I keep hearing from people that think that the stock market is going to crash by the end of the year. Hopefully that will not happen, but the ridiculous stock prices that we are seeing right now certainly cannot last forever. On Sunday, I was chatting with a friend that had just been to a financial conference. He was quite surprised that one of the things being taught to the attendees of this conference was how to position themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the stock market crashes dramatically in the near future. Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up, and so when the inevitable market crash does take place those that have made large bets against the market will make huge fortunes. It happened in 2008, and it will happen again. But it was unsettling to my friend Robert that there were so many people that were gleefully looking forward to this.
Of course some of the biggest names in the investing world are also anticipating a major downturn very soon. I have previously written about how Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is sitting on a pile of 86 billion dollars in cash right now. Nobody ever knows exactly what Buffett is thinking, but it isn’t too hard to figure out that he plans to use those billions to buy up stocks for a song after a big market crash happens.
I have also previously written about many other big names throughout the financial world that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent. The last time I saw so many prominent investors sounding the alarm was just before the market crash of 2008, but most people didn’t listen that time around either.
And of course those that believe that a market crash is coming are doing a lot more than just talking about it. According to Zero Hedge, there are now more short positions betting against the Russell 2000 than we have seen at any time in the last six years…
The Russell 2000 Index posted a 2.2% decline in May, its worst month since October, and it appears a large swath of investors is now betting it has further to fall.
As Bloomberg notes, hedge funds and other major speculators have a combined net short position of 73,030 contracts in the small-cap index’s futures, according to the latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Russell 2000 sentiment has sharply declined since January, when future contract positioning reached record bullishness. It’s now the most short since May 2011.
The last time investors were this short the Russell 2000, it fell by almost 30 percent.
As Bloomberg notes, with the VIX down more than 30% this year through the end of last week, investors have been using options to bet on volatility.
As the chart above shows, the volume of contracts wagering on a resurgence of market turmoil has reached its highest level since last February relative to those calling for a drop in price movements.
Because markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, most of those that bet on increased volatility are typically doing so because they believe that a stock market crash is coming very soon.
And it is also interesting to note that hedge funds are jumping into gold at a rate that we have not seen since 2007…
Hedge funds are jumping back into gold.
Money managers boosted their long positions in U.S. futures by the most in almost a decade in the week ended May 23, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.
Gold is a safe haven asset, and it is a very good place to be during a major financial crisis. So if hedge funds are anticipating that we are on the verge of a major market downturn, it would make sense for them to be piling into gold.
All of the moves that I have discussed above will end up looking quite foolish if stocks just keep going up and up and up.
But if the market crashes, those that have positioned themselves ahead of time will end up making a killing.
Today the stock market bears absolutely no resemblance to economic reality, but at some point that will change. And with each passing day we just continue to get more bad economic news.
The U.S. economy is not “healthy” and it hasn’t been for a very long time. Because we have shipped so many jobs overseas, manufacturing’s share of U.S. employment has fallen to an all-time record low. The middle class is shrinking, and somewhere around two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck. We have been able to maintain our national standard of living by going on the greatest debt binge of all time, but every additional dollar of debt that we take on makes our long-term outlook even worse.
Just because he is living in the White House does not mean that Donald Trump can automatically turn things around. Without the help of Congress, he cannot cut taxes, repeal Obamacare, eliminate unnecessary federal agencies or implement many of the other items on his economic agenda.
And the truth is that because of the way that our system is structured, the Federal Reserve actually has much, much more power over the economy than Donald Trump does. When the financial markets crash and we officially enter the next recession, most of the blame will be placed on Trump, but it won’t be his fault. Instead, it will be primarily the Federal Reserve’s fault, and we need to educate the American people about this ahead of time.
What goes up must come down, and this irrational stock bubble has been living on borrowed time for quite a while now.
It isn’t going to take much to push things over the edge, and there are all sorts of candidates for what the next “trigger event” will be.
Stock prices just keep on falling, and many analysts are now wondering if a full-blown stock market crash is in our near future. On Thursday, the S&P 500 and the Dow both closed at 2 month lows after Donald Trump dropped “the mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. It was the first time that one of these bombs has ever been used in live combat, and it is being reported that each of these bombs weighs 22,000 pounds and costs 16 million dollars to make. Of course Trump was trying to send a very clear message to the rest of the world by dropping this bomb, and investors interpreted it as a sign that we are getting even closer to war.
The financial markets will be closed on Friday for the long holiday weekend, and with so much uncertainty about what may happen in Syria and in North Korea, many investors wanted to get their money out of the market while they still could. The historic losing streak for S&P 500 tech stocks extended to 10 days in a row on Thursday, and all of the major stock indexes are now below their 50 day moving averages for the first time since the election.
The fear index on Thursday hit 16.22, its highest since Nov. 10, after closing above its 200-day moving average on Monday for the first time since Nov. 8.
“The VIX confirmed a breakout above its 200-day moving average [Tuesday], supporting a pickup in volatility in the days ahead,” BTIG’s chief technical strategist, Katie Stockton, said in a Wednesday note.
On Tuesday, I wrote about how geopolitical instability is causing many investors to seek out safe havens such as gold and silver, and that trend continued on Thursday. As I write this, the price of gold is sitting at $1289.20, and the price of silver is up to $18.50. Of course if the French election goes badly for the globalists or we see a full-blown shooting war erupt in either Syria or North Korea, those prices will go far, far higher.
For quite a while I have been very strongly warning that these ridiculously inflated stock prices were not sustainable. It was inevitable that they would start to decline, because the underlying economic numbers simply did not support them.
And just today we got some more bad news. According to Zero Hedge, the mortgage business at one of America’s biggest banks has been absolutely crashing…
When we reported Wells Fargo’s Q4 earnings back in January, we drew readers’ attention to one specific line of business, the one we dubbed the bank’s “bread and butter“, namely mortgage lending, and which as we then reported was “the biggest alarm” because “as a result of rising rates, Wells’ residential mortgage applications and pipelines both tumbled, specifically in Q4 Wells’ mortgage applications plunged by $25bn from the prior quarter to $75bn, while the mortgage origination pipeline plunged by nearly half to just $30 billion, and just shy of all time lows recorded in late 2013 and 2014.”
Fast forward one quarter when what was already a troubling situation, just got as bad as it has been since the financial crisis for America’s largest mortgage lender, because buried deep in its presentation accompanying otherwise unremarkable Q1 results (EPS small beat, revenue small miss), Wells just reported that its ‘bread and butter’ is virtually gone, and in Q1 the amount of all-important Mortgage Applications has tumbled by a whopping 23% to just $59 billion, below the lows hit in early 2014, and at fresh lows since the financial crisis.
Unfortunately, what is going on at Wells Fargo is just part of an enormous “loan collapse” that we are witnessing all over the nation.
This is exactly what we would expect to see if a new recession was beginning. When economic conditions show down, banks and other lending institutions begin to get tighter with their money, and a tightening of credit causes economic activity to slow down even further.
It can be exceedingly difficult to break out of such a cycle once it starts.
But the mainstream media doesn’t seem to understand these things. Instead, they are pointing the blame at other sources for the emerging economic slowdown. For example, consider the following excerpt from a CNN article entitled “Americans have become lazy and it’s hurting the economy”…
Americans have become lazy, argues economist Tyler Cowen.
They don’t start businesses as much as they once did. They don’t move as often as they used to. And they live in neighborhoods that are about as segregated as they were in the 1960s.
No, our economic problems are not the result of Americans being too lazy.
Rather, the truth is that we have accumulated way too much debt as a society, we have been way too greedy, and there has been way too much manipulation by the Federal Reserve and other central banks.
For decades we have been living way above our means. We have been able to do this by stealing trillions upon trillions of dollars from future generations of Americans, and now a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching.
Unfortunately for Donald Trump, he just happens to be the president at this moment in history, and so much of the blame for what is about to happen will be pinned on him. The following comes from a recent interview with Peter Schiff…
Trump doesn’t want to preside over a major decline in our standard of living, but ultimately that has to happen. Because this is the consequence of all this excess consumption that went on before he was president. You know, we sacrificed our future to indulge our past. The future is now the present. We’re here, and it’s time to pay the piper.
Schiff is precisely correct.
For decades we have just kept sacrificing the future in order to inflate our current standard of living.
But the funny thing about the future is that it always arrives at some point, and now we are going to pay an enormously high price for being so exceedingly reckless all these years.
Whenever the world starts going crazy, investors instinctively begin flocking to precious metals. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when gold and silver prices started to move upward aggressively as global leaders continued to talk about the possibility of World War III and nuclear conflict. The price of gold spiked to a five month high on Tuesday, and as I write this article gold is currently sitting at $1277.10 an ounce. Right now silver is at $18.35 an ounce, and many analysts believe that it is poised for a dramatic jump in the weeks and months to come as global tensions continue to rise. Google searches for the phrase “going to war” are the highest that they have been at any point in recent years, and many people out there are starting to understand that the U.S. could soon be facing military conflicts in Syria and in North Korea simultaneously.
In response to persistent threats from the Trump administration, the North Koreans are promising that they will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they are attacked by the U.S. military.
Most analysts do not believe that North Korea has any missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland, so that is probably an empty threat, but they can definitely hit Seoul, Tokyo and all U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan.
And even if the U.S. was able to locate and take out all North Korean nukes in an overwhelming first strike, the North Koreans would still have thousands of artillery guns and rockets aimed at Seoul. Military analysts in the western world have estimated that North Korea could fire off up to half a million rounds within one hour of being attacked, and the devastation that such a barrage would cause in Seoul would be beyond anything that we have ever seen in the modern world.
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it is going to be nearly impossible to conduct a conventional military assault on North Korea that does not result in an absolutely catastrophic death toll.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump appears determined to do something anyway. A couple of days ago we learned that he “has ordered his military advisers to be ready with a list of options to smash North Korea’s nuclear threat”, and on Tuesday he told the world that the U.S would “solve the problem” whether China helps or not…
Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbor, said in a tweet that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.
Just like he did with Syria, Trump’s words have now committed us to taking military action in North Korea.
Let us hope that any military action is delayed for as long as possible, but it is definitely alarming that Trump boasted to the Fox Business Network about the “very powerful” naval armada that is sailing toward North Korea right now…
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Network. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That I can tell you.”
Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Chinese have deployed 150,000 troops to their border with North Korea as they continue to warn both sides against taking military action.
Over in the Middle East, things continue to get even more tense as well.
Russia and Iran have pledged to “respond with force” to any additional U.S. attacks, but the Trump administration is not showing any signs of backing down. In fact, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has substantially lowered the threshold for more military conflict by suggesting that the use of “barrel bombs” may be enough to justify another attack. Considering the fact that everyone in the Syrian civil war has been regularly using barrel bombs for many years and that approximately 13,000 were used in 2016 alone, it is very alarming for Spicer to say such a thing.
On Tuesday, Trump told the American people that “we’re not going into Syria”, but what happens if he orders another missile strike and the Russians and Iranians respond by shooting down some U.S. aircraft or by sinking an entire aircraft carrier?
I can guarantee you that members of Congress from both parties will be absolutely screaming for war if CNN starts endlessly playing footage of a U.S. aircraft carrier sinking after it has been struck by the Russians or by the Iranians.
We are so close to World War III erupting in the Middle East, and there was no need for the U.S. to get involved in the first place. According to former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, evidence continues to mount that Assad had absolutely nothing to do with the chemical attack that Trump got so upset about…
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and director of the Council for the National Interest, stated on the Scott Horton show that “military and intelligence personnel” in the Middle East, who are “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, call the allegation that Assad or Russia carried out the attack a “sham.”
Giraldi said the intelligence confirms the Russian account, “which is that they [attacking aircraft] hit a warehouse where al-Qaeda rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties.” Moreover, Giraldi noted, “Assad had no motive for doing this.”
Investors that can see the writing on the wall are already getting out of stocks and into precious metals while there is still time to do so.
Because if we get into a direct military conflict with Russia and Iran in Syria, global financial markets will crash and gold and silver will soar into the stratosphere.
And of course a similar scenario would play out if we attack North Korea and the North Koreans respond by firing off nuclear or chemical warheads at targets in South Korea and Japan.
I did not expect that we would be on the verge of World War III less than three months into the Trump administration, but here we are.
These are perilous times, and those that are wise are moving their money and are making key preparations before things spiral completely out of control.
Have you seen what the price of silver has been doing? On Monday, it exploded past 20 dollars an ounce, and as I write this article it is sitting at $20.48. Earlier today it actually surged above 21 dollars an ounce for a short time before moving back just a bit. In late March, I told my readers that silver was “ridiculously undervalued” when it was sitting at $15.81 an ounce, and that call has turned out to be quite prescient. The Friday before last, silver started the day at $17.25 an ounce, and it is up more than 18 percent since that time. Overall, silver is up more than 30 percent for the year, and that makes it one of the best performing investments of 2016. So what is causing this sudden surge in the price of silver? This is something that we will discuss below…
This sudden spike in the price of silver has definitely caught a lot of analysts off guard. Some are suggesting that the fact that the Fed is now less likely to raise rates after the Brexit and the fact that the dollar has been slipping a bit lately are the primary reasons for silver’s rise…
This isn’t a gradual increase either. It’s an explosive growth spurt. Just three months ago silver had reached an 11 month high. Now silver prices have reached a 23 month high. Several factors appear to be influencing these gains, including a weakening dollar, and the fact that the Fed may cut interest rates in light of the Brexit vote.
Personally, I don’t buy those explanations.
To me, the continuing implosion of major banks over in Europe is the main factor that is driving investors to safe haven assets such as silver.
Rumors continue to spread that Deutsche Bank is essentially insolvent at this point, and many are watching for the imminent collapse of the largest and most important bank in Germany. When this happens, it will be a much, much more cataclysmic event for the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers was back in 2008.
But today I want to focus on the ongoing implosion of the major banks in Italy.
Italy has the 8th largest economy on the entire planet, and their banks are drowning in approximately 400 billion dollars worth of non-performing debt.
The Italian government would like to bail these banks out, but the rest of the EU appears ready to block that effort because it would violate EU rules. As a result, the big Italian banks experienced a bloodbath on Monday…
Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA BMPS, -13.99% closed down 14%. The move came after a report that the European Central Bank is pushing the lender to draft a new plan aimed at reducing non-performing loans.
Other Italian bank shares were lower, with Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna BPE, -6.73% down 6.7%, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA ISP, -3.04% off 3% and Banca Popolare di Milano SpA PMI, -1.40% lower by 1.4%.
As a reminder, the Euro Stoxx Banks index was down -0.88% last week and is nearly 19% down from its pre-referendum levels. Italian Banks are at the heart of that weakness with the likes of Unicredit, Intesa, Banco Monte dei Paschi and UBI down -9.78%, -3.44%, -15.79% and -6.11% respectively last week, in the process sending Italian stocks to levels not seen since Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” speech.
So what happens when all of the major banks of a country collapse at the exact same time?
Basically, Italy is facing “financial Armageddon” if nothing is done, and so some Italian politicians are desperate to step in and do something about this crisis even if it means defying the EU…
The Financial Times reported Sunday that Italy was prepared “to defy the EU and unilaterally pump billions of euros into its troubled banking system if it comes under severe systemic distress … despite warnings from Brussels and Berlin over the need to respect rules that make creditors rather than taxpayers fund bank rescues.”
Citing “several officials and bankers familiar with the plans,” the FT said that the threat has raised alarm along Europe’s regulators “who fear such a brazen intervention would devastate the credibility of the union’s newly implemented banking rule book during its first real test.”
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Under current EU state aid rules any attempts to help banks must involve a bail-in process that doesn’t involve using taxpayer’s money.
“Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has tried to argue that the Brexit uncertainty has destabilised Italy’s already fragile banks.
“The reality is the problems of Italy’s banks predate last week’s Brexit vote, and he knows it.”
So what is going to happen?
Could Italy be forced to leave the EU?
Will the rest of the European Union eventually cave in and save Italy?
We all remember how difficult it was for the EU to save Greece, and they are just the 44th largest economy on the planet.
So where in the world are they going to come up with the resources to rescue the 8th largest economy on the planet?
Immediately following the Brexit vote on the Friday before last, we witnessed the biggest one day global stock market loss in world history. But since that time many global markets have bounced back, and a lot of people seem convinced that the crisis has passed.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the crisis is just getting started. As I warned before the Brexit vote, European banks were going to continue to implode no matter what the result was, and that is definitely what we are seeing come to pass right now.
Without bailouts, virtually all of the major banks in Italy are going to fail. It is just a matter of time. And each of those failures would send financial shockwaves all over the planet.
Personally, I am convinced that the second half of 2016 is going to be even more eventful that the first half of 2016, and this new global economic crisis is going to continue to accelerate.
Unfortunately, most Americans are preoccupied reading about Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend and things of that nature, and so they are totally oblivious to the global events that are about to turn their lives totally upside down.
When panic and fear dominate financial markets, gold and silver both tend to rapidly rise in price. We witnessed this during the last financial crisis, and it is starting to happen again. Because I am the publisher of a website called The Economic Collapse Blog, I am often asked about gold and silver when I do interviews. In fact, just a few days ago I was sitting right next to Jim Rickards during the taping of a television show when this topic came up. Jim expressed his belief that investing in gold is superior to investing in silver, but I had the exact opposite viewpoint. In this article, I would like to elaborate on why I believe that silver represents a historic investment opportunity right now.
I should start out by disclosing that my wife and I have been able to put away a little bit of silver over the years. I wish that it could have been a lot more, but so often there are other priorities that need to be addressed. For example, I have always said that people need to take care of their emergency food storage first before even thinking about any kind of investments.
But if you have money left over after taking care of the basics, I am fully convinced that silver is a wonderful investment for the mid to long term. In this article, I am going to explain why this is the case. However, I have always warned that you have got to be ready for a rollercoaster ride if you get into precious metals. So if you can’t handle the ups and downs, you should probably avoid them altogether.
As I write this article, the price of gold is sitting at $1254.30 an ounce.
Meanwhile, the price of silver is sitting at just $15.81 an ounce.
That means that the price of gold is currently more than 79 times higher than the price of silver. For the ratio between gold and silver to be this high is truly unusual.
You see, the truth is that there is only about 17 times as much silver as there is gold in the Earth’s crust. And currently silver is being mined at about an 11 to 1 ratio to gold.
So it makes sense that throughout history gold has typically sold at about a 15 to 1 ratio to silver.
During the years to come, I do believe that gold will multiply in price.
But I am also convinced that the price of silver will go up much, much faster.
As they both skyrocket in price, the price ratio between gold and silver will shift very quickly from 79 to 1 in the direction of 15 to 1.
Perhaps we may never even get all the way back to 15 to 1, but if we even got to 40 to 1 or 30 to 1, what that would mean for silver would be history making.
Let us also keep in mind that unlike gold, silver is constantly being used up in thousands of different industrial applications. The following comes from Jeff Nielson…
Over the past quarter century, more silver-based patents have been created than with any other metal on the planet. But not only does silver have unparalleled versatility, it is an extremely potent metal, meaning that in many of its commercial applications it is used in only trace amounts.
Why is this of significance? Because in such tiny quantities it is economically impractical to ever recycle any of this silver, at prices anywhere near the (absurd) levels of recent decades. Thus this silver is being consumed in tiny amounts, but in billions and billions of consumer products, over a span of decades.
Unlike gold, our stockpiles of silver are disappearing. As previously mentioned, for at least the last thirty years, the only way that our strong demand for silver could be satisfied has been through consuming portions of these stockpiles.
It has been estimated that approximately one billion ounces of silver have been used in consumer products over the past ten years alone.
Even if the world could somehow avoid the great financial turmoil that has already begun, the truth is that eventually a great demand crunch for silver would come just based on how much of it we are steadily consuming.
At less than 16 dollars an ounce right now, silver is ridiculously undervalued.
Those that are wise see this, and they are stocking up on silver coins at an unprecedented level. Just check out these numbers…
Silver Eagle sales will likely jump by 25% in the first quarter due to deteriorating market conditions. During the first three months last year the U.S. Mint sold 12 million Silver Eagles. Already, sales of Silver Eagles have reached 13 million. There are two weeks remaining in March and the U.S. Mint will likely sell another two million. This will put total Silver Eagle sales for the first quarter at 15 million….. the highest ever.
I have always said that I believe that the price of silver will eventually go over $100 an ounce.
When that happens, those that got in today will be exceedingly happy with their returns.
Others are projecting even greater gains. For instance, investing legend Egon von Greyerz believes that the price of silver could ultimately go as high as $660 an ounce, and Jeff Nielson believes that $1,000 an ounce for silver would be a fair price.
But once again, don’t even think about getting into precious metals until you have the basics squared away. It is often said that you can’t eat gold or silver, and that is very true.
In our new television show, my wife and I are always going to tell it to you straight. A lot of people out there are relaxing right now because they think that the recent stock market rally means that the crisis is over. What they don’t understand is that this new financial crisis is just in the very early chapters. There are going to be more ups and more downs, and the shaking that we have seen so far is just the beginning.
Many of you may not want to believe me at this moment, but by the end of 2016 life in America is going to look dramatically different than it does right now. So please get prepared while you are still able to do so.
Stock markets around the world continue to collapse as this new global financial crisis picks up more steam. In the U.S., the Dow lost 254 more points on Thursday, and it has now fallen for five days in a row. European stocks continued to get obliterated, and financial institutions are leading the way. But this week what is happening in Japan has been the most sobering. After falling 918 points the other day, the Nikkei plunged another 760 points early on Friday. The Nikkei has now fallen for seven of the past eight days, and investors in Japan are in full panic mode. Overall, global stocks are well into bear market territory, and nearly 17 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
As panic rises, investors are seeking alternative investments. On Thursday, the price of gold hit $1,260 an ounce at one point before settling back a bit. But even with the fade at the end of the day, it was still the biggest daily gain in more than two years. Overall, gold is having its best quarterly performance in 30 years.
Whenever a financial crisis happens, investors seek out safe havens such as gold that can help them weather the storm. In particular, demand for physical gold is going through the roof all over the planet. Just check out the following excerpt from a Telegraph article entitled “Investors ‘go bananas’ for gold bars as global stock markets tumble“…
BullionByPost, Britain’s biggest online gold dealer, said it has already taken record-day sales of £5.6m as traders pile into gold following fears the world is on the brink of another financial crisis.
Rob Halliday-Stein, founder and managing director of the Birmingham-based company, said takings today had already surpassed the firm’s previous one-day record of £4.4m in October 2014.
BullionByPost, which takes orders of up to £25,000 on the website but takes higher amounts over the phone, explained it had received a few hundred orders overnight and frantic numbers of phone calls this morning.
Meanwhile, the price of oil continues to drop to stunning new depths. On Thursday U.S. oil dropped as low as $26.21, which was the lowest price in 13 years. Not even during the worst parts of the last financial crisis did oil ever go this low.
And remember, the price of oil was sitting at about $108 a barrel back in June 2014. Since that time it has fallen about 75 percent.
Needless to say, this crash is having some very serious consequences for the energy industry. Previously, I have reported that 42 North American energy companies have gone into bankruptcy since the beginning of last year.
But I just found out that the true number is much worse than that.
According to CNN, “67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015″…
Bankruptcy filings are flying in the American oil patch.
At least 67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to consulting firm Gavin/Solmonese.
That represents a 379% spike from the previous year when oil prices were substantially higher.
With oil prices crashing further in recent weeks, five more energy gas producers succumbed to bankruptcy in the first five weeks of this year, according to Houston law firm Haynes and Boone.
A lot of people tend to think that my writing is full of “doom and gloom”, but the truth is that I often understate how bad things really are. I’ll often report one number and find out later that an updated number is even worse than the one that I originally reported.
What we desperately need is for the price of oil to go back up.
Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency says that isn’t likely to happen any time soon…
The International Energy Agency said earlier this week that it expects the global oil glut to grow throughout the year.
“With the market already awash in oil, it is very hard to see how oil prices can rise significantly in the short term,” the IEA said in its monthly report.
And of course all of this is incredibly bad news for financial institutions all over the world.
During the boom times, the big banks showered energy companies with loans. Now those loans are going bad, and the big banks are feeling the pain. The following comes from CNN…
It’s never a good sign when the country’s financial lifelines are under stress. Large U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) that helped bankroll the energy boom are already setting aside billions to cover potential loan losses in the oil industry. Investors are worried about imploding energy loans for European banks like Deutsche Bank (DB). High yield bonds in your investing portfolio wont be looking good either — Standard & Poor’s warned that half of all energy junk bonds are at risk of defaulting.
Speaking of Deutsche Bank, their stock price continued to plummet on Thursday, as did the stock prices of most other European banks.
Things were particularly bad for France’s Societe Generale. Their stock price plunged 12 percent on Thursday alone.
This is what a global financial crisis looks like. It began during the second half of last year, and now it is making major headlines all over the planet.
At this point, things are already so bad that the elite are starting to freak out about what this could potentially mean for them. I want you to carefully consider the following two paragraphs from an editorial that I came across in the Telegraph earlier today…
We are too fragile, fiscally as well as psychologically. Our economies, cultures and polities are still paying a heavy price for the Great Recession; another collapse, especially were it to be accompanied by a fresh banking bailout by the taxpayer, would trigger a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash.
The public, whose faith in elites and the private sector was rattled after 2007-09, would simply not wear it. Its anger would be so explosive, so-all encompassing that it would threaten the very survival of free trade, of globalisation and of the market-based economy. There would be calls for wage and price controls, punitive, ultra-progressive taxes, a war on the City and arbitrary jail sentences.
I think that the author of this editorial is correct.
I do believe that another financial crisis on the scale of 2008 would trigger “a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash”.
In fact, I believe that is what we are steamrolling toward right now.
We can already see the anger of the American people toward the establishment being expressed in their support of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
But if the financial system completely collapses and it becomes exceedingly apparent that none of our problems from the last time around were ever fixed, the frustration is going to be off the charts.
Many people believed that this day of reckoning would never come, but now it is here.
The “coming nightmare” is now upon us, and this is just the start.
The rest of 2016 promises to be even more chaotic, and ultimately this new crisis is going to turn out to be far worse than what we experienced back in 2008.
When financial markets crash, they do not do so in a vacuum. There are always patterns, signs and indicators that tell us that something is about to happen. In this article, I am going to share with you four patterns that are happening right now that also happened just prior to the great financial crisis of 2008. These four signs are very strong evidence that a deflationary financial collapse is right around the corner. Instead of the hyperinflationary crisis that so many have warned about, what we are about to experience is a collapse in asset prices, a massive credit crunch and a brief period of absolutely crippling deflation. The response by national governments and global central banks to this horrific financial crisis will cause tremendous inflation down the road, but that comes later. What comes first is a crisis that will initially look a lot like 2008, but will ultimately prove to be much worse. The following are 4 things that are happening right now that indicate that a deflationary financial collapse is imminent…
#1 Commodities Are Crashing
In mid-2008, just before the U.S. stock market crashed in the fall, commodities started crashing hard. Well, now it is happening again. In fact, the Bloomberg Commodity Index just hit a 13 year low, which means that it is already lower than it was at any point during the last financial crisis…
On Monday, the price of oil dipped back below $50 a barrel. This has surprised many analysts, because a lot of them thought that the price of oil would start to rebound by now.
In early 2014, the price of a barrel of oil was sitting above $100 a barrel and the future of the industry looked very bright. Since that time, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 percent.
There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil has fallen by more than $50 a barrel in such a short period of time. That was in 2008, just before the great financial crisis that erupted later that year. In the chart posted below, you can see how similar that last oil crash was to what we are experiencing right now…
#3 Gold Is Crashing
Most people don’t remember that the price of gold took a very serious tumble in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008. In early 2008, the price of gold almost reached $1000 an ounce, but by October it had fallen to nearly $700 an ounce. Of course once the stock market finally crashed it ultimately propelled gold to unprecedented heights, but what we are concerned about for this article is what happens before a crisis arrives.
Just like in 2008, the price of gold has been hit hard in recent months. And on Monday, the price of gold absolutely got slammed. The following comes from USA Today…
The yellow metal has tumbled to a five-year low amid a combination of diminishing investor fears related to foreign headwinds in Greece and China, and stronger growth in the U.S. which is leading to a stronger dollar and coming interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. Investors have been dumping shares of gold-related investments as other bearish signs, such as less demand from China and the breaking of key price support levels, add up.
Earlier today, an ounce of gold fell below $1,100 an ounce to $1,080, its lowest level since February 2010. Gold peaked around $1,900 an ounce back in 2011.
For years, I have been telling people that we were going to see wild swings in the prices of gold and silver.
And to be honest, the party is just getting started. Personally, I particularly love silver for the long-term. But you have got to be able to handle the roller coaster ride if you are going to get into precious metals. It is not for the faint of heart.
#4 The U.S. Dollar Index Is Surging
Before the U.S. stock market crashed in the fall of 2008, the U.S. dollar went on a very impressive run. This is something that you can see in the chart posted below. Now, the U.S. dollar is experiencing a similar rise. For a while there it looked like the rally might fizzle out, but in recent days the dollar has started to skyrocket once again. That may sound like good news to most Americans, but the truth is that a strong dollar is highly deflationary for the global financial system as a whole for a variety of reasons. So just like in 2008, this is not the kind of chart that we should want to see…
If a 2008-style financial crisis was imminent, these are the kinds of things that we would expect to see happen. And of course these are not the only signs that are pointing to big problems in our immediate future. For example, the last time there was a major stock market crash in China, it came just before the great U.S. stock market crash in the fall of 2008. This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “Guess What Happened The Last Time The Chinese Stock Market Crashed Like This?”
As an attorney, I was trained to follow the evidence and to only come to conclusions that were warranted by the facts. And right now, it seems abundantly clear that things are lining up in textbook fashion for another major financial crisis.
But even though what is happening right in front of our eyes is so similar to what happened back in 2008, most people do not see it.
And the reason why they do not see it is because they do not want to see it.
Just like with most things in life, most people end up believing exactly what they want to believe.
Yes, there is a segment of the population that are actually honest truth seekers. If you have felt drawn to this website, you are probably one of them. But overall, most people in our society are far more concerned with making themselves happy than they are about pursuing the truth.
So even though the signs are obvious, most people will never see what is coming in advance.
Why in the world has JP Morgan accumulated more than 55 million ounces of physical silver? Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver. Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment. But in recent times, the price of silver has actually fallen quite a bit. As I write this, it is sitting at the ridiculously low price of $15.66 an ounce. So up to this point, JP Morgan’s investment in silver has definitely not paid off. But it will pay off in a big way if we will soon be entering a time of great financial turmoil.
During a time of crisis, investors tend to flood into physical gold and silver. And as I mentioned just recently, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently stated that “there will be another crisis” in a letter to shareholders…
Some things never change — there will be another crisis, and its impact will be felt by the financial market.
The trigger to the next crisis will not be the same as the trigger to the last one – but there will be another crisis. Triggering events could be geopolitical (the 1973 Middle East crisis), a recession where the Fed rapidly increases interest rates (the 1980-1982 recession), a commodities price collapse (oil in the late 1980s), the commercial real estate crisis (in the early 1990s), the Asian crisis (in 1997), so-called “bubbles” (the 2000 Internet bubble and the 2008 mortgage/housing bubble), etc. While the past crises had different roots (you could spend a lot of time arguing the degree to which geopolitical, economic or purely financial factors caused each crisis), they generally had a strong effect across the financial markets
And Dimon is apparently putting his money where his mouth is.
If Dimon believes that another great crisis is coming, then it would make logical sense to stockpile huge amounts of precious metals. And in particular, silver is a tremendous bargain for a variety of reasons. Personally, I like gold, but I absolutely love silver – especially at the price it is at right now.
Over the past few years, JP Morgan has been voraciously buying up physical silver. Nobody has ever seen anything quite like this ever before. In fact, JP Morgan has added more than 8 million ounces of physical silver during the past couple of weeks alone. The following is an extended excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo…
According to a detailed report from The Wealth Watchman JP Morgan Chase has been amassing a huge stockpile of physical silver, presumably in anticipation of a major liquidity event.
They’re baaaaack. Yes, “old faithful” is back at it again!
Of course, they never really left silver, and have been rigging it non-stop in the futures market, but for awhile there, there were at least no admissions of newly-stacked silver being made in their Comex warehousing facilities.
Yet, after a 16 month period of “dormancy” within their Comex warehouse vaults, these guys have returned with a vengeance.
In fact, our old buddies at JP Morgan Chase, not only see value in silver here, but they’re currently standing for delivery in their own house account in such strong numbers, that it commands our attention. Let me show you what I mean.
Here’s a breakdown of the Comex’s most recent silver deliveries to JP Morgan:
April 7th: 1,110,000 ounces
April 8th: 1,280,000 ounces
April 9th: 893,037 ounces
April 10th: 1,200,224 ounces
April 14th: 1,073,000 ounces
April 15th: 1,191,275 ounces
April 16th: 1,183,777.295 ounces
This is a huge bout of deliveries in such a short space of time. In fact, within the realm of Comex world, it’s such an exceptionally large amount, that it even creates quite a spike on the long-term chart of JP Morgan’s vault stockpile:
All in all, JP Morgan has added over 8.3 million ounces of additional silver in just the past 2 weeks alone.
Do they know something that the rest of us do not?
Meanwhile, JP Morgan Chase has made another very curious move as well. It is being reported that the bank is “restricting the use of cash” in some markets, and has even gone so far as to “prohibit the storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”…
What is a surprise is how little notice the rollout of Chase’s new policy has received. As of March, Chase began restricting the use of cash in selected markets, including Greater Cleveland. The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and auto loans. Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes . In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,” one of the highlighted items reads: “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.” Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained.
What in the world is that all about?
Why is JP Morgan suddenly so negative about cash?
I think that there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes than we are being told.
JP Morgan Chase is the largest of the six “too big to fail” banks in the United States. The total amount of assets that JP Morgan Chase controls is roughly equal to the GDP of the entire British economy. This is an institution that is immensely powerful and that has very deep ties to the U.S. government.
Could it be possible that JP Morgan Chase is anticipating another great economic crisis?
We are definitely due for one. Just consider the following chart from Zero Hedge. It postulates that our financial system is ready for another “7.5 year itch”…
JP Morgan certainly seems to be preparing for a worst case scenario.
The Chinese do not plan to live in a world dominated by the U.S. dollar for much longer. Chinese leaders have been calling for the U.S. dollar to be replaced as the primary global reserve currency for a long time, but up until now they have never been very specific about what they would put in place of it. Many have assumed that the Chinese simply wanted some new international currency to be created. But what if that is not what the Chinese had in mind? What if they have always wanted their own currency to become the single most dominant currency on the entire planet? What you are about to see is rather startling, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. When it comes to economics and finance, the Chinese have always been playing chess while the western world has been playing checkers. Sadly, we have gotten to the point where checkmate is on the horizon.
On Wednesday, I came across an excellent article by Simon Black. What he had to say in that article just about floored me…
When I arrived to Bangkok the other day, coming down the motorway from the airport I saw a huge billboard—and it floored me.
The billboard was from the Bank of China. It said: “RMB: New Choice; The World Currency”
Given that the Bank of China is more than 70% owned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, I find this very significant.
It means that China is literally advertising its currency overseas, and it’s making sure that everyone landing at one of the world’s busiest airports sees it. They know that the future belongs to them and they’re flaunting it.
This is the photograph of that billboard that he posted with his article…
Everyone knows that China is rising.
And most everyone has assumed that Chinese currency would soon play a larger role in international trade.
But things have moved so rapidly in recent years that now a very large chunk of the financial world actually expects the renminbi to replace the dollar as the primary reserve currency of the planet someday. The following comes from CNBC…
The tightly controlled Chinese yuan will eventually supersede the dollar as the top international reserve currency, according to a new poll of institutional investors.
The survey of 200 institutional investors – 100 headquartered in mainland China and 100 outside of it – published by State Street and the Economist Intelligence Unit on Thursday found 53 percent of investors think the renminbi will surpass the U.S. dollar as the world’s major reserve currency.
Optimism was higher within China, where 62 percent said they saw a redback world on the horizon, compared with 43 percent outside China.
And without a doubt we are starting to see the beginnings of a significant shift.
China’s yuan broke into the top five as a world payment currency in November, overtaking the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar won’t be replaced overnight, but things are changing.
Of course the truth is that the Chinese have been preparing for this for a very long time. The Chinese refuse to tell the rest of the world exactly how much gold they have, but everyone knows that they have been accumulating enormous amounts of it. And even if they don’t explicitly back the renminbi with gold, the massive gold reserves that China is accumulating will still give the rest of the planet a great deal of confidence in Chinese currency.
But don’t just take my word for it. Consider what Alan Greenspan has had to say on the matter…
Alan Greenspan, who served at the helm of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, recently penned an op-ed for the Council on Foreign Relations discussing gold and its possible role in China, the world’s second-largest economy. He notes that if China converted only a “relatively modest part of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves into gold, the country’s currency could take on unexpected strength in today’s international financial system.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese have also been accumulating a tremendous amount of U.S. debt. At this point, the Chinese own approximately 1.3 trillion dollars worth of our debt, and that gives them a lot of power over our currency and over our financial system.
Someday if the Chinese wanted to undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar and in the U.S. financial system, they have a lot of ammunition at their disposal.
And it isn’t just all of that debt that gives China leverage. In recent years, the Chinese have been buying up real estate, businesses and energy assets all over the United States at a staggering pace. For a small taste of what has been taking place, check out the YouTube video posted below…
For much, much more on this trend, please see the following articles…
On a purchasing power basis, the size of the Chinese economy has already surpassed the size of the U.S. economy.
And there are lots of signs of trouble ahead for the U.S. economy at this point. I like how Brandon Smith put it in one recent article…
We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come.
In addition, things continue to look quite bleak for Europe. Once upon a time, many expected the euro to overtake the U.S. dollar as the primary global reserve currency, but that didn’t happen. And in recent months the euro has been absolutely crashing. On Wednesday, it hit the lowest point that we have seen against the dollar in more than a decade…
The euro last stood at $1.1072, off 0.90 percent for the day and below a key support level, Sutton said. It fell to as little as $1.1066, which was the lowest level for the euro against the dollar since September 2003, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The euro also declined to one-month lows against the Japanese yen, which was flat against the dollar at 119.72 yen to the dollar.
As the U.S. and Europe continue to struggle, China is going to want a significantly larger role on the global stage.
And as the billboard in Thailand suggests, they are more than willing to step up to the plate.
So will the road to the future be paved with Chinese currency? Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
Did you know that the number of gold bars being purchased by ultra-wealthy individuals has increased by 243 percent so far this year? If stocks are just going to keep soaring, why are they doing this? On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs once again. It is a party that never seems to end, and there are a lot of really happy people on Wall Street these days. But those that are discerning realize that we witnessed the exact same kind of bubble behavior during the dotcom boom and during the run up to the last financial crash in 2007. The irrational exuberance that we are witnessing right now cannot go on forever. And the bigger that this bubble gets, the more painful that it is going to be when it finally bursts. Those that get out at the peaks of the market are the ones that usually end up making lots of money. Those that ride stocks all the way up and all the way down are the ones that usually end up getting totally wiped out.
To get an idea of how irrational the markets have become, all one has to do is to look at Twitter.
Would you value “a horribly mismanaged company” that is less than 10 years old and that has never made a yearly profit at 31 billion dollars?
Well, that is precisely how much the financial markets say that Twitter is worth at this moment.
Even though Twitter will probably never be much more popular than it is right now, it continues to bleed money profusely. On a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis, Twitter lost an astounding 145 million dollars during the second quarter of 2014…
Twitter’s GAAP net loss totaled $145 million, up from $42 million a year ago. On a GAAP basis, Twitter lost $0.24 per share. Investors, however, were not expecting Twitter to be profitable by GAAP measurements, so the loss isn’t too much of a drag.
Why would anyone want to invest in such a money pit?
Currently, Twitter (TWTR) is valued at $31 billion.That’s 18X revenue, but the catch is that the revenue in question is it’s lifetime bookings over the 18 quarters since Q1 2010.
When it comes to profits, the numbers are not nearly so promising! For the LTM period ending in June, TWTR booked $974 million of revenue and $1.7 billion of operating expense. That why “NM” shows up in its LTM ratio of enterprise value to EBITDA. It turns out that its EBITDA was -$704 million. In fact, its R&D expense alone was 83% of revenues.
Of course the truth is that Twitter should be able to make money.
And it probably would be making money if it was being managed better.
The following is what Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel said about Twitter on CNBC the other day…
“It’s a horribly mismanaged company — probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”
But because Twitter is a “hot tech stock” investors are literally throwing money at it.
And there are many other tech companies that have similar stories. Off the top of my head, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Yelp and Pinterest come to mind.
Fueled by the quantitative easing policies of the Federal Reserve, U.S. stocks have enjoyed an unprecedented joy ride.
However, as David Stockman recently told Yahoo Finance, the subsequent crash is likely to be enormously painful…
“I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”
The behavior that we are observing in the stock market simply does not reflect what is happening in the economy overall whatsoever.
In many ways, U.S. economic fundamentals just continue to get even worse. Small business ownership in the United States is at an all-time low, the labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been in 36 years, and the U.S. national debt has grown by more than a trillion dollars over the past 12 months.
But on Wall Street right now, there is very little fear that the party is going to end any time soon.
The following is how Seth Klarman recently described the market complacency that he is seeing at the moment…
To put it a bit differently, writer and investor John Mauldin is right when he says that there is “a bubble in complacency.” Fear has effectively been banished. The members of the Fed know it. Stock traders who chase the market to new highs almost daily know it. Implied volatilities (and realized volatilities) are historically low (the VIX Index recently hit a seven-year low), and falling. The Bank for International Settlements recently cautioned that financial markets are euphoric and in the grip of an aggressive search for yield. The S&P has gone over 1,000 days without a 10% decline, according to Birinyi Associates. Dutch and French 10-year government bond yields are at 500 and 250 year lows, respectively; Spain, 225 years. Spanish debt yields were recently inside of U.S. levels.
But as Klarman also observed, just because “investors have been seduced into feeling good” does not mean that this current bubble is any different from what we witnessed back in 2007…
It’s not hard to reach the conclusion that so many investors feel good not because things are good but because investors have been seduced into feeling good—otherwise known as “the wealth effect.” We really are far along in re-creating the markets of 2007, which felt great but were deeply unstable when shocks started to pile up. Even Janet Yellen sees “pockets of increasing risk-taking” in the markets, yet she has made clear that she won’t raise rates to fight incipient bubbles. For all of our sakes, we really wish she would.
Meanwhile, the ultra-wealthy are making moves to protect themselves from the inevitable chaos that is coming.
For example, the Telegraph recently reported that sales of gold bars to wealthy customers are up 243 percent so far in 2014…
The super-rich are looking to protect their wealth through buying record numbers of “Italian job” style gold bars, according to bullion experts.
The number of 12.5kg gold bars being bought by wealthy customers has increased 243 percent so far this year, when compared to the same period last year, said Rob Halliday-Stein founder of BullionByPost.
“These gold bars are usually stored in the vaults of central banks and are the same ones you see in the film ‘The Italian Job’,” added David Cousins, bullion executive from London based ATS Bullion.
Do they know something that we don’t?
The ultra-wealthy are able to stay ultra-wealthy for a reason.
They are usually a step or two ahead of most of the rest of us.
And any rational person should be able to see that this financial bubble is going to end very, very badly.