U.S. Steel Plants Are Going Idle, But The Fed Continues To Perpetuate The Myth That Everything Is Just Fine

Even though there is a tremendous amount of evidence to the contrary, the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the nation that “the economy has performed relatively well” in 2019 and he insisted that “the baseline outlook is a good one.”  Of course he didn’t say anything about our collapsing manufacturing numbers, the worst global trade numbers since the last recession or the “bloodbath” in the U.S. trucking industry.  Powell did concede that “the risk of less favorable outcomes has risen”, but other than vague statements like that he really didn’t acknowledge our growing economic problems at all.  Considering the fact that Powell has more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else in the entire country, this should deeply concern all of us.  To me, Powell’s performance on Wednesday was quite reminiscent of the moment in 2008 when Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told us that the Federal Reserve was not “currently forecasting a recession” after a recession had already begun.

As I have been documenting for weeks, evidence that another major economic downturn has already started can be clearly seen all around us.

For example, we got some very alarming news from the steel industry on Wednesday.  When the Trump administration slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last year, that was supposed to greatly help the U.S. steel industry.  But instead, a dramatic drop in demand due to this new economic downturn is forcing steel companies to take dramatic measures.  According to CNN, U.S. Steel just announced that it will be shutting down a blast furnace in Gary, Indiana and another one that is located just outside of Detroit…

Pain has returned to the US steel industry despite the tariffs put on imported steel last year that were designed to help.

Late Tuesday US Steel announced it will idle two of the blast furnaces where it makes steel, one in its flagship mill in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, the other in Ecorse, Michigan, near Detroit. The idled furnaces will cut production by about 200,000 tons of steel or more a month, the company said.

“We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve,” said the company.

But when will market conditions improve?

In 2020?

After this new economic downturn is over?

Never?

Of course U.S. Steel is not the only steel producer that is hurting right now.  In fact, Nucor and Steel Dynamics have both cut profit forecasts

US Steel’s action follows similar warnings Monday from Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker, and Steel Dynamics. Both are now forecasting lower profits. Nucor pointed to weaker demand from the US auto industry.

Sadly, the truth is that major industry after major industry is deeply suffering at this moment…

-Our ongoing “retail apocalypse” is absolutely brutalizing the retail industry, and we are on pace to have the worst year for store closings in our entire history.

-Auto industry sales have been absolutely abysmal, and auto loan delinquencies have shot up to alarmingly high levels.

-The agriculture industry is going to have the worst year it has seen in at least several decades.

-Our 800 billion dollar trucking industry is already in the midst of a “bloodbath”.

-The real estate industry is poised for the worst downturn that we have seen since the subprime mortgage meltdown during the last financial crisis.

-The manufacturing industry has not seen numbers this bad since the last recession, and things are rapidly getting worse.

But yeah, let’s tell the American people that the economy is “booming” and see if they will buy it.

Really?

Let’s get real.  The U.S. economy is mired in the worst slump in a decade, and economic conditions continue to deteriorate rapidly.  The Federal Reserve could have given us a short-term boost by cutting interest rates on Wednesday, but they decided not to do that

A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.

The central bank predicts one or two rate cuts in its set of economic predictions, but not until 2020. Despite cautious wording in the post-meeting statement Wednesday, markets are still betting the Fed cuts, as soon as July.

Perhaps they want to save their very limited ammunition for when the recession officially starts, and I can understand that.

But this latest move by the Fed is definitely not going to please President Trump, and it will likely prompt more speculation that Trump would like to demote Powell

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

Trump needs the U.S. economy to be as strong as possible as he heads into an election year.

The stronger the U.S. economy is, the more likely it is that he will be re-elected.

And actually the Federal Reserve may be doing Trump a favor by trying to perpetuate the myth that everything is just fine.  Because if the Fed had cut rates on Wednesday, it would have essentially been an admission that a new recession is on our doorstep.  As John P. Hussman has aptly pointed out, almost every initial rate cut in history “has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession”…

With the exception of 1967 and 1996, every initial Fed rate cut has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession. Be careful what you wish for.

So for now, the Fed seems to have adopted a “fake it until you make it” approach, and sometimes that can work.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is going to work this time.  And meanwhile millions upon millions of Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they are not getting prepared for the exceedingly hard times that are coming.

One of my readers recently left a comment in which he stated that what we are facing “is not a drill”, and I believe that he is quite correct.

We haven’t seen economic conditions anything like this since the last recession, and the outlook is getting worse with each passing day.

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

The Chair Of The Federal Reserve Just Used The Term “Slowdown” To Describe What Is Happening To The U.S. Economy

Now even the Federal Reserve is publicly admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down.  And that is quite remarkable, because usually the Federal Reserve is extremely hesitant to say that an economic slowdown is taking place.  As I pointed out the other day, in 2008 former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke kept insisting that a recession was not coming, but we found out later that a recession had already begun when he was making those statements.  Normally the Federal Reserve tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of our economic future, and one of the big reasons for that is because they want us to believe that they are doing a good job and that they have everything under control.  So it was quite stunning to hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell use the term “slowdown” to describe what is coming for the U.S. economy on Wednesday…

Citing a more modest outlook for the economy, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates steady and signaled it did not plan to raise rates at all this year and would bump them up just once in 2020, providing a road map for a sustained period of easy-money policy.

“The U.S. economy is in a good place,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference, adding policymakers foresee “a modest slowdown, with overall conditions remaining favorable. We see no need to rush to judgment (by lifting or cutting rates).”

Admittedly, he did only say that it would be a “modest slowdown”, and so to most people that won’t sound that bad.

But this is the very first time that Powell has talked like this, and the truth is that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is currently forecasting that U.S. growth in the first quarter will be less than half a percent.  Fed officials are hoping that growth will be better in the second quarter, but there is also a very strong possibility that the economy will continue to decelerate.

Because the economy is entering a “slowdown”, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate any more interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Normally Wall Street would experience a huge surge of euphoria upon hearing such news, but stocks were actually down on Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down.

Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to end the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.

This certainly could not have been the reaction that the Federal Reserve was hoping for.

Could it be possible that bad news for the U.S. economy is no longer good news for Wall Street?

Without a doubt, we are witnessing a huge wave of pessimism in the business community right now.  Yesterday, I noted that Federal Express is talking as if a global recession had already started, and other corporate leaders are making similar statements.

For example, just consider what the CEO of banking giant UBS just said

The head of UBS was among the latest to blame the world’s backdrop for weaker-than-expected results. CEO Ermotti told a conference in London on Wednesday that it “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” Reuters reported. The Swiss bank slashed another $300 million from 2019 costs after revenue at its investment bank plunged. Investment banking conditions are among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S., he said.

And the CFO of BMW told investors on Wednesday that BMW’s earnings may be exposed to “additional risks” from the global economy in the months ahead…

“Depending on how conditions develop, our guidance may be subject to additional risks; in particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and ongoing developments in international trade policy,” CFO Nicolas Peter said in BMW’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday.

Last, but certainly not least, the co-CEO of Samsung just said that his company is anticipating “slowing growth in major economies” for the remainder of 2019…

“We are expecting many difficulties this year such as slowing growth in major economies and risks over global trade conflicts,” Samsung Co-Chief Executive Kinam Kim said.

Here in the United States, whoever is in the White House at the time usually gets most of the credit or most of the blame for how the economy is performing.

But the truth is that President Trump did not create the financial bubble that caused the boom on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve did.

And President Trump is not going to be responsible when that bubble bursts either.

The Federal Reserve has far, far more control over the performance of the U.S. economy than either the president or Congress does.  And since the Federal Reserve was initially created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions and/or depressions, and now we are heading into the 19th one.

If we want to finally get off this economic roller coaster ride permanently, we need to abolish the Federal Reserve.  But this isn’t even part of the national political discussion at this point.

However, that could soon change.  In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, we witnessed a huge backlash against the Federal Reserve system.  Eventually that backlash subsided, but now that we are entering a new crisis, perhaps it is time to start dusting off all of those old “End the Fed” signs.

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

Global Debt Surpasses 244 Trillion Dollars As “Nearly Half The World Lives On Less Than $5.50 A Day”

The borrower is the servant of the lender, and one of the primary ways that the elite keep the rest of us subjugated is through the $244,000,000,000,000 mountain of global debt that has been accumulated.  Every single day, the benefits of our labor are going to enrich somebody else.  A portion of the taxes that are deducted from your paycheck is used to pay interest on government debt.  A portion of the profits that your company makes probably goes to servicing some form of business debt.  And most Americans are continuously making payments on their mortgages, their auto loans, their credit card balances and their student loan debts.  But most people never stop to think about who is becoming exceedingly wealthy on the other end of these transactions.  Needless to say, it isn’t the 46 percent of the global population that is living on less than $5.50 a day.

The world has never seen anything like this mountain of debt ever before, and one of the central themes of The Economic Collapse Blog is that all of this debt will ultimately destroy our society.  According to the Institute of International Finance, the total amount of global debt is now  “more than three times the size of the global economy”

The world’s debt pile is hovering near a record at $244 trillion, which is more than three times the size of the global economy, according to an analysis by the Institute of International Finance.

The global debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 318 percent in the third quarter of last year, despite a stronger pace of economic growth, according to a report by the Washington-based IIF released on Tuesday.

But it isn’t as if all of this spending has lifted billions of people out of poverty.  In fact, 46 percent of the population of the world is “living on less than $5.50 a day” according to the World Bank

Over 1.9 billion people, or 26.2 percent of the world’s population, were living on less than $3.20 per day in 2015. Close to 46 percent of the world’s population was living on less than $5.50 a day.

Global inequality continues to grow worse with each passing year, and that is because the global financial system is literally designed to funnel as much wealth to the very top of the pyramid as possible.

Of course things could be very different.  We don’t actually need to have a debt-based system which systematically makes the rich even richer.

One of the big secrets that nobody is supposed to talk about is the fact that governments don’t actually have to borrow money.  For example, the U.S. government could start issuing debt-free “United States notes” tomorrow, and this actually happened for a very brief period of time under President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s just before he was assassinated.  It is highly immoral for us to be borrowing trillions of dollars that we expect future generations to repay, and that is why I have been a huge proponent of shutting down the debt-based Federal Reserve system and ending the debt-based currency known as “Federal Reserve notes”.

But these days, only a small minority of the population seems to care.  We are literally debt slaves, and most Americans have seemingly embraced their enslavement.  I really like what Devvy Kidd had to say about this in her latest article

The average American is a debt slave already at birth. And by the time he dies, his debt will have increased exponentially, thus passing on an even bigger debt and greater enslavement to the next generation.

This is a vicious circle that has gone on for just over 100 years. A very small elite has become incredibly wealthy and the masses have become enslaved by private and government debt.

For the majority of people, it will be impossible to extricate themselves from this massive debt stone around their neck. Instead they will add to the debt by taking on more debt.

Wake up!

At least the “yellow vests” in France are willing to take a stand against the systematic tyranny that is raging all around them.  In America today, most people don’t really care about much of anything unless it somehow intrudes on the bubble of mindless entertainment that most Americans have constantly surrounded themselves with.

And guess who produces all of that mindless entertainment?

It is produced by giant media corporations that are owned by the same global elitists that control our giant mountain of debt.

The system of our enslavement is far more sophisticated than it was in previous eras of human history, but it is still deeply insidious.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention today.  On many previous occasions, I have discussed how the elite have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino on the entire planet, and it is true that some people have made a lot of money in that casino.

But so many others have been deeply burned and have lost everything.  Here is just one example

I had quit day-trading back in November but was still using a swing trading system that damn near never lost (really), until I got completely run over last week. Literally every move I made was wrong, and I managed to completely wipe out my entire gambling account. I want to be clear, we’re not broke or anything near it (still get to claim millionaire status), but holy crap did I decimate my account something stupid.

So, I’m here to tell you that the scary stories you hear from elders who quit trading? They’re true. Trading is a losing game. It’s just gambling.

Most people who claim to be winners just ignore their losses and pretend everything is ok. To be sure, some people really can make a living at it, and good for them. But the odds are massively against you. The system is designed to take your money while you’re stressed, guessing, nervous, angry, depressed, or most of all – desperate.

The game is literally rigged against us, and we need to realize what we are up against.

Tinkering around with the current system is not going to fix anything.  We need to ditch this current system and start again from scratch, but it will probably take a horrific collapse before most people start to understand this.

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

Is The Federal Reserve Actually TRYING To Cause A Stock Market Crash?

The Federal Reserve has decided not to come to the rescue this time.  All of the economic numbers tell us that the economy is slowing down, and on Wednesday Fed Chair Jerome Powell even admitted that economic conditions are “softening”, but the Federal Reserve raised interest rates anyway.  As one top economist put it, raising rates as we head into an economic downturn is “economic malpractice”.  They know that higher rates will slow down the economy even more, but it isn’t as if the Fed was divided on this move.  In fact, it was a unanimous vote to raise rates.  They clearly have an agenda, and that agenda is definitely not about helping the American people.

Early on Wednesday, Wall Street seemed to believe that the Federal Reserve would do the right thing, and the Dow was up nearly 400 points.  But then the announcement came, and the market began sinking dramatically.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 720 points in just two hours, and the Dow ended the day down a total of 351 points.  This is the lowest that the Dow has been all year, 60 percent of the stocks listed on the S&P 500 are in bear market territory, and at this point approximately four trillion dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the last financial crisis.  This is officially the worst quarter for the stock market since the fourth quarter of 2008, and it is the worst December that Wall Street has experienced since 1931.

It is insanity to raise interest rates when stocks are already crashing, but the Federal Reserve did it anyway.

They knew what kind of reaction this would cause on Wall Street and in other global markets, but that didn’t stop them.  The financial world is in utter turmoil, and this move by the Fed has definitely added fuel to the fire.

Could it be possible that they actually want a stock market crash?

Some are suggesting that the reason why the vote was unanimous was because they wanted to send a “strong signal” to President Trump.  He has been extremely critical of the Federal Reserve in recent weeks, and this could be a way for the Fed to show Trump who is really in charge.

They are calling this “the Trump economy”, but that is simply not true.  And when Barack Obama was in the White House, it wasn’t “the Obama economy” either.  Ultimately, it is the Federal Reserve that is running the economy, and they fiercely guard their independence and their authority.

President Trump knows that the only way that he is going to win in 2020 is if the economy is doing well, and he also understands that higher interest rates will slow the economy down.

So essentially the Federal Reserve has a tremendous amount of political power in their hands.

During the Obama era, the Fed pushed interest rates all the way to the floor and kept them there for many years.

But now the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times since Donald Trump took office, and four of those rate hikes have been under current Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Needless to say, it certainly doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out how Donald Trump is feeling about Powell at this moment.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more indications that the U.S. economy is heading for difficult times.  Just consider the following news about FedEx

FedEx shares are plunging after what Morgan Stanley called a “jarring” cut to its annual forecasts, suggesting global growth is slowing far more than most expect – in fact, the bank hinted at the possibility of a “severe recession” unfolding – and prompting expectations of an “uber-dovish hike” by the Fed.

The global logistics bellwether slashed its outlook just three months after raising the view, reflecting an unexpected and abrupt change in the company’s view of the global economy amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Not only were the cuts were deeper than the Street expected according to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker, but everyone is pointing to the following comment from the press release: “Global trade has slowed in recent months and leading indicators point to ongoing deceleration in global trade near-term.”

To see the term “severe recession” used in such a context is more than just a little bit alarming.

The last time the U.S. economy went through a recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and we saw a wave of mortgage defaults unlike anything we had ever seen before in modern American history.

Are we about to go through something similar?

Earlier today, a CNN article also used the term “recession”, and it discussed the fact that investors now want big corporations to focus on paying down their debts instead of buying back shares of stock…

Fears of an economic slowdown — or even recession — have turned a spotlight on the debt that businesses piled up during the past decade, when borrowing costs were historically low.

For the first time since the Great Recession, investors want companies to prioritize paying down debt rather than investing in the future or share buybacks and dividends, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey of global fund managers.

But stock buybacks are one of the only things that has been propping up the stock market.  The only way for the bubble to continue is for corporations to go into dizzying amounts of debt in order to fund massive stock buybacks, because the Federal Reserve clearly does not intend to support the markets right now.

At least for the short-term, the Federal Reserve could have calmed the markets and encouraged economic activity by leaving interest rates alone.

In the end, they decided not to do that, and that makes one wonder what they are really trying to achieve.

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

Top Economist: “If The Fed Raises Interest Rates Tomorrow They Should All Be Fired For Economic Malpractice”

The Federal Reserve is responsible for creating the stock market boom that we have witnessed in recent years.  Are they now also setting the stage for a stock market bust?  After hitting an all-time high earlier this year, the Dow has plunged more than 3,000 points from the peak of the market, and it would appear that it would be extremely irresponsible for the Fed to raise interest rates in such a chaotic environment.  In addition, evidence continues to mount that the U.S. economy is slowing down, and everyone knows that raising interest rates tends to depress economic activity.  So it would seem that it would not be logical for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at this time.  In fact, economist Stephen Moore told Fox Business that if the Fed raises interest rates “they should all be fired for economic malpractice”

“The Fed has been way too tight. They made a major blunder three months ago with raising the rates. It’s caused a deflation in commodity prices. And I will say this, David, if the Fed raises interest rates tomorrow they should all be fired for economic malpractice.”

If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and indicates that more rate hikes are coming in 2019, it is quite likely that the markets will throw another huge temper tantrum.

But as Jim Cramer has noted, if the Federal Reserve make the right choice and leaves rates where they currently are, we could potentially see a significant market rally…

“Today was a dress rehearsal for the kind of rally we can get if the Fed does the right thing tomorrow and repudiates the idea that we need a series of rate hikes in 2019, not just one more tomorrow,” Cramer said Tuesday. “If we get the Fed on board, expect more positive action like we had this morning before the market gave up much of its gains.”

Unfortunately, there is a factor that is complicating things.

In recent weeks, President Trump has been extremely critical of the Federal Reserve and Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  If the Fed decides to leave interest rates where they are, that could be interpreted as them giving Trump exactly what he wants, and it is likely that they do not want to be viewed as siding with Trump.

This is yet another reason why we need to end the Fed.  The Fed has become just another player in the game of politics, and the truth is that the Federal Reserve is a deeply un-American institution.  Our founders intended for us to have a free market capitalist system, but instead we have an unelected panel of central planners setting our interest rates and running our economy.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, there have been 18 major economic downturns, and now we are heading into another one.  Central banking manipulation endlessly causes boom and bust cycles, and hopefully this time around the American people will finally decide that enough is enough.

As losses on Wall Street mount, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes, and that is going to cause huge problems for some of our largest financial institutions.  For example, we just found out that Citigroup could potentially lose 180 million dollars due to bad loans that it made to a prominent Asian hedge fund

It’s not just hedge funds that are blowing up left and right: so are the banks that are lending them money.

Citigroup is facing losses of up to $180 million on loans made to an unnamed Asian hedge fund which saw major losses on its FX trades Bloomberg reports citing a person briefed on the matter. The hedge fund and Citi “are in discussions on the positions and how they should be valued” which is usually a bad sign as when it comes to FX the mark to market is, at least, instantaneous. Bloomberg adds that the situation is fluid and the eventual losses may end up being smaller depending on how the trades are unwound.

We haven’t seen anything like this in 10 years, and if the Fed raises interest rates this new financial crisis could begin to escalate quite rapidly.

At this point, even former Fed chair Alan Greenspan is urging investors to “run for cover”

The former Federal Reserve chairman who famously warned more than two decades ago about “irrational exuberance” in the stock market doesn’t see equity prices going any higher than they are now.

“It would be very surprising to see it sort of stabilize here, and then take off,” Greenspan said in an interview with CNN anchor Julia Chatterley.

He added that markets could still go up further — but warned investors that the correction would be painful: “At the end of that run, run for cover.”

The markets were calmer on Tuesday because everyone was kind of waiting to see what the Fed would do on Wednesday.

The decision should be obvious, but unfortunately things are never that simple.

We live in very uncertain times, and the shaking of our financial system has begun.

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

U.S. Accused Of “A Declaration Of War” Against China As The Stock Market Teeters On The Precipice Of Disaster

Things are sure getting wild on Wall Street.  On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted almost 800 points before roaring back and recovering nearly all of those losses.  The Dow closed just 79 points lower for the day, and if you only looked at the final number you would be tempted to believe that there is not much reason for concern.  But these wild swings up and down are precisely what we witnessed back in 2008, and they are a sign that the stock market is literally teetering on the precipice of disaster.  And it almost certainly would have been a historically bad day for stocks on Thursday if not for a very well-timed article in the Wall Street Journal.  Once news broke that the Federal Reserve is considering “a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes”, stock prices immediately began to rebound…

Stocks closed well off their session lows on Thursday after news broke that the Federal Reserve could tighten monetary policy at a slower pace than previously expected.

The Wall Street Journal reported the central bank is considering whether to signal a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes at its upcoming meeting this month. The report said Fed officials do not know what their next move on rates will be after December.

This just shows the immense power that the Federal Reserve possesses.

As I have discussed so many times previously, the Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does, and that includes the president of the United States.  Just the mere suggestion that the Fed may slow down the pace of rate hikes was enough to send Wall Street into a feeding frenzy.  Nothing that President Trump could have possibly said could have had that sort of a positive impact.

And this is a perfect example of how fundamentally flawed our system is.  Personally, I believe in free markets, and so it deeply, deeply offends me that we have an unelected, unaccountable panel of central bankers setting our interest rates for us.  As I have repeatedly proposed, we need to shut down the Federal Reserve and return to a system where interest rates are determined by the marketplace.

I’ll get off my soapbox for now.  As I noted yesterday, stocks originally began plunging when news broke that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou had been arrested in Canada and would be extradited to the United States…

Trade fears ratcheted up after news broke Wednesday that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver, where she faces extradition to the U.S. The arrest — which took place Dec. 1 — decreases the likelihood that a permanent U.S.-China trade deal will be reached. Huawei is one of the largest mobile phone makers in the world.

Meng Wanzhou is also the daughter of the founder of the company, and her arrest apparently has something to do with the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Huawei has violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

To most U.S. citizens, this is rather meaningless news, but in China there has been a massive explosion of outrage.  The Chinese are demanding her immediate release, and the editor in chief of the Global Times is calling her arrest “a declaration of war”

Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, described the arrest as a “declaration of war” against China, according to the New York Times.  The Global Times is a state-run newspaper whose views are thought to reflect the ruling communist party in China. Hu’s comments were made on Weibo, a Twitter-like service, the New York Times reported.

“Without any solid evidence, the Canadian and US governments trampled on international law by basically ‘kidnapping’ Chinese citizen Meng,” an official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a Global Times op-ed. “The China-US trade row could become a protracted war.”

Nothing is done or said at the Global Times without the approval of the Communist Party, and if Hu Xijin was out of line he would be immediately fired.

But he wasn’t fired, because he was simply expressing what most Chinese are feeling at this moment.  In China, the consensus is that relations between the U.S. and China have “gone nuclear”, and at this point the only thing that is going to soothe things is the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou.

Meanwhile, we just got more evidence that our trade war with China is not going very well at all.  Today we learned that the U.S. trade deficit shot up to a 10 year high during the month of October…

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a 10-year high in October as soybean exports continued to fall and imports of consumer goods rose to a record high, suggesting the Trump administration’s tariff-related measures to shrink the trade gap likely have been ineffective.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade deficit increased 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008. The trade gap has now widened for a five straight months.

And we also just got more evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing down.  Last month, factory orders declined at the fastest pace that we have seen in more than a year

New orders for U.S.-made goods recorded their biggest drop in more than a year in October and business spending on equipment appeared to be softening, suggesting a slowdown in activity in the manufacturing sector.

Factory goods orders fell 2.1 percent amid a decline in demand for a range of goods, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was the largest decrease in orders since July 2017.

Economic conditions really are deteriorating, and our financial markets really are headed for big trouble.

But some people out there still refuse to accept reality.  For example, an article that was just posted by USA Today is strongly urging people “to buy the dip”…

If you have the courage, now might be a time to step in to buy stocks when they are beaten down and on sale, says Thorne Perkin, president of Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management.

The worst reaction is to panic and sell, as there’s a good chance you could miss a stock rebound in this environment, he says.

Sadly, a lot of people will take this advice and will watch their retirement savings go up in smoke.

We have reached a critical turning point, and things are really starting to heat up.  Unfortunately, most people out there still don’t seem to realize what is happening…

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

Teetering On The Brink Of Disaster: 14 Of 19 Bear Market Signals Have Now Been Triggered

October 2018 is turning out to be a lot like October 2008.  The S&P 500 has now fallen for 12 of the last 14 trading days, and it is on pace for its worst October since the last financial crisis.  But the U.S. is actually in much better shape than the rest of the world at this point.  Even though they have fallen precipitously in recent days, U.S. stocks are still up 3 percent for the year overall.  On the other hand, global stocks (excluding the U.S.) are now down more than 10 percent for the year, and they are down more than 15 percent from the peak of the market in January.  All it is going to take is a couple more really bad trading sessions to push global stocks into bear market territory.

And even though U.S. stocks are still outperforming the rest of the world, many are anticipating that the U.S. is definitely heading for a bear market as well.

According to Bank of America, 14 out of their 19 “bear market indicators” have now been triggered

“Expect a long bout of volatility,” Bank of America strategists led by Savita Subramanian wrote in a report published on Sunday.

Bank of America keeps a running tally of “signposts” that signal looming bear market. The bad news is that 14 of these 19 indicators, or 74%, have been triggered. Two more were toppled earlier this month: the VIX volatility index (VIX) climbed above 20 and a growing number of Americans expect stocks to go up.

Of course not all 19 indicators need to be triggered in order for a bear market to happen.  These indicators are simply signposts, and what they are telling us is that big trouble could be brewing for the financial markets.

And Tuesday was certainly another chaotic day for Wall Street.  The Russell 2000 experienced another extremely disappointing day, and it is now officially red for the year

Small-cap stocks erased all of their gains for the year on Tuesday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point was not be too far behind.

The Russell 2000, composed of publicly traded companies with a market capitalization between $300 million and about $2 billion, shed 0.8 percent on Tuesday, putting it into the red for 2018, down 0.6 percent.

The number of stocks that are at 52-week lows far outnumbers those that are at 52-week highs, but a handful of big name stocks has been keeping the market from plummeting too dramatically.

In the short-term, we should expect some more wild swings up and down, but meanwhile we continue to receive more troubling news about the real economy.

For example, we recently learned that existing home sales were down once again last month

The metric of interest today is existing home sales. The reading came in at 5.15m units, which was well below the estimated 5.3m units and 4.1% below year ago levels. As the chart below shows, existing home sales have been falling all year long, and year-over-year growth rates have been mostly negative since September, 2017.

And auto sales are way down all over the country

A growing number of auto dealers around the country is seeing a noticeable drop in retail sales and customer traffic in showrooms, raising the possibility that a long-anticipated slowdown in auto sales has arrived.

“We are definitely seeing business pull back,” said Scott Adams, the owner of a Toyota dealership in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, just outside Kansas City. “September was off some, but this month our car sales are down 12 percent and our truck sales are down 23 percent.”

These things would not be happening if the economy was in good shape.

Every time the Federal Reserve goes through an interest rate hiking cycle it causes big problems for the economy, and this is something that President Trump alluded to during an interview with the Wall Street Journal

In an interview Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump acknowledged the independence the Fed has long enjoyed in setting economic policy, while also making clear he was intentionally sending a direct message to Mr. Powell that he wanted lower interest rates.

“Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Powell “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.” The president declined to elaborate, and a spokeswoman for the Fed declined to comment.

No matter what President Trump does, disaster is inevitable if the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates.  The Federal Reserve has far more control over the economy than Trump does, and that is why many of his supporters are hoping that Trump adopts Ron Paul’s “End the Fed” message for the 2020 presidential campaign.

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, former Fed chair Paul Volcker is saying that the U.S. is facing “a hell of a mess”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has reached legend status in the world of central banking, isn’t optimistic about current conditions.

When Volcker looks around now, he sees “a hell of a mess in every direction,” including a lack of basic respect for government institutions, a current Fed that seems to be following a completely arbitrary benchmark and a “swamp” in Washington run by plutocrats.

Without a doubt, it is most definitely true that we are facing “a hell of a mess”, but most Americans are entirely clueless about what is coming.

In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, the economy stabilized and global central banks were able to inflate the biggest financial bubble in human history.

Once this bubble bursts, there won’t be a similar “recovery” this time around.

Along with the rest of the world, the U.S. is headed for an unprecedented period of chaos and pain.  We should be thankful for each day of relative stability that we are still able to enjoy, because time is rapidly running out.

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

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

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