On Wednesday we witnessed the third largest single day point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ever. That sounds like great news until you realize that the two largest were in October 2008 – right in the middle of the last financial crisis. This is a perfect example of what I wrote about yesterday. Every time the market crashes, there are huge up days, huge down days and giant waves of market momentum. Even though the Dow was up 619 points on Wednesday, overall we are still down more than 2,000 points from the peak of the market. During the weeks and months to come, we are going to see many more wild market swings, but the overall direction of the market will be down.
Sadly, the mainstream media is still peddling the lie that everything is going to be just fine. So millions upon and millions of Americans are just going to sit there while their investments get wiped out. In the six trading days leading up to Wednesday, Americans lost a staggering 2.1 trillion dollars as stocks plunged, and the truth is that this nightmare is only just beginning.
Early on Wednesday morning, CNN published an article entitled “Why U.S. stocks aren’t headed for a crash“. I had to laugh when I saw that headline. If CNN is going to make this kind of a claim, they better have something very solid to base it on. But instead, these are the five reasons we were given for why the stock market is not going to collapse…
1. “The U.S. economy isn’t on the verge of a recession.”
This is exactly what all of the “experts” told us back in 2007 and 2008 too. In America today, the homeownership rate is at a 48 year low, 46 million Americans go to food banks, and economic growth has slowed to a standstill (and that is if you actually buy the highly manipulated official numbers). The truth, of course, is that things continue to progressively get worse as our long-term economic decline continues to unfold. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession“.
2. “China’s effect on U.S. is limited.”
Really? Go to just about any major retail store and start reading labels. You will likely find far more things that were “made in China” than you will American-made products. The global economy is more interconnected than ever before, and the Chinese stock market is the second largest on the entire planet. Of course what is happening in China is going to affect us.
3. “American businesses are doing pretty well (outside of energy).”
Actually, they were doing pretty well for a while, but now things are turning. Many large corporations are reporting declining orders, declining revenues and declining profits. Unsold inventories are beginning to pile up and the pace of layoffs is starting to increase. All of the things that we would expect to see just prior to another recession are happening.
4. “The Federal Reserve sounds cautious.”
This is laughable. Ultimately, it isn’t going to matter much at all whether the Federal Reserve barely raises rates or not. The era of “central bank omnipotence” is at an end. Just look at what is happening over in Europe. All of the quantitative easing that the ECB has been doing has not kept their markets from crashing in recent days. Those that believe that the Federal Reserve can somehow miraculously keep the stock market from crashing this time around are going to end up deeply, deeply disappointed.
5. “Stock prices aren’t crazy high anymore.”
There is some truth to this last point. Instead of stock prices being really, really, really crazy now they are just really, really crazy. But as I have pointed out in many previous articles, the technical indicators are very clearly telling us that U.S. stocks still have a long, long way to go down.
But let’s hope that CNN is actually right – at least in the short-term.
Let’s hope that markets settle down and that things stabilize for at least a few weeks.
In order for that to happen, markets need to become a lot less volatile than they are right now. The rollercoaster ride that we have been on in recent days has been extraordinary…
The Dow traveled another 1,600 points during Tuesday’s trading session, adding to the 4,900 points the index traveled in down and up moves on Monday.
Markets tend to go up slowly and steadily when things are calm, and they tend to go down rapidly when things are volatile.
If you are rooting for a return of the bull market, you should be hoping for nice, boring trading days where the Dow goes up by about 100 points or so. Wild swings like we have seen on Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are very strong indicators that we have entered a bear market.
What we have been witnessing over the past week is almost unprecedented. Just check out this piece of analysis from Bloomberg…
By one metric, investors would have to go back 75 years to find the last time the S&P 500’s losses were this abrupt.
Bespoke Investment Group observed that the S&P 500 has closed more than four standard deviations below its 50-day moving average for the third consecutive session. That’s only the second time this has happened in the history of the index.
Of course after such a dramatic plunge it was inevitable that we were going to have a “bounce back day” where there was lots of panic buying. Initially it looked like it would be Tuesday, but it turned out to be Wednesday instead.
But if you think that the big gain on Wednesday somehow means that the crisis is “over”, you are going to be sorely mistaken.
Personally, I am hoping that we at least see a bit of a pause in the action, but there is absolutely no guarantee that we will even get that.
As the markets have been flying around, more and more Americans are becoming curious about the potential for a full-blown stock market crash. The following comes from Business Insider…
This one’s pretty easy: according to Google search trends, more Americans are searching for “stock market crash” now that at any point since the last crash.
Right now, search traffic for the term “stock market crash” is hitting about 70% of the most volume this term has ever gotten through Google search.
And so while this data doesn’t convey absolute search volume for the term, we do know that Americans appear to be looking for information about a stock market crash at the highest level in about 7 years.
In addition, Americans are also becoming more pessimistic about the overall economy. According to Gallup, the level of confidence that Americans have about the future performance of the U.S. economy is the lowest that it has been in about a year.
And remember – it isn’t just U.S. markets that are starting to go crazy. All over the planet stocks are crashing and recessions are starting. In fact, I can’t remember a time when there has been this much economic chaos erupting all over the world all at once.
So can the U.S. resist the overall trend and pull out of this market crash?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 588 points. It was the 8th worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history, and it was the first time that the Dow has ever fallen by more than 500 points on two consecutive days. But the amazing thing is that the Dow actually performed better than almost every other major global stock market on Monday. In the U.S., the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both did worse than the Dow. In Europe, almost every major index performed significantly worse than the Dow. Over in Asia, Japanese stocks were down 895 points, and Chinese stocks experienced the biggest decline of all (a whopping 8.46 percent). On June 25th, I was not kidding around when I issued a “red alert” for the last six months of 2015. I had never issued a formal alert for any other period of time, and I specifically stated that “a major financial collapse is imminent“. But you know what? As the weeks and months roll along, things will eventually be even worse than what any of the experts (including myself) have been projecting. The global financial system is now unraveling, and you better pack a lunch because this is going to be one very long horror show.
Our world has not seen a day quite like Monday in a very, very long time. Let’s start our discussion where the carnage began…
For weeks, the Chinese government has been taking unprecedented steps to try to stop Chinese stocks from crashing, but nothing has worked. As most Americans slept on Sunday night, the markets in China absolutely imploded…
As Europe and North America slept on Sunday night, Chinese markets went through the floor — the Shanghai Composite index of stocks fell by 8.49%, the biggest single-day collapse since 2007.
It wasn’t alone. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 5.17%, and Japan’s Nikkei fell 4.61%. Stocks in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand also tumbled.
Things would have been even worse in China if trading had not been stopped in most stocks. Trading was suspended for an astounding 2,200 stocks once they hit their 10 percent decline limits.
Overall, the Shanghai Composite Index is now down close to 40 percent from the peak of the market, and the truth is that Chinese stocks are still massively overvalued when compared to the rest of the world.
That means that they could very easily fall a lot farther.
The selling momentum in Asia carried over into Europe once the European markets opened. On a percentage basis, all of the major indexes on the continent declined even more than the Dow did…
In Europe, the bloodbath from Friday continued unabated. The German Dax plunged 4.7%, the French CAC 40 5.4%, UK’s FTSE 100 dropped 4.7%. Euro Stoxx 600, which covers the largest European companies, was down 5.3%.
But wait… Europe is where the omnipotent ECB and other central banks have imposed negative deposit rates. The ECB is engaged in a massive ‘whatever it takes” QE program to inflate stock markets. But it’s not working. Omnipotence stops functioning once people stop believing in it.
Even before U.S. markets opened on Monday morning, the New York Stock Exchange was already warning that trading would be halted if things got too far out hand, and it almost happened…
The thousands of companies listed by the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market will pause for 15 minutes if the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunges 7 percent before 3:25 p.m. New York time. The benchmark got close earlier, falling as much as 5.3 percent.
There were other circuit breakers in place for later in the day if too much panic selling ensued, but fortunately none of those were triggered either. Here is more from Bloomberg…
Another circuit breaker kicks in if the S&P 500 extends its losses to 13 percent before 3:25 p.m. If the plunge reaches 20 percent at any point during today’s session, the entire stock market will shut for the rest of the day.
When the U.S. markets did open, the Dow plunged 1,089 points during the opening minutes of trading. If the Dow would have stayed at that level, it would have been the worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history by a wide margin.
Instead, by the end of the day it only turned out to be the 8th worst day ever.
And in case you are wondering, yes, investors are losing a staggering amount of money. According to MarketWatch, the total amount of money lost is now starting to approach 2 trillion dollars…
As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.
Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index DWCF, -4.21% through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.
In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days.
Unfortunately, U.S. stock prices are still nowhere near where they should be. If they were to actually reflect economic reality, they would have to fall a lot, lot lower.
For example, there is usually a very strong correlation between commodity prices and the S&P 500, but in recent times we have seen a very large divergence take place. Just check out the chart in this article. At this point the S&P 500 would have to fall another 30 to 40 percent or commodities would have to rise 30 or 40 percent in order to close the gap. I think that the following bit of commentary sums up where we are quite nicely…
“Markets are afraid of further economic weakness in China, further pain in global commodity markets and uncertain about Fed and PBoC policy — what they will do and what the impact will be,” Societe Generale’s Kit Juckes wrote on Monday. “The divergence between global commodity prices and equities is not a new theme but the danger now is that they begin to re-correlate – as they did when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000 and what had previously been an emerging market crisis became a US recession.”
And commodities were absolutely hammered once again on Monday.
For instance, the price of U.S. oil actually fell below 38 dollars a barrel at one point.
What we are watching unfold is incredible.
Of course the mainstream media is bringing on lots of clueless experts that are talking about what a wonderful “buying opportunity” this is. Even though those of us that saw this coming have been giving a detailed play by play account of the unfolding crisis for months, the talking heads on television still seem as oblivious as ever.
What is happening right now just doesn’t seem to make any sense to the “experts” that most people listen to. I love this headline from an article that Business Insider posted on Monday: “None of the theories for the Black Monday market crash add up“. Yes, if you are willingly blind to the long-term economic and financial trends which are destroying us, I guess these market crashes wouldn’t make sense.
And if stocks go up tomorrow (which they probably should), all of those same “experts” will be proclaiming that the “correction” is over and that everything is now fine.
But don’t be fooled by that. Just because stocks go up on any particular day does not mean that everything is fine. We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that is truly global in scope. This is going to take time to fully play out, and there will be good days and there will be bad days. The three largest single day increases for the Dow were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So one very good day for stocks is not going to change the long-term analysis one bit.
It isn’t complicated. Those that follow my writing regularly know that I have repeatedly explained how things were setting up in textbook fashion for another global financial crisis, and now one is unfolding right in front of our eyes.
At this point, everyone should be able to very clearly see what is happening, and yet most are still blind.
Why is that?
We witnessed something truly historic happen on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 530 points, and that followed a 358 point crash on Thursday. When you add those two days together, the total two day stock market crash that we just witnessed comes to a grand total of 888 points, which is larger than any one day stock market crash in U.S. history. It is also interesting to note that this 888 point crash comes in the 8th month of our calendar. Perhaps that is just a coincidence, and perhaps it is not. It just struck me as being noteworthy. This is the first time that the Dow has dropped by more than 300 points on two consecutive days since November 2008, and we all remember what was happening back then. Overall, this was the worst week for the Dow in four years, and there have only been five other months throughout history when the Dow has fallen by more than a thousand points (the most recent being October 2008). Of course we still have six more trading days left in August, so there is plenty of time remaining for even more carnage.
By itself, the 530 point plunge on Friday was the ninth worst stock market crash in all of U.S. history. The following list of the top eight comes from Wikipedia…
#1 2008-09-29 −777.68
#2 2008-10-15 −733.08
#3 2001-09-17 −684.81
#4 2008-12-01 −679.95
#5 2008-10-09 −678.91
#6 2011-08-08 −634.76
#7 2000-04-14 −617.77
#8 1997-10-27 −554.26
Another very interesting thing to note is that the largest stock market crash in U.S. history took place on the very last day of the Shemitah year of 2008, and now we are less than a month away from the end of this current Shemitah year.
It is funny how these strange “coincidences” keep happening.
The financial carnage that we witnessed on Friday was truly global in scope. On a percentage basis, Chinese stocks crashed even more than U.S. stocks did. Japanese stocks also crashed, so did stock markets all over Europe, and emerging market currencies all over the planet got absolutely destroyed.
The following is how Zero Hedge summarized what went down…
- China’s worst week since July – closes at 5 month lows
- Global Stocks’ worst week since May 2012
- US Stocks’ worst week in 4 years
- VIX’s biggest weekly rise ever
- Crude’s longest losing streak in 29 years
- Gold’s best week since January
- 5Y TSY Yield’s biggest absolute drop in 2 years
Even though I specifically warned that this would happen, and have been explaining why it would happen on my website in excruciating detail for months, the truth is that I didn’t expect stocks to start crashing this quickly or this ferociously.
Normally, August is a fairly slow month in the financial world. As I have discussed previously, most of the really noteworthy stock market crashes throughout history have taken place during the months of September and October. So I thought that things wouldn’t start getting really crazy for another few weeks at least.
Financial markets tend to fall much faster than they go up, and I believe that we are moving into a time of extraordinary volatility. There will be huge down days, and there will also be huge up days. In fact, the three largest single day rallies in Dow history happened right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So don’t let what happens on any one particular day fool you.
An absolutely gigantic global financial bubble is beginning to burst, and stocks could potentially fall a very, very long way. For instance, just consider what MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends has just written…
I don’t mean to be alarmist or to induce panic, but someone needs to tell the public that there is a plausible scenario in which the U.S. stock market now collapses by another 70% until the Dow Jones Industrial Average falls to about 5,000.
It is important to keep in mind that Arends is not a “bear” at all. He is a very level-headed analyst that tries to objectively look at all sides of things.
I sincerely hope that global financial markets will stabilize for at least a couple of weeks. But there is absolutely no guarantee that will happen.
So many of the things that I have been warning about on this website and on End of the American Dream are starting to unfold right in front of our eyes. If I am right, this is just the beginning. I believe that we are moving into a time of unprecedented chaos, and our nation is about to be shaken to the core.
Hopefully you have been preparing for the storm that is coming for quite a while and you will not be surprised by what is about to happen.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the vast majority of Americans. Most of them are totally unprepared for what is coming, and they are going to be completely blindsided by the events that will unfold in the months ahead.
The relative calm of the past few years has lulled millions into a false sense of complacency.
If you are one of those that have dozed off, I have a word of warning for you…
Wake up and get ready.
Is the stock market going to crash by the end of 2015? Of course stock market crashes are already happening in 23 different nations around the planet, but most Americans don’t really care about those markets. The truth is that what matters to people in this country is the health of their own stock portfolios and retirement accounts. There are a lot of people out there that are very afraid of what could happen if the money that they have worked so hard to save gets wiped out in a sudden financial collapse. And right now there is an unprecedented amount of buzz about the potential for a giant stock market crash by the end of this calendar year. In fact, I don’t think that I have ever seen more experts come out with bold predictions that a stock market crash will happen within a very specific period of time.
The following is a sampling of some of the experts that have made very bold proclamations about the rest of this year over the past few weeks. Many of these individuals are putting their credibility on the line by proclaiming that a stock market crash is just around the corner…
-Tom McClellan says that we are heading for an “ugly decline” and that there will be “nothing good for bulls for the rest of the year”…
Tom McClellan loves doing what financial advisers tell you not to do. He tries to time the financial markets — to the exact day, if his charts align just right.
At the moment, they are telling him to be bullish on the stock market for all of his trading time frames, including those that trade every few days, weeks and months. But bulls should be ready to flee, as soon as this week.
That’s because McClellan said his timing models suggest “THE” top in stocks will be hit some time between Aug. 20 and Aug. 26. He expects “nothing good for the bulls for the rest of the year,” he said in a phone interview with MarketWatch.
McClellan doesn’t have a strong view on how far stocks could fall, just that it will probably be an “ugly decline” lasting into early 2016.
-Harry Dent recently stated that we are just “weeks away” from a “global financial collapse“.
-Gerald Celente says that “the global economy has collapsed” and he is “predicting that we are going to see a global stock market crash before the end of the year“.
-Larry Edelson insists that he is “100% confident” that a global financial crisis will be triggered “within the next few months”…
“On October 7, 2015, the first economic supercycle since 1929 will trigger a global financial crisis of epic proportions. It will bring Europe, Japan and the United States to their knees, sending nearly one billion human beings on a roller-coaster ride through hell for the next five years. A ride like no generation has ever seen. I am 100% confident it will hit within the next few months.”
-Jeff Berwick, the editor of the Dollar Vigilante, says that there is “enough going on in September to have me incredibly curious and concerned about what’s going to happen“.
-Egon von Greyerz recently explained that he fears “that this coming September – October all hell will break loose in the world economy and markets“.
-Even the mainstream media is issuing ominous warnings now. Just a few days ago, one of the most important newspapers in the entire world published a major story about the coming crisis under this headline: “Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control“.
-The Bank for International Settlements and the IMF have jumped on the prediction bandwagon as well. The following comes from a recent piece by Brandon Smith…
The BIS warns that the world is currently defenseless against the next market crisis. I would point out that the BIS has a record of predicting economic crashes, including back in 2007 just before the derivatives and credit crisis began. This ability to foresee fiscal disasters is far more likely due to the fact that the BIS is the dominant force in global central banking and is the cause of crisis, rather than merely a predictor of crisis. That is to say, it is easy to predict disasters you yourself are about to initiate.
It is no mistake that the warnings from the BIS and the IMF tend to come too little too late, or that they are beginning to compose cautionary press releases today that sound much like what alternative analysts were saying a few years ago. The goal of these globalist organizations is not to help people prepare, only to set themselves up as Johnny-come-lately prognosticators so that after a collapse they can claim they warned us all, which can then be used as a rationalization for why they are the best people to administrate the economies of the planet as a whole.
So why are so many prominent voices now warning that a global financial crisis is imminent?
The answer is actually very simple.
A global financial crisis is imminent.
Back on June 25th, I issued a red alert for the last six months of 2015 before any of these other guys issued their warnings.
When I first issued my alert, things were still seemingly very calm in the financial world, and a lot of people out there thought that I was nuts.
Well, here we are just a couple of months later and all hell is breaking loose. 23 global stock markets are crashing, the price of oil has been imploding, a new currency war has erupted, industrial commodities are plunging just like they did prior to the market crash of 2008, a full-blown financial crisis has gripped South America with fear, and junk bonds are sending some very ominous signals.
In the U.S., things are beginning to slowly unravel. The Dow was down another 162 points on Wednesday, and overall we are now down almost 1000 points from the peak of the market. At this point, it isn’t going to take much to push us into a bear market.
So enjoy what is left of August.
September is right around the corner, and if the experts that I mentioned above are correct, then it is likely to be one wild month.
You can stop waiting for a global financial crisis to happen. The truth is that one is happening right now. All over the world, stock markets are already crashing. Most of these stock market crashes are occurring in nations that are known as “emerging markets”. In recent years, developing countries in Asia, South America and Africa loaded up on lots of cheap loans that were denominated in U.S. dollars. But now that the U.S. dollar has been surging, those borrowers are finding that it takes much more of their own local currencies to service those loans. At the same time, prices are crashing for many of the commodities that those countries export. The exact same kind of double whammy caused the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s and the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s.
As you read this article, almost every single stock market in the world is down significantly from a record high that was set either earlier this year or late in 2014. But even though stocks have been sliding in the western world, they haven’t completely collapsed just yet.
In much of the developing world, it is a very different story. Emerging market currencies are crashing hard, recessions are starting, and equity prices are getting absolutely hammered.
Posted below is a list that I put together of 23 nations around the world where stock market crashes are already happening. To see the stock market chart for each country, just click the link…
6. South Korea
Of course this is just the beginning. The western world is going to feel this kind of pain as well very soon. I want to share with you an excerpt from an article that just appeared in the Telegraph entitled “Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control“. You see, the Telegraph is not just one of the most important newspapers in the UK – it is truly one of the most important newspapers in the entire world. When it speaks on financial matters, millions of people listen very carefully. So for the Telegraph to declare that the countdown to a “global market crash” is “one minute to midnight” is a very, very big deal…
When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.
Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.
I encourage you to read the rest of that excellent article right here. It contains lots of charts and graphs, and it discusses many of the exact same things that I have been hammering on for months.
When one of the newspapers of record for the entire planet starts sounding exactly like The Economic Collapse Blog, then you know that it is late in the game.
Others are sounding the alarm about an imminent global financial crash as well. For example, just consider what Egon von Greyerz recently told King World News…
Eric, I fear that this coming September – October all hell will break loose in the world economy and markets. A lot of factors point to that, both fundamental and technical indicators and this indicates that we could have a number of shocks this autumn.
Sadly, most investors will hold stocks, bonds and property and will see any decline in value as an opportunity. It will be a long time and a very big fall before they realize that the system will not help them this time because the central bankers have run out of ammunition to save the global financial system one more time. Yes, we will see more massive money printing, but it will just make things worse. And at some stage, which could be quite soon, real fear will set in, a fear of a magnitude the world has not experienced before.
Hmm – there is another example of someone talking about September. It is funny how often that month keeps coming up.
And of course most of the major stock market crashes in U.S. history have been in the fall. Just go back and take a look at what happened in 1929, 1987, 2001 and 2008.
The “smart money” has been pulling their money out of stocks for quite a while now, and at this point a lot of others have hopped on the bandwagon. The following comes from CNBC…
The flight of investor money from U.S. stocks has turned into a stampede.
In fact, the $78.7 billion leaving domestic equity-focused funds has been worse in 2015 than it was even during the financial crisis years, when the S&P 500 tumbled some 60 percent, according to data released Friday by Morningstar. The total is the highest since 1993.
Domestic equity funds surrendered $20.4 billion in July alone and have seen $158.6 billion in redemptions over the past 12 months. Even a strong flow of money into passively managed exchange-traded funds has been unable to offset the stream to the exit among retail investors, who generally focus more on mutual funds than ETFs.
A global financial crisis has already begun.
So those that were claiming that one would not happen in 2015 are already wrong.
Over the coming months we will find out how bad it will ultimately be.
Sometimes I get criticized for talking about these things. There are a few people out there that don’t like all of the “doom and gloom” that I discuss on my website. Apparently it is a bad thing to talk about the things that really matter and we should all just be “keeping up with the Kardashians” instead.
I consider myself just to be another watchman on the wall. From our spots on the wall, watchmen such as myself all over the nation are sounding the alarm about what we clearly see coming.
If we saw what was coming and we did not warn the people, their blood would be on our hands. But if we do warn the people, then we have done our duty.
Every day I just do the best that I can with what I have been given. And there are many others just like me that are doing exactly the same thing.
Those that do not like the warning message are going to feel really stupid when things start falling apart all around them and they finally realize how wrong they truly were.
Once upon a time, it was popular to say that the U.S. government only had enough wheat stored up to provide everyone in America with half a loaf of bread. But that is not true anymore. Recently, I discovered that the U.S. does not have any strategic grain reserves left at all. Zero. Nada. Zilch. As you will see below, the USDA liquidated the remaining reserves back in 2008. So if a major food crisis hit this country, our government would have nothing to give us. Of course the federal government could always go out and try to buy or seize food to feed the population during a major emergency, but that wouldn’t actually increase the total amount of food that was available. Instead, it would just give the government more power over who gets it.
The U.S. strategic grain reserve was initially created during the days of the Great Depression. Back then, the wisdom of storing up food for hard times was self-evident. Unfortunately, over time interest in this program faded, and at this point there is no strategic grain reserve in the United States at all. The following comes from the Los Angeles Times…
The modern concept of a strategic grain reserve was first proposed in the 1930s by Wall Street legend Benjamin Graham. Graham’s idea hinged on the clever management of buffer stocks of grain to tame our daily bread’s tendencies toward boom and bust. When grain prices rose above a threshold, supplies could be increased by bringing reserves to the market — which, in turn, would dampen prices. And when the price of grain went into free-fall and farmers edged toward bankruptcy, the need to fill the depleted reserve would increase the demand for corn and wheat, which would prop up the price of grain.
Following Graham’s theory, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a grain reserve that helped rally the price of wheat and saved American farms during the Depression. In the inflationary 1970s, the USDA revamped FDR’s program into the Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve, which encouraged farmers to store grain in government facilities by offering low-cost and even no-interest loans and reimbursement to cover the storage costs. But over the next quarter of a century the dogma of deregulated global markets came to dominate American politics, and the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act abolished our national system of holding grain in reserve.
As for all that wheat held in storage, it became part of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a food bank and global charity under the authority of the secretary of Agriculture. The stores were gradually depleted until 2008, when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent. And so the grain that once stabilized prices for farmers, bakers and American consumers ended up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture.
Of course if there are no major national emergencies of any kind and life just continues on normally for decades to come, this will not be an issue.
But what if something does happen?
Right now, we are already witnessing all sorts of “mini food cataclysms”. For instance, bees just continue to die in unprecedented numbers all over the globe. During the most recent year, U.S. beekeepers lost approximately 40 percent of their colonies…
Widespread deaths among bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, were first reported about a decade ago, but the problem has not diminished and may have been especially bad recently.
Beekeepers across the United States lost roughly 40 percent of their colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to an annual survey conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership and Apiary Inspectors of America, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Another cataclysm is happening with bananas. In fact, it is being reported that the specific type of banana that we eat right now is in danger of being wiped off the face of the globe…
Bananas are in big trouble. While the beloved fruit remains as popular as ever, its crops across the world have been hit with an infectious fungus and the damage is irreparable.
The Cavendish species of banana, which was introduced in 1965, is currently the primary banana export in the world. And it’s being completely ruined by Tropical Race 4, a fungal disease that began in Malaysia in 1990 and has since spread to Southeast Asia, Australia, and finally Africa in 2013.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time a fungus has wiped out an entire species of the bright yellow fruit. By 1965, the Gros Michel species of banana—which lasted longer, were more resilient, and didn’t require artificial ripening—was eradicated after what was called the Panama disease, a different strain of a similar fungal disease wiped out the world’s commercial banana plantations.
In addition, the recent bird flu epidemic was responsible for the deaths of 48 million turkeys and chickens. This has driven egg prices through the roof…
U.S. egg prices continued their upward climb following the most devastating outbreak of bird flu in decades, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report this week.
Prices of large Grade A eggs delivered to store doors in the Midwest Regional area hit a range of $2.73 to $2.81 per dozen, the report showed.
Indianapolis Business Journal notes this is the most expensive eggs have been, according to data that stretches back to 2000.
More than 48 million birds have been affected since avian flu first was spotted in the U.S. in December.
And of course there are many, many more examples of significant problems that are hitting our food supply. The following short list comes from one of my previous articles…
-More than 40 percent of our fresh produce comes from the state of California, but thanks to the worst multi-year drought in the history of the state much of the region is turning back into a desert.
-Also due to the persistent drought, the size of the U.S. cattle herd is now as small as it was during the 1950s, and the price of beef has doubled since the last recession.
-Over the past few years, something called “porcine epidemic diarrhea” has wiped out approximately 10 percent of the entire pig population in the United States.
-Just off the west coast of the United States, a wide variety of sea creatures are dying in unprecedented numbers. For example, the sardine population along the west coast has dropped by a staggering 91 percent just since 2007.
-Down in Florida, citrus greening disease is absolutely crushing the citrus industry. Crops just keep on getting smaller year after year.
Are you starting to see what I am talking about?
In many years, the world already eats more food than it produces. We don’t have much room for error, and there are some countries that are already experiencing a full-blown food crisis. The nation of Guatemala is one of them…
Nearly one million people in Guatemala are struggling to feed themselves as poor rainfall has led to drought and shrunken harvests, worsening hunger among the poor, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
Linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon, this year’s drought has hit subsistence farmers living in Central America’s “dry corridor” that runs through parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, hard.
“In Guatemala, 170,000 families, approximately 900,000 people, have no food reserves left. This is the third consecutive year they have been hit by drought,” Diego Recalde, head of FAO in Guatemala, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In recent articles, I have also mentioned the growing food crisis in Venezuela. Things have gotten so bad that soldiers dressed in riot gear are now policing supermarkets…
Soldiers with riot shields, tear gas canisters, and rifles patrol lines in Maracaibo, a major city in the northwest.
Scarcity is particularly acute here because smugglers — taking advantage of the leftist government’s policy of fixing prices on some goods — buy products to sell for profit in nearby Colombia.
“We have to maintain control otherwise there would be chaos,” said Lieutenant Carlos Barrera, 21, pushing back crowds at one supermarket.
As you read this, intense food shortages are also affecting Syria, the Soloman Islands, Yemen, Zimbabwe, and several nations in southern Africa.
Just because you may live in a “wealthy western nation” does not mean that this will not impact you someday as well.
In fact, a major study was just released that came to the conclusion that global “food shocks” are going to become much more common in the years ahead. The following comes from the Guardian…
The likelihood of such a shock, where production of the world’s four major commodity crops – maize, soybean, wheat and rice – falls by 5-7%, is currently once-in-a-century. But such an event will occur every 30 years or more by 2040, according to the study by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience.
Such a shortfall in production could leave people in developing countries in “an almost untenable position”, with the US and the UK “very much exposed” to the resulting instability and conflict, said co-author Rob Bailey, research director for energy, environment and resources at Chatham House.
Sadly, I believe that things are going to turn out to be far worse than even that report is projecting.
I am convinced that we are moving into a time when increasing volcanic activity, shifting weather patterns, geopolitical instability and severe economic problems are going to create critical shortages of food all over the planet.
So what will you and your family do when those times arrive? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…