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Black Friday: Shocking Brexit Vote Result Causes The 9th Largest Stock Market Crash In U.S. History

Brexit Vote - Public DomainHas the next Lehman Brothers moment arrived?  Late Thursday night we learned that the British people had voted to leave the European Union, and this could be the “trigger event” that unleashes great financial panic all over the planet.  Of course stocks have already been crashing all over the globe over the past year, but up until now we had not seen the kind of stark fear that the crash of 2008 created following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  The British people are certainly to be congratulated for choosing to leave the tyrannical EU, and if I could have voted I would have voted to “leave” as well.  But just as I warned 10 days ago, choosing to leave will “throw the entire continent into a state of economic and financial chaos”.  And “Black Friday” was just the beginning – the pain from this event is going to continue to be felt for months to come.

The shocking outcome of the Brexit vote caught financial markets completely off guard, and the carnage that we witnessed on Friday was absolutely staggering…

-The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 610 points, and this represented the 9th largest one day stock market crash in the history of the Dow.

-The Nasdaq was hit even harder than the Dow.  It declined 4.12 percent which was the biggest one day decline since 2011.

-Overall, Black Friday erased approximately 800 billion dollars of stock market wealth in the United States.

-Thursday was the worst day ever for the British pound, and investors were stunned to see it collapse to a 31 year low.

-Friday was the worst day ever for European banking stocks.

-Friday was the worst day for Italian stocks since 1997.

-Friday was the worst day for Spanish stocks since 1987.

-Japan experienced tremendous chaos as well.  The Nikkei fell an astounding 1286 points, and this was the biggest drop that we have seen in more than 16 years.

-Banking stocks all over the planet got absolutely pummeled on Black Friday.  The following comes from USA Today

Stocks of some British-based banks suffered double-digit losses in heavy U.S. trading. Barclays (BCS) shares plunged 20.48% to close at $8.89. HSBC (HSBC) shares closed down 9.04% at $30.68. And shares of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) plummeted 27.5% to a $5.43 close.

Top U.S. banks also suffered from the Brexit fallout, although not as badly as their British counterparts.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) closed down 6.95% at $59.60. Bank of America (BAC) shares fell 7.41% to a $13 close. Citigroup (C) shares dropped 9.36% to close at $40.30. And Wells Fargo (WFC) closed 4.59% lower at $45.71.

-Friday was the best day for gold since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

-George Soros made a killing on Black Friday because he had already positioned his company to greatly benefit from the Brexit vote ahead of time.

But please don’t think that “Black Friday” was just a one day thing.  As I warned before, the Brexit vote “could be the trigger that changes everything“.  And if you don’t believe me on this, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.  This is what he told CNBC on Friday…

This is the worst period, I recall since I’ve been in public service,” Greenspan said on “Squawk on the Street.”

“There’s nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away.”

I completely agree with Greenspan on this point.  This “corrosive effect” on global markets is not going to go away any time soon.  Sure there will be days when the markets are green just like there were after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but overall the trend will be down.

Now that the United Kingdom has decided to leave the EU, financial markets have been gripped by fear and uncertainty, and there is a great deal of concern that this Brexit “could harm the economies of everyone involved”

Important British trading partners — including India and China — indicated they were worried that an exit would create regulatory and political volatility that could harm the economies of everyone involved.

The U.K.’s Treasury itself reported that its analysis showed the nation “would be permanently poorer” if it left the EU and adopted any of a number of likely alternatives. “Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU,” a summary of the report said.

This threat even extends to the United States.  CNN just published an article that lists four ways the U.S. could be significantly affected by all of this…

1. Fears that the EU may be falling apart
2. Volatile markets slow down the engine of U.S. growth
3. Brexit triggers a strong dollar, which hurts U.S. trade
4. Brexit forces the Fed to rewrite its rate hike playbook

Fortunately we are now heading into the weekend, and that might have a calming effect on the markets.

Or it might just cause financial tension to build up to an extremely high level which will subsequently be released on Monday morning.

We shall see.

RCB’s Charlie McElligott is warning that Black Friday was just the beginning and that “today is the appetizer for Monday”.

And UBS derivatives strategist Rebecca Cheong says that we could see more than a hundred billion dollars of selling over the next two to three trading days

Strategies designed to mitigate risk will actually add to downward pressure in the S&P 500 over the next week as computerized selling ramps up to keep pace with falling prices. It reminds Cheong of the rapid stock selling that roiled markets in August, when the S&P 500 fell 11 percent to a 10-month low while facing similar behavior from algorithmic traders.

“The bigger the down move today, the more they have to sell, which would basically create a vicious cycle,” Cheong, head of Americas equity derivatives strategy at UBS, said in a phone interview. “We’ll see front-loaded selling in the range of $100 billion to $150 billion over the next two to three days. It could be very similar to August in terms of model-based selling.”

Personally, I am hoping for calm when the markets open on Monday.  But without a doubt, something has now shifted as a result of this Brexit vote, and things have suddenly become a whole lot more serious.

So what do you believe we will see happen next week?

Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

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

The Stock Market Crash Of 2016: Stocks Have Already Crashed In 6 Of The World’s 8 Largest Economies

Network Earth Continents - Public DomainOver the past 12 months, stock market investors around the planet have lost trillions of dollars.  Since this time last June, stocks have crashed in 6 of the world’s 8 largest economies, and stocks in the other two are down as well.  The charts that you are about to see are absolutely stunning, and they are clear evidence that a new global financial crisis has already begun.  Of course it is true that we are still in the early chapters of this new crisis and that there is much, much more damage to be done, but let us not minimize the carnage that we have already witnessed.

In general, there have been three major waves of financial panic over the past 12 months.  Late last August we saw the biggest financial shaking since the financial crisis of 2008, then in January and February there was an even bigger shaking, and now a third “wave” has begun in June.  Not all areas around the globe have been affected equally by each wave, but without a doubt this new financial crisis is a global phenomenon.

The charts that I am about to show you come from Trading Economics.  It is an absolutely indispensable website that is packed full of useful data, and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Let’s talk about China first.  The Chinese economy is the second largest on the entire planet, and since this time last year Chinese stocks are down an astounding 40 percent

Chinese Stocks

As things have started to unravel in China, the Chinese have been selling off U.S. debt and U.S. stocks like crazy.  The following comes from Bloomberg

For the past year, Chinese selling of Treasuries has vexed investors and served as a gauge of the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

The People’s Bank of China, owner of the world’s biggest foreign-exchange reserves, burnt through 20 percent of its war chest since 2014, dumping about $250 billion of U.S. government debt and using the funds to support the yuan and stem capital outflows.

While China’s sales of Treasuries have slowed, its holdings of U.S. equities are now showing steep declines.

Unfortunately for China, their economy just continues to slow down, and George Soros is so alarmed by this and a potential “Brexit” that he has been selling off stocks and buying enormous amounts of gold in anticipation of an even bigger global downturn.

Japan has the third largest economy in the world, and over the past year Japanese stocks are down a total of 26 percent from the peak…

Japan Stocks

Personally, I have been extremely alarmed by what has been happening in Japan lately.  Japanese stocks were down almost 500 points last night, and overall the Nikkei is down a whopping 1,800 points so far in June.

Of course the Japanese economy as a whole is essentially a basket case at this point.  For a detailed analysis of this, please see my previous article entitled “Watch Japan – For All Is Not Well In The Land Of The Rising Sun“.

Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world, and over the past year their stocks have fallen 19 percent from the peak of the market…

German Stocks

The key thing to watch for in Germany are serious troubles at their biggest bank.  I wrote a long article about the slow-motion implosion of Deutsche Bank last month, and just this week Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low.

The fifth largest economy on the planet belongs to the United Kingdom, and since last June their stocks have fallen about 13 percent

British Stocks

One week from today, the “Brexit” vote will be held in the UK, and if they vote to leave the EU that could have very serious economic and financial implications for them and for the rest of Europe as well.  For an in-depth look at this, please see my previous article entitled “June 23, 2016: The Brexit Vote Could Change EVERYTHING And Plunge Europe Into Financial Chaos“.

France has the sixth largest economy in the world, and over the past year French stocks are down 20 percent from the peak of the market…

French Stocks

The French economy is really struggling these days, and we have not heard much about it in the U.S. media, but there have been tremendous riots in major cities in France in recent weeks.

The seventh largest economy on our planet belongs to India.  Even though India is facing some very serious economic problems, their stocks are doing okay for the moment.  Even though stocks in India are down over the past 12 months, we have not seen a major financial crisis over there just yet.

But there is definitely a major crisis in the eighth largest economy in the world.  Italian stocks are down a staggering 32 percent from the peak of the market.  That means approximately a third of all stock market wealth in Italy is already gone…

Italian Stocks

Earlier this year, I wrote about the horrifying collapse of the Italian banking system that has greatly accelerated since the start of 2016.  It looks like virtually all of their big banks will ultimately need to be bailed out, and this threatens to become a far bigger crisis than the crisis in Greece ever was.

And let us not leave off the ninth largest economy in the world.  Not too long ago, CNN ran an article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared“.  So not only are they admitting that the ninth largest economy on the globe is collapsing, they are also admitting that it is even worse than what the experts had anticipated.

So did I leave anyone off the list?

Ah yes, I haven’t even addressed what has been going on in the United States yet.

U.S. stocks did crash last August, but then they recovered.

Then they crashed again in January, but then they recovered again.

Now U.S. stocks have been taking another tumble here in June, but we are being assured that there is nothing to worry about.

Meanwhile, the underlying numbers for the U.S. economy just continue to get worse and worse and worse.  If you have any doubt about this, please see the article that I posted yesterday entitled “15 Facts About The Imploding U.S. Economy That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To See“.

Hopefully this article will clear a lot of things up.  In this piece, I have presented undeniable evidence that a new global financial crisis has begun over the past 12 months.  We have not seen global stock declines of this nature since the great financial crisis of 2008, but much worse is still to come.

I would love to be wrong about that last part.

It would be wonderful if the worst was now behind us and good times for the global financial system were ahead.

Unfortunately, every single indicator that I am watching is telling me just the opposite.

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

June 23, 2016: The Brexit Vote Could Change EVERYTHING And Plunge Europe Into Financial Chaos

Brexit - Public DomainOn June 23rd, a vote will be held in the United Kingdom to determine if Britain will stay in the European Union or not.  This is most commonly known as the “Brexit” vote, and that term was created by combining the words “Britain” and “exit”.  If the UK votes to stay in the European Union, things over in Europe will continue on pretty much as they have been.  But if the UK votes to leave, it will likely throw the entire continent into a state of economic and financial chaos.  And considering how bad the European economy is already, this could be the trigger that plunges Europe into a full-blown depression.

So if things will likely be much worse in the short-term if Britain leaves the EU, then it makes sense for everyone to vote to stay, right?

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.  Because this choice is not about short-term economics.  Rather, the choice is about long-term freedom.

The EU is a horribly anti-democratic bureaucratic monstrosity that is suffocating the life out of most of Europe a little bit more with each passing year.  So if I was British, I would most definitely be voting to leave the EU.

And in recent days, the campaign to leave has been rapidly picking up steam.  In fact, two of the latest major surveys show that “leave” has taken the lead

An ORB poll for the Telegraph showed 48 percent of Britons would vote to remain in the European Union, while 49 percent would vote to leave.

A YouGov poll for the Times of London showed 46 percent preferred to leave, while 39 percent wanted to remain.

Two other recent polls have “leave” ahead by 10 points, and there is another that actually has “leave” winning by 19 points.

The “leave” movement got a big boost just recently when the Sun officially endorsed that position.  The following is an excerpt from the editorial that announced this decision…

WE are about to make the biggest ­political decision of our lives. The Sun urges everyone to vote LEAVE.

We must set ourselves free from dictatorial Brussels.

Throughout our 43-year membership of the European Union it has proved increasingly greedy, wasteful, bullying and breathtakingly incompetent in a crisis.

Next Thursday, at the ballot box, we can correct this huge and ­historic mistake.

It is our last chance. Because, be in no doubt, our future looks far bleaker if we stay in.

I must say that I agree entirely with the Sun.  However, everyone needs to understand that a Brexit would be incredibly painful for the UK and for the rest of Europe in the short-term.  I think that Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph made this point very well in his recent column…

Let there be no illusion about the trauma of Brexit. Anybody who claims that Britain can lightly disengage after 43 years enmeshed in EU affairs is a charlatan or a dreamer, or has little contact with the realities of global finance and geopolitics.

So what could we potentially see happen?

Well, for one thing big banks like Morgan Stanley are warning that the euro and the British pound could take big hits

The pound and the euro will be hit on a Leave vote, but even if Britain decides to stay in the EU, there will be only “modest gains.” Morgan Stanley expects the pound “to weaken immediately on a vote to Leave, but by year-end we think Euro could weaken even more.”

Secondly, there is a very strong probability that financial markets all over Europe could horribly crash, and the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are already promising to provide artificial support for the markets if that happens.  The following comes from Reuters

The European Central Bank would publicly pledge to backstop financial markets in tandem with the Bank of England should Britain vote to leave the European Union, officials with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The preparations illustrate the heightened state of alert ahead of the June 23 referendum, which will help determine Britain’s future in trade and world affairs and also shape the EU. The pound and euro have lost value on fears a Brexit could tip the 28-member bloc into recession.

Such an announcement from the ECB would come on June 24 if an early-morning result showed that British voters had chosen to leave the EU, according to the sources.

But no matter what the consequences are, British voters should do what is right for their future and for the future of their children.

If that means leaving the EU, then so be it.

Needless to say, the prospect of “leave” winning has many among the European elite in full-blown panic mode.  For instance, just consider what the current chairman of the Bilderberg Group is saying

Just day after their mysterious annual meeting in Dresden, it appears The Bilderberg Group’s gravest concern is Brexit. While everything from The Middle East to Donald Trump was on the agenda, the remarks this week from AXA CEO (and Chairman of The Bilderberg Group) Henri de Castries that there is an “extremely high” probability that the U.K. will vote to leave the European Union and investors will face “a true landscape of uncertainties,” suggest the establishment is concerned.

If you are not familiar with the Bilderberg Group, please see my recent article on them.  Certainly the potential of a coming “Brexit” was high on the list of priorities during their recent conference, and it has been documented that the Bilderberg Group played a key role in the creation of the European Union in the first place.  So of course they are not exactly pleased that their grand experiment may now be unraveling right in front of their eyes.

Meanwhile, even without taking into account a potential “Brexit” things just continue to steadily get worse over in Europe.  On Tuesday, European stocks hit their lowest levels since the stock market crash that ended in February, and the stocks of both Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse hit all-time record lows

The truth is that those extremely prominent European banks are headed for a collapse even without a “Brexit”.  But if there is a “leave” vote, that will just accelerate the process.

And let us not forget that major stock indexes all over Europe are already in a bear market

Meanwhile, German stocks are in a bear-market, with the DAX down 23.2% from its April 2015 peak. The French CAC 40 is down 21.8%. The Spanish Ibex 35 and the Italian MIB are down 31.4% and 32.6% respectively.

Here in the United States, the smart money is dumping stocks like crazy right now, and major investors such as George Soros are feverishly buying gold.

So why are these things happening?

Do those “in the know” have some information regarding what is about to happen over in Europe?

For a long time, I have been sounding the alarm about Europe.  If the British people vote to stay in the European Union on June 23rd, the crisis in Europe will certainly continue to escalate, it will just be at a slower pace.  But if the British people vote to leave (which they should) that could be the trigger that changes everything.

I don’t know exactly what is going to happen on the 23rd, but without a doubt we should all be watching the outcome very, very closely…

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

May 2016: Will Deutsche Bank Survive This Wave Of Trouble Or Will It Be The Next Lehman Brothers?

Euro Question - Public DomainIf you have been waiting for “the next Lehman Brothers moment” which will cause the global financial system to descend into a state of mass panic, you might want to keep a close eye on German banking giant Deutsche Bank.  It is approximately three times larger than Lehman Brothers was, and if the most important bank in the strongest economy in Europe were to implode, it would instantly send shockwaves rippling across the entire planet.  Those that follow my work regularly know that I started sounding the alarm about Deutsche Bank beginning last September.  Since that time, the bad news from Deutsche Bank has not stopped pouring in.  They announced a loss of 6.8 billion euros for 2015, Moody’s just downgraded their debt to two levels above junk status, and they have been plagued by scandal after scandal.  In recent months they have gotten into trouble for trying to rig precious metal prices, for committing “equity trading fraud” and for their dealings in mortgage-backed securities.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

A month after admitting to rigging precious metals markets, Deutsche Bank has been hit with a double-whammy of more alleged fraudulent behavior today and the stock is sliding. First, Reuters reports that the bank took a charge of 450 million euros for “equity trading fraud,” and then Bloomberg reports that The SEC is looking into Deutsche’s post-crisis mortgage positions.

This is a bank that is steadily bleeding money, and so the last thing that it needs is for government agencies to be putting immense pressure on it.  Unfortunately for Deutsche Bank, the SEC seems determined to kick it while it is down

Troubled Wall Street giant Deutsche Bank is under another investigation, this time by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the pricing and reporting of certain mortgage-backed securities.

The SEC wants to know whether the Frankfurt, Germany-based bank artificially raised the value of mortgage-backed securities in 2013 and later hid those losses for an extended period of time, Bloomberg first reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

But even if there were no scandals and no government investigations, the truth is that Deutsche Bank would be a deeply troubled bank anyway.

At one point, it was estimated that Deutsche Bank had 64 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives contracts.  That is an amount of money that is approximately 16 times the size of the GDP of the entire nation of Germany.

So nobody wants to see Deutsche Bank fail.  It would be a financial disaster unlike anything the world has ever experienced before.

But right now things are not looking good.  As you can see from this chart, the steady decline of Deutsche Bank’s stock price is eerily similar to what happened to Lehman Brothers during the months leading up to the time when it finally completely collapsed…

Deutsche Bank Lehman Brothers - Zero Hedge

Earlier this year, Deutsche Bank’s stock price set a new record low, and since that time it has been hovering just above that record low.

Clearly it is no secret that Deutsche Bank is having big problems, and the outlook for the immediate future is not good.  I included the following quote from Berenberg analyst James Chappell in a previous article, but I think that it bears repeating…

Too many problems still: The biggest problem is that DBK has too much leverage. On our measures, we believe DBK is still over 40x levered. DBK can either reduce assets or increase capital to rectify this. On the first path, the markets do not exist in the size nor pricing to enable it to follow this route. Going down the second path also seems impossible at the moment, as the profitability of the core business is under pressure. Seeking outside capital is also likely to be difficult as management would likely find it hard to offer any type of return on new capital invested.

In the end, I believe that Deutsche Bank will ultimately implode, but it won’t be the only one.

Meanwhile, we just got some more very disturbing news out of Asia.  According to Bloomberg, Japanese exports have now fallen for seven months in a row…

Japan’s exports fell for a seventh consecutive month in April as the yen strengthened, underscoring the growing challenges to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive economic growth.

Overseas shipments declined 10.1 percent in April from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 9.9 percent drop. Imports fell 23.3 percent, leaving a trade surplus of 823.5 billion yen ($7.5 billion), the highest since March 2010.

When your imports are 23 percent lower than they were a year earlier, that is a clear sign that consumer demand is way, way down and that your economy is in the process of imploding.

So I will repeat what I have said a number of times before…

Watch Germany and watch Japan.

I believe that they are going to be two of the biggest stories as this new global financial crisis begins to play out.

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

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

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

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

But now the crisis in Brazil has escalated significantly.

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

It actually comes from CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Italy has the 8th.

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

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

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

The highlights from the announcement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He continued:

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

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

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

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

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

More Islamic Terror Coming: ISIS Has Sent 400 Trained Fighters Into Europe To Conduct Terror Attacks

Skull Smiling - Public DomainThe recent attacks in Paris and in Brussels were just the tip of the iceberg of a massive wave of Islamic terror that is soon coming to Europe.  As you will see below, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has specially trained “at least 400 attackers” and has already sent them into Europe with specific instructions to conduct terror operations.  So Barack Obama may not think that we have anything to be concerned about, but the facts on the ground tell us a completely different story.  Thanks to Europe’s openness to “war refugees” from Syria, it is very easy for radical jihadists to get into countries such as France, Belgium and Germany.  And once they are on European soil, there are plenty of other disgruntled Islamic refugees that they can recruit to their cause.  Europe stands on the precipice of the greatest terror crisis that it has ever known, and the attacks that are coming next are likely to be far more deadly than anything we have seen so far.

As I mentioned above, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has already sent “at least 400″ trained fighters into Europe for the purpose of conducting terror attacks…

Security officials have told The Associated Press that the Islamic State group has trained at least 400 attackers and sent them into Europe for terror attacks.

The network of interlocking, agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, describe camps designed specifically to train for attacks against the West.

And just in case you were tempted to think that this threat was not real, you may want to consider what happened in France on Thursday.

According to NBC News, police in Paris were able to foil a terror attack that was in “the advanced stages” of planning…

Raids in northwest Paris have foiled a terrorist attack, French officials said late Thursday.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve gave a press conference in Paris announcing there was an operation underway in Argenteuil, a commune in the northwest suburbs of Paris.

One man was arrested Thursday morning Cazeneuve said, adding that the operation thwarted a potential attack. Police were raiding his home again later Thursday evening.

The suspect was a French national who was in “the advanced stages” of a terror plot, the minister said, calling it a “major arrest.”

Of course much of the rest of the world is already solidly in the grip of Islamic terror.  The number of people killed by Islamic terror attacks has been increasing year after year, but the western media only seems to get excited when an attack happens in North America or Europe.

I came across the following tweet earlier today, and it makes this point perfectly…

For instance, did you even hear about the horrific Islamic terror attack that happened in the Ivory Coast earlier this month?  Gunmen opened fire on a very crowded beach in a key resort area on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the bloodshed.  The following comes from the New York Times

Gunmen opened fire on picnickers and swimmers enjoying a perfect day at three beach resort hotels near the Ivory Coast’s capital on Sunday, killing 16 people and leaving bodies strewn across the bloodstained sand. It was the third major attack in West Africa since November, and verified fears that the spread of terrorism across the region was far from over.

The attack, on the first sunny Sunday in weeks, took place in Grand-Bassam, a popular palm tree-lined getaway for Ivorians and foreigners. Fourteen civilians and two members of the country’s special forces were killed, as well as six gunmen, according to a spokeswoman for the president.

So why do we get so bent out of shape when there is an attack in France or Belgium, but not when there is an attack in the Ivory Coast?

And what does that say about us?

As ISIS and other Islamic terror groups conduct more attacks in North America and Europe, the pressure to conduct military action in the Middle East is going to become very intense.  For a long time I have been warning about the potential for World War III to erupt in Syria, and U.S. troops are already taking on a more prominent role in Iraq.

In fact, the International Business Times is reporting that U.S. marines are now “on the front line” in the fight against the Islamic State…

The Islamic State group is trying to retake control of the oil fields it lost two years ago in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan by launching rockets at Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers. In an attempt to earn back the massive amount of cash it used to fund its international terrorism in 2014, the group has focused its resources on attacking Makhmur, a city just 75 miles miles from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. So far, the group, also known as ISIS, has succeeded in outgunning the Iraqi forces in the city, but a new contingent of American Marines might change the outcome on the ground.

“Several weeks ago, thousands of Iraqi troops began occupying a tactical assembly area in Makhmur. This is part of the force generation associated with the liberation of Mosul,” Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a press briefing this week. Mosul is the de facto ISIS headquarters in Iraq. “These Iraqi forces, along with their coalition advisers, require force protection,” Warren said. “So we constructed a small fire base to do just that.”

The U.S. Marines in Iraq are on the front line and have been tasked with protecting Iraqi units in Makhmur — a scenario President Barack Obama wanted to avoid as long as possible during his time in office.

And what happens when ISIS or another terror group is able to set off a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon in a major western city?

That would change the world literally overnight.

As I have been warning, most people have no idea how incredibly fragile our society truly is.  Humanity has created weapons that are frighteningly powerful, and it is only a matter of time before terrorists acquire these weapons and begin using them.

The free and open society that we are all enjoying today is on borrowed time.

All it is going to take is the detonation of a single weapon of mass destruction in a major western city and everything will change.

7 Strange Questions About The Brussels Terror Attacks That The Mainstream Media Is Not Asking

Brussels Airport - video captureThe horrific terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016 are going to reverberate in our memories for years to come, and perhaps that was the intention.  Terror attacks are designed to create fear and to get attention, and these attacks have definitely done both.  On Tuesday morning, two huge explosions ripped through Zaventem Airport in Brussels as travelers were getting ready to board their morning flights.  You can view some raw footage of one of the bomb blasts right here.  Just a short while later, another huge explosion was reported at a metro station just yards away from the European Commission headquarters.  At this point, CNN says that at least 30 people have died and about 230 people are wounded as a result of these bombings.  But what was the real motive for these attacks?  The following are 7 strange questions about the Brussels terror attacks that the mainstream media is not asking…

#1 Why would Brussels be such a prime target for terror attacks? 

Most Americans don’t understand how important the city of Brussels is.  For one thing, it is the headquarters of the NATO alliance, and defense ministers from 49 different nations met there last month to discuss a potential ground invasion of Syria.

Secondly, it is also the unofficial capital of the European Union.  The following comes from Wikipedia

“The European Union has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament.”

Over the years Brussels has become a key symbol for European integration, so if you wanted to conduct an attack that the entire European Union would feel, Brussels would be a good choice.  And many European leaders are already coming out and declaring that the attack on Brussels was an attack on Europe as a whole

French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels that killed at least 26 people struck at “the whole of Europe”.

“Through the attacks in Brussels, the whole of Europe has been hit,” Hollande said in a statement, urging the continent to take “vital steps in the face of the seriousness of the threat”.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “We are at war. Over the past few months in Europe, we have endured several acts of war.”

#2 Was Donald Trump right about Brussels?

During an interview with Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo earlier this year, Donald Trump specifically pointed to Brussels as an example of what he wanted to avoid in this country…

The Republican presidential front-runner said Brussels, the capital of Belgium, had been particularly transformed. Belgium has been home to a number of recent terror plots, and was linked to the November attack on Paris, France, that left 130 people dead.

You go to Brussels — I was in Brussels a long time ago, 20 years ago, so beautiful, everything is so beautiful — it’s like living in a hellhole right now,” Trump continued. “You go to these different places. There is something going on.”

#3 Why are there some Islamic ghettos in Brussels that are considered to be “off-limits” for non-Muslims?

Of course this is not just true in Brussels.  All over Europe there are sections of major cities that have been completely and totally taken over by radical Muslims.  In Belgium, the rapid growth of the Islamic community has some politicians dreaming of turning that nation into a Sharia-compliant country within just a couple of decades.  The following comes from Infowars

These ghettos, which are in fact large areas of Brussels, are considered off-limits to Europeans and radical Muslims will likely comprise the majority of the population within 20 years.

“I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand the advantages to having Islamic people and Islamic laws, and then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state,” a Muslim politician from Brussels, Redouane Ahrouch, said to a reporter in 2012. “In Belgium, of course!”

“I am for the Sharia. Islamic law, I am for it. It is a long-term struggle that will take decades or a century, but the movement has been launched.”

#4 Does 3/22 have special occult significance?

There are some people out there that are suggesting that it was no accident that these attacks happened on 3/22.  And without a doubt, we have seen other events of this nature fall on dates that have special significance for the occult.  I do not know exactly what to make of all of this, but we do know that 322 is extremely significant to the Skull and Bones Society at Yale University (of which George W. Bush and John Kerry are members)…

Skull And Bones 322

#5 Why did Barack Obama spend less than a minute talking about the terror attacks in Brussels during his speech down in Cuba?

You would think that something this historic would deserve more than 51 seconds, but this is precisely the kind of behavior that we have come to expect from Obama over the years.

#6 Is it odd that the mainstream media so quickly reported that ISIS took full responsibility for these attacks?

It is entirely possible that ISIS was behind these attacks.  But it is also entirely possible that these attacks are being blamed on ISIS by other parties with ulterior motives.

What we do know is that a “bulletin” supposedly from the Islamic State was posted on Tuesday which took full responsibility for the bombings.  The following comes from WND

“Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the center of the Belgian capital, Brussels, a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State,” the bulletin said. “Islamic State fighters opened fire inside the Zaventem airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maelbeek metro station.”

#7 Will the terror attacks in Brussels be used to justify a ground invasion of Syria?

These attacks have produced a tremendous amount of outrage in the western world, and already many prominent voices are calling for a U.S.-led invasion of Syria in order to finally put a permanent end to ISIS.

In fact, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton started calling for a Syrian invasion within just hours of the attacks

A former adviser to Hillary Clinton on Syria, Frederic C. Hof, now a Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, has called for invading Syria in the wake of the deadly attacks in Brussels.

For the better part of a year, one clear recommendation has been on the table: assemble an American-led, coalition-of-the-willing, professional ground component—one top-heavy in regional and European forces—to enter eastern Syria to close with and kill ISIS. Engaging the Syrian opposition at all levels, consistent with an executable civil-military stabilization plan, can produce an administrative structure for an ISIS-free eastern Syria. Killing ISIS in Syria can ease the migration crisis and hasten the demise of this murderous band in Iraq. And it can demonstrate to the credulously stupid that linking up with losers will be a one-way trip to self-destruction,” Hof writes.

Last month, I received quite a bit of criticism for suggesting that we could be on the verge of World War 3.  But the truth is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey remain absolutely committed to the removal of the Assad regime, and now these Brussels terror attacks have conveniently shifted sentiment in Europe and in the United States in favor of a ground operation in Syria.

The current ceasefire in Syria is on the verge of completely falling apart, and if an American-led coalition does invade, that could very easily spark a major regional war.  The Russians, the Iranians and Hezbollah are not just going to sit back and watch as the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies march to Damascus and remove Assad.

I keep trying to warn people that 2016 is the year when everything changes, and I have a feeling that these terror attacks in Belgium are going to turn out to be exceedingly significant.

Our world is becoming more unstable with each passing day, and sometimes all it takes is a little shove to set us on a path that we never intended to go down.

I don’t have all the answers, but unlike the mainstream media, at least I am not afraid to ask the hard questions…

Helicopter Money: Global Central Banks Consider Distributing Money Directly To The People

Helicopters 2 - Public DomainShould central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens?  If you can believe it, this is now under serious consideration.  Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times, they have injected 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs, and we have seen an explosion of government debt unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.  But despite these unprecedented measures, the global economy is still deeply struggling.  This is particularly true in Japan, in South America, and in Europe.  In fact, there are 16 countries in Europe that are experiencing deflation right now.  In a desperate attempt to spur economic activity, central banks in Europe and in Japan are playing around with negative interest rates, and so far they seem to only have had a limited effect.

So as they rapidly run out of ammunition, global central bankers are now openly discussing something that might sound kind of crazy.  According to the Telegraph, central banks are becoming increasingly open to employing a tactic known as “helicopter money”…

Faced with political intransigence, central bankers are openly talking about the previously unthinkable: “helicopter money”.

A catch-all term, helicopter drops describe the process by which central banks can create money to transfer to the public or private sector to stimulate economic activity and spending.

Long considered one of the last policymaking taboos, debate around the merits of helicopter money has gained traction in recent weeks.

Do you understand what is being said there?

The idea is basically this – central banks would create money out of thin air and would just give it to national governments or ordinary citizens.

So who would decide who gets the money?

Well, they would.

If you are anything like me, this sounds very much like Pandora’s Box being opened.

But this just shows how much of a panic there is among central bankers right now.  They know that we are plunging into a new global economic crisis, and they are desperate to find something that will stop it.  And if that means printing giant gobs of money and dropping it from helicopters over the countryside, well then that is precisely what they are going to do.

In fact, the chief economist at the European Central Bank is quite adamant about the fact that the ECB can print money out of thin air and “distribute it to people” when the situation calls for it…

ECB chief Mario Draghi has refused to rule out the prospect, saying only that the bank had not yet “discussed” such matters due to their legal and accounting complexity. This week, his chief economist Peter Praet went further in hinting that helicopter drops were part of the ECB’s toolbox.

All central banks can do it“, said Praet. “You can issue currency and you distribute it to people. The question is, if and when is it opportune to make recourse to that sort of instrument“.

Apparently memories of the Weimar Republic must have faded over in Europe, because this sounds very much like what they tried to do.  I don’t know why anyone would ever want to risk going down that road again.

Here in the United States, the Federal Reserve is not openly talking about “helicopter money” just yet, but that is only because the stock market is doing okay for the moment.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but the primary reason why stocks are doing better in the U.S. than in the rest of the world is because of stock buybacks.  According to Wolf Richter, corporations spent more than half a trillion dollars buying back their own stocks over the past 12 months…

During the November-January period, 378 of the S&P 500 companies bought back their own shares, according to FactSet. Total buybacks in the quarter rose 5.2% from a year ago, to $136.6 billion. Over the trailing 12 months (TTM), buybacks totaled $568.9 billion.

When corporations buy back their own stocks, that means that they are slowly liquidating themselves.  Instead of pouring money into new good ideas, they are just returning money to investors.  This is not how a healthy economy should work.

But corporate executives love stock buybacks, because it increases the value of their stock options.  And big investors love them too, because they love to see the value of their stock holdings rise.

So we will continue to see big corporations cannibalize themselves, but there are a couple of reasons why this is starting to slow down.

Number one, corporate profits are starting to fall steadily as the economy slows down, so there will be less income to plow into these stock buybacks.

Number two, many corporations have used debt to fund buybacks, but now it is getting tougher for corporations to get new funding as corporate defaults rise.

As stock buybacks slow, this is going to put downward pressure on the market, and we will eventually catch up with the rest of the planet.  At this point, many experts are still calling for stocks to fall by another 40, 50 or 60 percent from current levels.  For example, the following comes from John Hussman

From a long-term investment standpoint, the stock market remains obscenely overvalued, with the most historically-reliable measures we identify presently consistent with zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns, and negative expected real returns on both horizons.

From a cyclical standpoint, I continue to expect that the completion of the current market cycle will likely take the S&P 500 down by about 40-55% from present levels; an outcome that would not be an outlier or worst-case scenario, but instead a rather run-of-the-mill cycle completion from present valuations. If you are a historically-informed investor who is optimistic enough to reject the idea that the financial markets are forever doomed to extreme valuations and dismal long-term returns, you should be rooting for this cycle to be completed. If you are a passive investor, you should at least align your current exposure with your investment horizon and your tolerance for cyclical risk, which we expect to be similar to what we anticipated in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009.

When the S&P 500 does fall that much eventually, the Federal Reserve will respond with emergency measures.

So yes, we may see “helicopter money” employed in Japan and in Europe first, but we will see it here someday too.

I know that a lot of people out there are feeling pretty good about things for the moment because U.S. stocks have rebounded quite a bit lately.  But remember, the fundamental economic numbers just continue to get even worse.  Just today we learned that existing home sales in the United States had fallen by the most in six years.  That is definitely not a sign that things are “getting better”, and I keep trying to warn people that tumultuous times are dead ahead.

And if global central bankers did not agree with me, they would not be talking about the need for “helicopter money” and other emergency measures.

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