metals: this is a no brainer, but it still amazes me how many people are not doing this. Right now silver is sitting at $14.41. That is a very affordable price and a price that everyone can afford. We must start “paying ourselves first” and start pulling in these sort of assets.

The best place that I recommend is Renaissance Precious Metals. It is who I purchase from.

8 – Get Partially Off The Grid: An increasing number of Americans are going “off the grid”. Essentially what that means is that they are attempting to operate independently of the utility companies. In particular, going “off the grid” will enable you to insulate yourself from the rapidly rising energy prices that we are going to see in the future. If you are able to produce energy for your own home, you won’t be freaking out like your neighbors are when electricity prices triple someday.

9 – Store Non-Perishable Supplies: Non-perishable supplies are one investment that is sure to go up in value. Not that you would resell them. You store up non-perishable supplies because you are going to need them someday. So why not stock up on the things that you are going to need now before they double or triple in price in the future? Your money is not ever going to stretch any farther than it does right now.

EXAMPLE – Toilet Paper

10 – Develop Stronger Relationships: Americans have become very insular creatures. We act like we don’t need anyone or anything. But the truth is that as the we see a socio-economic melt down we are going to need each other. It is those that are developing strong relationships with family and friends right now that will be able to depend on them when times get hard.

11 – Get Educated And Stay Flexible: When times are stable, it is not that important to be informed because things pretty much stay the same. However, when things are rapidly changing it is imperative to get educated and to stay informed so that you will know what to do. The times ahead are going to require us all to be very flexible, and it is those who are willing to adapt that will do the best when things get tough.

—–

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.

That Escalated Quickly: The Emerging Market Currency Crisis Of 2018 Threatens To Destabilize The Entire Global Financial System

We haven’t seen emerging market currencies crash like this in over a decade, and analysts are warning that if this continues we could witness a devastating global debt crisis. Over the past decade, there has been an insatiable appetite for cheap loans in emerging market economies, and a very substantial percentage of those loans were denominated in U.S. dollars. When emerging market currencies crash relative to the U.S. dollar, lending dries up and servicing the existing loans becomes extremely oppressive, and that is precisely what we are witnessing right now. This week, most of the top headlines in the financial media have been about the crisis in Turkey. The Turkish lira fell another 8 percent against the U.S. dollar on Monday, and it is now down about 35 percent over the past week. Overall, the lira has fallen 82 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2018, and this is putting an enormous amount of stress on the Turkish financial system

“It is about credit, since Turkey has been a huge borrower in global capital markets over the past number of years when the world’s central banks were encouraging investors to stretch for yield,” David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff, said in his daily market note. “Over half of the borrowing is denominated in foreign currencies, so when the lira sinks, debt-servicing costs and default risks rise inexorably.”

Turkey’s economy, just like all of the other major economies around the world, is utterly dependent on the flow of credit, and now lending is becoming greatly restricted.

Meanwhile, any existing loans that were made during the lending spree of the past decade that are denominated in foreign currencies are going to be causing major problems. The following comes from CNBC

The lending spree has created two potential problems, according to Capital Economics. One is that Turkish banks looked to foreign wholesale markets as a way to fund the credit boom, instead of relying on more steady domestic deposits.

Now, the expense of servicing those loans has jumped with the lira’s decline, and they will be much more difficult for banks to roll over. The second risk is the possible sharp rise in nonperforming loans, including those made in foreign currencies, mostly to businesses.

Many of my American readers may be wondering why they should be concerned about what is going on in Turkey.

Well, the fear is that “what happens in Turkey won’t stay in Turkey”, and it isn’t just Turkey that we are talking about. Similar scenarios are playing out in emerging markets all over the planet, and one of the most dramatic examples is Argentina.

The Argentine peso has lost 8 percent against the U.S. dollar over the last three trading days, and overall it is down about 33 percent over the past four months.

In a desperate attempt to restore confidence in the currency, the central bank raised the core interest rate 5 entire percentage points on Monday to an eye-popping 45 percent

Argentina took emergency steps to stabilize its currency in the wake of an emerging-market rout caused by Turkey’s crisis, jacking up its already highest-in-the-world interest rate by 5 percentage points and announcing it will sell $500 million to support the peso.

Policy makers set the rate for seven-day notes at a record 45 percent and pledged to keep it at that level at least until October. The central bank also said it plans to phase out 1 trillion pesos ($33.2 billion) of short-term notes by December in an effort to limit the currency volatility that often popped up when the securities were rolled over. And the bank also changed a system for dollar auctions to make them harder for traders to anticipate.

And this wasn’t the first time that the central bank has made such a dramatic move.

In fact, this was the fourth enormous rate hike that we have seen since April 27th.

The IMF has promised to intervene in Argentina with a 50 billion dollar bailout, but that may not be nearly enough.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget the complete and utter disaster that Venezuela has become. According to the IMF, the inflation rate in that country is projected to hit one million percent this year…

A top U.N. official is warning that Venezuela is on the verge of turning into an “absolute disaster of unprecedented proportions.” And now, what was once Latin America’s richest nation is about to ravaged by hyperinflation.

Life for most people in Venezuela is already terrible, so it might be hard to believe that it is about to get even worse, but it is.

One million percent. That’s the inflation rate the International Monetary Fund predicts Venezuela will hit this year.

Yes, it is true that Venezuela has been a basket case for some time, but things are getting a lot worse. People are starving, the entire economy is disintegrating, and chaos reigns in the streets.

And we must remember that Venezuela was once one of the wealthiest nations on the entire globe.

Will similar scenes soon be playing out in other emerging markets as this new debt crisis deepens?

In addition to Turkey and Argentina, currencies are also crashing in South Africa, Colombia, India, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and a very long list of other prominent nations.

If order is not restored to the currency markets, we are going to see an international debt crisis of unprecedented size and scope.

So keep a close eye on the foreign exchange markets over the next few days. If emerging market currencies keep crashing, events are going to begin to escalate very, very rapidly.

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.

Venezuela Has Officially Abandoned The Petrodollar – Does This Make War With Venezuela More Likely?

Venezuela is the 11th largest oil producing country in the entire world, and it has just announced that it is going to stop using the petrodollar. Most Americans don’t even know what the petrodollar is, but for those of you that do understand what I am talking about, this should send a chill up your spine. The petrodollar is one of the key pillars of the global financial system, and it allows us to live a far higher standard of living than we actually deserve. The dominance of the petrodollar has been very jealously guarded by our government in the past, and that is why many are now concerned that this move by Venezuela could potentially lead us to war.

I don’t know why this isn’t headline news all over the country, but it should be. One of the few major media outlets that is reporting on this is the Wall Street Journal

The government of this oil-rich but struggling country, looking for ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions, is telling oil traders that it will no longer receive or send payments in dollars, people familiar with the new policy have told The Wall Street Journal.

Before we go any further, we should discuss what we mean by the “petrodollar” for those that are not familiar with the concept. The following comes from an excellent article by Christopher Doran

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world’s nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve.

As will be explained below, the fact that virtually everyone around the world has to use our currency to buy oil is a massive advantage for us. Venezuela knows this, and so in response to new sanctions being imposed upon them, they are hitting us where it hurts

Oil traders who export Venezuelan crude or import oil products into the country have begun converting their invoices to euros.

The state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, known as PdVSA, has told its private joint venture partners to open accounts in euros and to convert existing cash holdings into Europe’s main currency, said one project partner.

The new payment policy hasn’t been publicly announced, but Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who has been blacklisted by the U.S., said Friday, “To fight against the economic blockade there will be a basket of currencies to liberate us from the dollar.”

If more nations start to follow suit, it would be absolutely disastrous for the United States.

In other articles, I have detailed why the petrodollar is so incredibly important to our economy and our financial system. The following is an extended excerpt from one of those previous articles

So why is the petrodollar so important?

Well, it creates a tremendous amount of demand for the U.S. dollar all over the globe. Since everyone has needed it to trade with one another, that has created an endless global appetite for the currency. That has kept the value of the dollar artificially high, and it has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of super cheap products from other countries. If other nations stopped using the dollar to trade with one another, the value of the dollar would plummet dramatically and we would have to pay much, much more for the trinkets that we buy at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.

In addition, since the U.S. dollar is essentially the de facto global currency, this has also increased demand for our debt. Major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of our dollars. Instead of just letting them sit there and do nothing, those nations often reinvest their dollars into securities that can rapidly be changed back into dollars if needed. One of the most popular ways to do this has been to invest those dollars in U.S. Treasuries. This has driven down interest rates on U.S. debt over the years and has enabled the U.S. government to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars for next to nothing.

But if the rest of the world starts moving away from the U.S. dollar, all of this could change.

History has shown that when the status of the petrodollar is threatened, the U.S. is swift to take action.

And it is very interesting to note that President Trump will be meeting with Latin American leaders next week, and the main topic for discussion will be “the Venezuela crisis”

U.S. President Donald Trump has invited three Latin American leaders to dine with him next week in New York as he seeks to address the Venezuela crisis and build bridges with the region after an acrimonious start with neighbor Mexico.

The political and economic turmoil in Venezuela, source of 10 percent of the oil consumed by the United States, will almost certainly top the agenda when he receives the center-right presidents of Peru, Colombia and Brazil at Trump Tower on Monday evening, diplomats said.

Could this latest move by Venezuela be enough to potentially spark a military conflict?

The guys over at Zero Hedge seem to think so…

Having threatened China today with exclusion from SWIFT, we suspect Washington is rapidly running out of any great ally to sustain the petrodollar-driven hegemony (and implicitly its war machine). Cue the calls for a Venezuelan invasion in 3…2..1…!

It would be absolutely no surprise at all if John McCain and Lindsey Graham start appearing on the major news networks calling for war with Venezuela, but hopefully President Trump will not listen to such nonsense.

No matter how important the petrodollar is, there is absolutely no reason to go to war to protect it.

And if war talk does begin, the American people need to make their voices heard very, very loudly. We have been in useless wars before, and we certainly do not need another one.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Euro parity with dollar ‘only a matter of time’: ING

euro-question-public-domain

Divergence in monetary policy between the United States and Europe will bring parity between the value of the euro and dollar, according to ING Group.

On Thursday the euro hit a low of 1.0364 against the dollar, the lowest level since August 2003 when it traded as low as 1.0357.

Dollar strength is the key driver as investors believe the Federal Reserve will adopt a higher rate rise path in 2017 as the U.S. economy gathers momentum.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Guess What Happened The Last Time The U.S. Dollar Skyrocketed In Value Like This?…

Question Ball - Public Domain

Over the past decade, there has been only one other time when the value of the U.S. dollar has increased by so much in such a short period of time. That was in mid-2008 – just before the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression. A surging U.S. dollar also greatly contributed to the Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s and the Asian financial crisis of 1997. Today, the globe is more interconnected than ever. Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and much of the borrowing done by emerging markets all over the planet is denominated in U.S. dollars. When the U.S. dollar goes up dramatically, this can put a tremendous amount of financial stress on economies all around the world. It also has the potential to greatly threaten the stability of the 65 trillion dollars in derivatives that are directly tied to the value of the U.S. dollar. The global financial system is more vulnerable to currency movements than ever before, and history tells us that when the U.S. dollar soars the global economy tends to experience a contraction. So the fact that the U.S. dollar has been skyrocketing lately is a very, very bad sign.

Most of the people that write about the coming economic collapse love to talk about the coming collapse of the U.S. dollar as well.

But in the initial deflationary stage of the coming financial crisis, we are likely to see the U.S. dollar actually strengthen considerably.

As I have discussed so many times before, we are going to experience deflation first, and after that deflationary phase the desperate responses by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government to that deflation will cause the inflationary panic that so many have written about.

Yes, someday the U.S. dollar will essentially be toilet paper. But that is not in our immediate future. What is in our immediate future is a “flight to safety” that will push the surging U.S. dollar even higher.

This is what we witnessed in 2008, and this is happening once again right now.

Just look at the chart that I have posted below. You can see the the U.S. dollar moved upward dramatically relative to other currencies starting in mid-2008. And toward the end of the chart you can see that the U.S. dollar is now experiencing a similar spike…

Dollar Index 2015

At the moment, almost every major currency in the world is falling relative to the U.S. dollar.

For example, this next chart shows what the euro is doing relative to the dollar. As you can see, the euro is in the midst of a stunning decline…

Euro U.S. Dollar

Instead of focusing on the U.S. dollar, those that are looking for a harbinger of the coming financial crisis should be watching the euro. As I discussed yesterday, analysts are telling us that if Greece leaves the eurozone the EUR/USD could fall all the way down to 0.90. If that happens, the chart above will soon resemble a waterfall.

And of course it isn’t just the euro that is plummeting. The yen has been crashing as well. The following chart was recently posted on the Crux

Yen Dollar from the Crux

Unfortunately, most Americans have absolutely no idea how important all of this is. In recent years, growing economies all over the world have borrowed gigantic piles of very cheap U.S. dollars. But now they are faced with the prospect of repaying those debts and making interest payments using much more expensive U.S. dollars.

Investors are starting to get nervous. At one time, investors couldn’t wait to pour money into emerging markets, but now this process is beginning to reverse. If this turns into a panic, we are going to have one giant financial mess on our hands.

The truth is that the value of the U.S. dollar is of great importance to every nation on the face of the Earth. The following comes from U.S. News & World Report

In the early ’80s, a bullish U.S. dollar contributed to the Latin American debt crisis, and also impacted the Asian Tiger crisis in the late ’90s. Emerging markets typically have higher growth, but carry much higher risk to investors. When the economies are doing well, foreign investors will lend money to emerging market countries by purchasing their bonds.

They also deposit money in foreign banks, which facilitates higher lending. The reason for this is simple: Bond payments and interest rates in emerging markets are much higher than in the U.S. Why deposit cash in the U.S. and earn 0.25 percent, when you could earn 6 percent in Indonesia? With the dollar strengthening, the interest payments on any bond denominated in U.S. dollars becomes more expensive.

Additionally, the deposit in the Indonesian bank may still be earning 6 percent, but that is on Indonesian rupiahs. After converting the rupiahs to U.S. dollars, the extra interest doesn’t offset the loss from the exchange. As investors get nervous, the higher interest on emerging market debt and deposits becomes less alluring, and they flee to safety. It may start slowly, but history tells us it can quickly spiral out of control.

Over the past few months, I have been repeatedly stressing that so many of the signs that we witnessed just prior to previous financial crashes are happening again.

Now you can add the skyrocketing U.S. dollar to that list.

If you have not seen my previous articles where I have discussed these things, here are some places to get started…

Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…

Not Just Oil: Guess What Happened The Last Time Commodity Prices Crashed Like This?…

10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again RIGHT NOW

The warnings signs are really starting to pile up.

When we look back at past financial crashes, there are recognizable patterns that can be identified.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that a large number of those patterns are unfolding once again right before our eyes.

Unfortunately, most people in this world end up believing exactly what they want to believe.

No matter how much evidence you show them, they will not accept the truth until it is too late.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The Dollar is the Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing
There was this great TV show on a couple of years ago called
“The Last Comic Standing” where comedians competed until only the best one was left.I wish it were still on, because in today’s world, I could use a good laugh every Thursday night.That show reminds me of where the dollar is right now. Only it’s no comedy show, but a tragedy waiting to happen.

The dollar is strong for now, the last man standing, that is, until the tide goes back out and you see who is naked.

And who will it be? The countries that have the highest debt, which includes the US. 

Soon, the last man standing will be caught naked, and the rest of the world will see that, lose confidence, and quit investing in the dollar.

“Let’s look at the current financial system: The Ruble has fallen by 50% in a year. The price of oil has halved, the price of copper, iron ore and many other commodities has tumbled.

The Swiss franc has been de-floored and the uproar was huge. All random events, all part of a pattern. Financial markets are feeling the effects of a pick-up in volatility that has followed the end of Fed QE.


Soon, the last man standing will be caught naked, and the rest of the world will see that, lose confidence, 
and quit investing in the dollar. 

While zero rates were augmented with Fed bond-buying, investors went around the world in search of higher yields, in all sorts of assets and currencies. Traders and investors of one kind or another resorted to leverage to reach the yield targets they needed to match their required investment returns. All of which was fine while the party went on forever, but now that it’s ending, the outcome is anything but fine.

It’s only when the tide goes back out you see who is naked

…and it’s only when volatility picks up that we can start to place markets on a scale between ‘fundamentally-driven trend’ and ‘bubble’.

The number of currencies with 10% moves of the last 12 months is now close to historical highs. The number of currencies collapsing by 40% is slowly growing higher as happened in previous waves of USD strength…the number of large FX (FOREX: The market in which currencies are traded)  moves may surprise once again to the upside in a world with a dearth of safe havens. The US Treasury market, the USD [US dollar]… are one of the few places left.” says Kit Juckes.

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

Ditching the U.S. dollar: China, Russia launch financial tools in local currencies

Dollars - Public Domain

China and Russia have effectively switched to domestic currencies in trading using financial tools as swaps and forwards, as they seek to reduce the influence of the US dollar and foreign exchange risks.

The agreement signed in the end of October comes into force Monday, December 29, and provides a currency swap of CNY150 billion (up to US$25 billion).

The country’s Foreign Exchange Trade System will carry out similar transactions with the Malaysian ringgit and the New Zealand dollar.

From now on yuan swaps are available for 11 currencies on the foreign exchange market.

“China won’t stop yuan globalization or capital account opening because of the volatility in emerging market currencies,” Ju Wang, a senior currency strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong told Bloomberg.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

A Visual History: How Much $1 Used To Get You (And How Much It Gets You Now)

Ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 Americans have seen the value of their currency dwindle.

We know the dollar has lost some 97% of its value since the Fed took over. But it’s hard to actually grasp this destruction of value without some examples.

The infographic below, originally posted at The Burning Platform, is self explanatory. We are being robbed bit by bit, on a daily basis, and there is no end in sight.

How Much One Dollar Gets You

(Read the rest of the story here…)

U.S. Sanctions on Russia May Sink the Dollar

The U.S. Dollar

The US government’s decision to apply more sanctions on Russia is a grave mistake and will only escalate an already tense situation, ultimately harming the US economy itself. While the effect of sanctions on the dollar may not be appreciated in the short term, in the long run these sanctions are just another step toward the dollar’s eventual demise as the world’s reserve currency.

Not only is the US sanctioning Russian banks and companies, but it also is trying to strong-arm European banks into enacting harsh sanctions against Russia as well. Given the amount of business that European banks do with Russia, European sanctions could hurt Europe at least as much as Russia. At the same time the US expects cooperation from European banks, it is also prosecuting those same banks and fining them billions of dollars for violating existing US sanctions. It is not difficult to imagine that European banks will increasingly become fed up with having to act as the US government’s unpaid policemen, while having to pay billions of dollars in fines every time they engage in business that Washington doesn’t like.

European banks are already cutting ties with American citizens and businesses due to the stringent compliance required by recently-passed laws such as FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). In the IRS’s quest to suck in as much tax dollars as possible from around the world, the agency has made Americans into the pariahs of the international financial system. As the burdens the US government places on European banks grow heavier, it should be expected that more and more European banks will reduce their exposure to the United States and to the dollar, eventually leaving the US isolated. Attempting to isolate Russia, the US actually isolates itself.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Russia And India Begin Negotations To Use National Currencies In Settlements, Bypassing Dollar

Russia And India

Over the past 6 months, there has been much talk about the strategic proximity between Russia and China, made even more proximal following the “holy grail” gas deal announced in May which would not have happened on such an accelerated time frame had it not been for US escalation in Ukraine.

And yet little has been said about that other just as crucial for the “new BRIC-centric world order” relationship, that between Russia and India. That is about to change when yesterday the Russian central bank announced that having been increasingly shunned by the west, Russia discussed cooperation with Reserve Bank of India Executive Director Shrikant Padmanabhan. The punchline: India agreed to create a task group to work out a mechanism for using national currencies in settlements. And so another major bilateral arrangement is set up that completely bypasses the dollar.

From the Russian Central Bank:

First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation KV Yudaeva and Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India G. Padmanabhan at the twentieth meeting of the Subgroup on banking and financial issues of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation discussed the current state and prospects of cooperation between banks.

The meeting was attended by representatives of central banks, ministries and agencies, credit organizations in Russia and India.

During the meeting dealt with the problems faced by the branches and subsidiaries of banks in the two countries and ways of addressing these problems.

As a priority area discussed the use of national currencies in mutual settlements. Given the urgency of the issue and the interest of commercial structures of the two countries, the meeting decided to establish a working group to develop a mechanism for the use of national currencies in mutual settlements. It will consist of representatives of banks and, if necessary, the ministries and departments of the two countries to coordinate its activities will be central banks of Russia and India.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

BRICS shake up global economic architecture

BRIC Countries

By creating their own multilateral financial institutions, the BRICS emerging-market powers are shaking up global economic governance but remain far from dismantling the post-war system dominated by the West.

For the past 70 years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world’s economic system, coming to the rescue of countries in trouble and supporting development projects, respectively.

But the Bretton Woods institutions are regularly criticised for their inability to reflect the growing and important contributions of the major emerging economies to the global economy.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

BRIC Nations Continue Plans For A Post-Dollar World

The U.S. Dollar

We don’t know how the dollar collapse or The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI) will play out but numerous criminal actors, specifically the governments of what is known as BRIC are making their own plans.  The  criminal BRIC nation-states have become a de-dollarization vehicle. Further, this road towards a de-dollarized world appears clearer-and-clearer in the offing daily. Earlier this week it was reported that the BRICS are in the process of forming an international development bank – a so-called “mini-IMF” – with the aim of challenging the international dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, heinous cells of the largest terrorist organization on Earth, the government of the United States.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa said Tuesday that the New Development Bank will start out with $50 billion in capital and $100 billion as a currency reserve fund in the case of liquidity crises which could help to pull much of the world away from the District of Criminal’s (DC) influence. The BRICS bank could add more member nations while it seeks to expand the influence of the BRICS markets and acting as a counterbalance to institutions controlled by the US and other western nations.  Or, in layman’s terms, create a centralized criminal organization to compete with the current centralized criminal organization.

“This is about the consolidation of BRICS 2.0,” said Marcos Troyjo, professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University and co-director of the BRICLab Center. “If BRICS 1.0 was about capturing investor attention to the scale of their economic relevance, BRICS 2.0 is about embarking on institution building.” In the official statement BRIC leaders highlighted the importance of this new institution.

“International governance structures designed within a different power configuration show increasingly evident signs of losing legitimacy and effectiveness,” said the official statement signed by the BRICS leaders, who met in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Tuesday. “We believe the BRICS are an important force for incremental change and reform of current institutions toward more representative and equitable governance.”

(Read the rest of the story here…)

This is a Huge Security Threat to the U.S. (No, It’s Not Climate Change)

Dollars

Let’s see. There’s Iraq, Russia, Syria, Pakistan, Iran…and on and on.  It seems that whomever we help, they hated us before and they hate us after.

Understood: The Middle East is a big, humongous mess. Messed up to the extreme.

But is it our main threat – or do we have even more dire security issues to worry about?

Believe it or not, the greatest threat we face is not from the Middle East, nor from climate change, but right here in our own country.

The administration would have you think that patriotic citizens who believe in lower taxes and less government spending are the real threat, but we all know that is hogwash.

Islamist terrorism is a threat to our security, but according to some experts, it is not the greatest threat.

What IS the biggest threat, is if the US loses it’s status of having the world’s reserve currency.

The U.S. enjoys a higher standard of living than much of the rest of the world because we possess the world’s reserve currency. Will we be able to retain it? Will we be able to survive our own unimaginable debt, as our government continues to spend trillions of dollars more than it takes in annually?

 U.S. debt is greater than any other nation
and in the history of the world.
The amount of debt in the US can never be repaid,
even if the wealth of the entire world were combined.

dollar-reserve-currencyThe Slow-Death-Of-The-Dollar

According to Simon Black of Sovereign Man:

“What’s really driving the nail in the dollar coffin is the U.S. government’s continued appalling arrogance, particularly in bullying around foreign banks.

Just one tiny example is the US government’s $10 billion threat against French bank BNP Paribas, which may even include criminal charges.

BNP’s bank in Geneva stands accused of financing deals with Iran. Never mind that it’s perfectly legal for a bank in Switzerland to do business with Iran. Iran, after all, is one of Switzerland’s largest trading partners in the Middle East.

The issue is that BNP violated a 2012 -executive order- from Barack Obama (#13622) that requires non-US companies to enforce US sanctions.

The arrogance is really overwhelming. This isn’t even an actual law. It’s just an executive order– a royal decree from King POTUS.”(Can anyone say “coup”?)

And even if it were an actual law, on what possible grounds could the US government claim jurisdiction to regulate foreign banks? None. But this doesn’t stop them from doing so.

FATCA is another example of a hugely destructive law passed in 2010 that mandates all sorts of US compliance requirements on foreign banks.

This law de-incentivizes international banks from working with U.S. customers, and many do not accept Americans as customers since this mandate. Did I hear you say “Capital Controls?” Back door style, like everything that is now done in our not-free-anymore  country.


“Singapore’s central bank is now offering overnight renminbi liquidity. Russian companies are preparing to pay for trade in renminbi. Even the World Bank’s IFC just issued its first renminbi-denominated bond.”

The Chinese government has been rapidly loosening controls over the renminbi to increase its reserve status and compete with the dollar.  China is also now the world’s largest importer of gold, which makes you wonder if they intend to back their currency with gold.

A currency backed by gold sure would make a good alternative to the bankrupt, debt-ridden, backed-by-debt US dollar.  And the rest of the world has quickly adapted to the opportunity.

Black continues, “In London, renminbi trade last year surged 50% to $25.3 billion per day. And there’s every indication that this growth will continue.”

“The proof is clear. According to SWIFT,
China’s renminbi is now the second most used currency
in the world for global trade settlement, putting it ahead of even the  euro.
Singapore’s central bank is now offering
overnight renminbi liquidity.
Russian companies are preparing to pay for trade in renminbi. Even the World Bank’s IFC just issued its first renminbi-denominated bond.”

“I was surprised to see an article in the Financial Times’ (The Banker)  entitled “The US’s dollar domination is coming to an end.

It’s happening. It’s completely obvious… to just about everyone but the U.S. government. Or maybe they know, and are just choosing not to tell us. What a shock!

The U.S. currency is still king of the hill – for now. And, as the U.S. deficit grows, the decline of the dollar becomes more serious. Per Dick Bove on CNBC:

“If the dollar loses status as the world’s most reliable currency the United States will lose the right to print money to
pay its debt. It will be forced to pay this debt,” Bove explained.

“The ratings agencies are already arguing that the government’s debt may be too highly rated. Plus, the United States Congress, in both its houses, as well as the president are demonstrating a total lack of fiscal credibility.”

“The talk of economic recovery in the U.S., buoyed by a stock market setting record highs, has pushed the issue of U.S. debt under the radar.” But Bove and other experts see it as pure nitroglycerin set to explode.

Michael Pento, president of Pento Portfolio Strategies, adds on CNBC, that he believes  the dollar’s demise will occur as soon as next year:

“Five to 10 years — that would be an outlier,” he said. “I would say 2015, 2016, that would be the time when it becomes a particularly salient issue. When we’re spending 30 to 50 percent of our revenue on debt service payments, we enter into a bond market crisis. The dollar starts to drop along with bond prices. That would set off the whole thing.”

“The No. 1 security issue we have as a nation is the preservation of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It’s a thousand times more important that we keep the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and yet we are doing everything to abuse that status.”

It makes you wonder. Why would our leaders do everything possible to jeopardize our reserve currency status? Are they diabolically evil or just plain incompetent? The jury’s still out.

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

The Almighty Dollar Is In Peril As The Global ‘De-Dollarization’ Trend Accelerates

50 Dollars - Public Domain

As the Obama administration continues to alienate almost everyone else around the entire planet, an increasing number of prominent international voices are starting to question why the U.S. dollar should be so overwhelmingly dominant in global trade. In previous articles, I have discussed Russia’s “de-dollarization strategy” and the fact that Gazprom is now asking their large customers to start paying in currencies other than the dollar. But this is not just a story about Russia any longer. As you will read about below, China and South Korea have just signed a major agreement to facilitate trade with one another using their own national currencies, and even prominent French officials are now talking about the need to use the dollar less and the euro more. John Williams of shadowstats.com recently said that things have never “been more negative” for the U.S. dollar, and he was right on the mark. The power of the almighty dollar has allowed all of us living in the United States to enjoy an extremely high standard of living for decades, but as that power now fades it is going to have profound implications for the U.S. economy. In future years the value of the dollar will go down substantially, all of the imported goods filling our stores will become much more expensive, and it is going to cost the federal government a lot more to borrow money. Unfortunately, with the stock market hitting all-time record highs and with the mainstream media endlessly touting an “economic recovery”, most Americans are not paying any attention to these things.

French oil giant Total is one of the largest energy companies in the entire world. On Saturday, Total’s CEO made an absolutely stunning statement. According to Reuters, he told reporters that there “is no reason to pay for oil in dollars”…

“Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn’t be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more,” he told reporters.

There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars,” he said. He said the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel did not mean that payments actually had to be made in that currency.

If Gazprom’s CEO had made such a statement, it would not have really surprised anyone. But this came from a high profile French CEO. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for him to say such a thing. Wars have been started over less. Virtually all oil and natural gas around the planet has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars since the 1970s, and this is an arrangement that the U.S. government has traditionally guarded very zealously. But now that Russia has broken the petrodollar monopoly, the fear of questioning the almighty dollar appears to be dissipating.

And at this point even French government officials are not afraid to publicly discuss moving away from the U.S. dollar. Just check out what French finance minister Michel Sapin said to the press this weekend

French finance minister Michel Sapin says “now is the right time to bolster the use of the euro” adding, more ominously for the dollar, “we sell ourselves aircraft in dollars. Is that really necessary? I don’t think so.” Careful to avoid upsetting his ‘allies’ across the pond, Sapin followed up with the slam-dunk diplomacy, “This is not a fight against dollar imperialism,” except, of course – that’s exactly what it is… just as it was over 40 years ago when the French challenged Nixon.

So why are the French suddenly so upset?

Could it be the fact that we just slapped the largest bank in France with a nearly 9 billion dollar fine?

The remarks come a week after Paris-based bank BNP Paribas (BNP) SA was slapped with a $8.97 billion fine by U.S. authorities for transactions carried out in dollars in countries facing American sanctions. The fine spurred debate in France about the right of the U.S. in extending its regulatory reach beyond its borders.

This is yet another example of how the Obama administration is alienating friends all over the globe.

In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone that the Obama administration is afraid of crossing. Just a couple of days ago, the German press exploded in outrage when Germany arrested a U.S. spy. Why we feel the need to spy on our friends is something that I will never figure out.

And of course our relations with Russia are probably the worst that they have been since the end of the Cold War at this point. And as the Russians now rapidly move away from the U.S. dollar, they seem intent on bringing the rest of “the BRICS” with them.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

John Williams: Things have never been more negative for the dollar

The Dollar

(YouTube) “We have ahead of us here probably the worst fundamentals ever facing the dollar. I don’t think the U.S. dollar against the rest of the world’s major western currencies including the Canadian dollar. I don’t think things have ever been more negative. Not only do you have problems on the fiscal front, which I don’t think I need to go into further detail with, you have problems on the monetary front with the Federal Reserve. The Fed, let me just back up a point or two. We had a financial panic in 2008. People in Washington were saying, oh my goodness, we’re within a day or two of a collapse of the banking system. Well, they weren’t kidding. They really were. We should not have gotten to that point. There are all sorts of reasons that we’re there never should have happened, but we were there.”

 

Gazprom Ready To Drop Dollar, Settle China Contracts In Yuan Or Rubles

The Death Of The Dollar

A little over a month ago, when Russia announced the much anticipated “Holy Grail” energy deal with China, some were disappointed that despite this symbolic agreement meant to break the petrodollar’s stranglehold on the rest of the world, neither Russia nor China announced payment terms to be in anything but dollars. In doing so they admitted that while both nations are eager to move away from a US Dollar reserve currency, neither is yet able to provide an alternative. This changed rather dramatically overnight when in a little noticed statement, Gazprom’s CFO Andrey Kruglov uttered the magic words (via Bloomberg):

  • GAZPROM READY TO SETTLE CHINA CONTRACTS IN YUAN OR RUBLES: CFO

In other words just as the US may or may not be preparing to export crude – a step which would weaken the dollar’s reserve status as traditional US oil trading partners will need to find other import customers who pay in non-USD currencies – the world’s two other superpowers are preparing to respond. And once the bilateral trade in Rubles or Renminbi is established, the rest of the energy world will piggyback.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Putin Advisor Proposes ‘Anti-Dollar Alliance’ To Halt US Aggression Abroad

The U.S. Dollar

Glazyev’s set of countermeasures specifically targets the core strength of the US war machine, i.e. the Fed’s printing press. Putin’s advisor proposes the creation of a “broad anti-dollar alliance” of countries willing and able to drop the dollar from their international trade. Members of the alliance would also refrain from keeping the currency reserves in dollar-denominated instruments. Glazyev advocates treating positions in dollar-denominated instruments like holdings of junk securities and believes that regulators should require full collateralization of such holdings. An anti-dollar coalition would be the first step for the creation of an anti-war coalition that can help stop the US’ aggression.

Unsurprisingly, Sergey Glazyev believes that the main role in the creation of such a political coalition is to be played by the European business community because America’s attempts to ignite a war in Europe and a cold war against Russia are threatening the interests of big European business. Judging by the recent efforts to stop the sanctions against Russia, made by the German, French, Italian and Austrian business leaders, Putin’s aide is right in his assessment. Somewhat surprisingly for Washington, the war for Ukraine may soon become the war for Europe’s independence from the US and a war against the dollar.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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