“Worst Year Ever”: The Chinese Ban On U.S. Agricultural Products Will Be A Death Blow For Countless U.S. Farms

U.S. farmers have never experienced a year quite like this.  During the first half of 2019, endless rain and unprecedented flooding were the major problems.  As a result of the incredibly wet conditions, millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all, and tens of millions of other acres are going to yield a lot less than usual.  Even without anything else happening, we were going to see farm bankruptcies soar to absolutely crazy levels, but now the Chinese government is essentially cutting off U.S. agricultural imports.  This will greatly depress the prices that U.S. farmers get for their crops, and so many farmers that were still hoping to squeeze out a profit for this year will be hit with a loss instead.  Ultimately, the truth is that 2019 is going to be a death blow for countless U.S. farmers that were barely hanging on financially after a string of really tough years.  Many will leave the industry entirely and never go back to farming again, and our nation will be worse off because of it.

When the Chinese announced that they were going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, it sent shockwaves across the middle portion of the country.  According to the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, our farmers and ranchers will now be facing “just a really tough, tough time”

“This is a body blow to farmers and ranchers all across the country,” Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, told FOX Business. “That’s one of the things that we are feeling the effects of, and this is on top of a year when mother nature has been a terrible business partner in many parts of the country. It’s just a really tough, tough time for farmers and ranchers in this country.”

Shares of industrial, farming, oil and transportation companies have plummeted, a direct result of the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Of course President Trump is trying to be upbeat and he is promising that the Chinese will not be able to hurt our farmers, but the truth is that they already have.

Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products fell by more than half from 2017 to 2018, and now they are going to zero.  The following comes from Fox Business

Despite Trump’s tweet, American farmers now stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.

Unfortunately for U.S. farmers, they are caught right in the middle of a tug of war between the Chinese government and President Trump, and China specifically went after U.S. farmers in order to hurt Trump politically

China’s new agricultural ban has an additional benefit to the Chinese of maximizing negative political impact to Trump.

Important presidential election swing states in the Midwest grain belt such as Iowa and Wisconsin were vital to his 2016 election victory. Cutting this particular area of bilateral trade at a time when American farmers are recovering from the after-effects of this year’s floods is a potent way for Beijing to punch back against President Trump’s new tariffs.

If the presidential election was held this November, it would be really difficult for Trump to win in Iowa in Wisconsin.  Of course much can change between now and November 2020, but right now Trump is definitely losing support in the middle of the country.

Speaking of Wisconsin, it just happens to be one of the states that currently has the highest number of farm bankruptcy filings

Since last June, there have been a staggering 535 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, a 13 percent increase. Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had the highest number of filings.

As a result, Congress passed the Family Farmer Relief Act to update the eligibility requirements for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, raising the debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million — giving more farmers the chance to declare bankruptcy, thereby offering their producers and creditors a better chance to recognize and avoid mass liquidation.

President Trump will try to keep as many farms going as possible with his massive aid packages, but the truth is that even with those aid packages it is inevitable that farm bankruptcies will continue to surge.

In fact, they are already at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

What U.S. farmers really need is an end to the trade war and for the Chinese to start buying from them again.

Sadly, that is just not going to happen.  At this point, even Goldman Sachs is admitting that there will not be a trade deal with China before the 2020 presidential election…

Analysts at Goldman Sachs no longer think the U.S. and China will manage to negotiate a trade deal ahead of the 2020 presidential election — which is more than 15 months away.

“We had expected a final round of tariffs targeting remaining Chinese imports at a 10 percent rate,” the analysts, led by chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius, wrote in a note to clients. “But news since President Trump’s tariff announcement last Thursday indicates that U.S. and Chinese policymakers are taking a harder line, and we no longer expect a trade deal before the 2020 election.”

This means that things will continue to go from bad to worse for U.S. farmers, and this will take a major toll on the U.S. economy as a whole.

We have entered the time of “the perfect storm”, and things are definitely not going to get any easier in the months ahead.

I wish that I had better news for you, but I don’t.  Global events are starting to greatly accelerate, and so many of the things that we have been warned about are starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

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.

$1,400,000,000,000 Gone In Less Than A Week – Stock Market In Turmoil As The Trade War Dramatically Escalates

Our trade war with China has begun to spiral out of control, and as a result global financial markets have been thrown into a state of turmoil.  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 767 points, and that represented the sixth-largest single day stock market decline in all of U.S. history.  To put that into perspective, the biggest single day decline during the financial crisis of 2008 was just 777 points.  So what we witnessed on Monday was definitely very serious.  And the Nasdaq just got absolutely monkey-hammered as well.  On a percentage basis, it was down even more than the Dow was, and it has now fallen for six days in a row.  We have not seen a losing streak that long for the Nasdaq since President Trump was elected, and some analysts are convinced that even more chaos is on the way.

Overall, 1.4 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been completely wiped out in less than a week

It took just four brutal trading days for a $1.4 trillion wipeout in the S&P 500 stock value. From the Federal Reserve’s disappointing comments on the future of interest rates to President Donald Trump’s surprise tariffs to China’s weaponizing of the yuan, the record-long bull market took a big hit in a relatively short time.

European stocks have been getting clobbered as well.  In fact, they just experienced their largest two day decline in three years.

After Trump imposed another wave of tariffs on China at the end of last week, we knew that the Chinese would retaliate.  But we expected that the retaliation would be at least somewhat proportional.

Instead, they decided to bring down the hammer.

When Chris Krueger was asked about China’s retaliation, he said that “on a scale of 1-10, it’s an 11”.  The Chinese have announced that they are going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, and they shocked global financial markets when they allowed the yuan to drop like a rock early on Monday.  In response, the U.S. Treasury Department formally designated China as a “currency manipulator”, and it appears that any hopes for a trade deal between the United States and China before the 2020 presidential election are completely and utterly dead.  For an extended analysis of these events, please see the article that I just posted entitled “China Just Went Nuclear In The Trade War, And There Is No Turning Back Now”.

All along, most investors seemed to believe that all of the angry talk would eventually fade and that the U.S. and China would be able to work things out.

But that didn’t happen, and now we have crossed the point of no return.  Financial markets are finally starting to realize that this trade war is going to have very, very serious implications for major U.S. corporations, and this will especially be true for our largest tech companies.

Over the past two trading days, the big five tech companies have combined to lose 228 billion dollars in market value…

Tech’s big five companies lost $66 billion in market value on Friday, and Monday’s plunge brought the two-day drop to $228 billion. Apple had the biggest percentage decline, falling 5.2%. Apple told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in June that the latest proposed tariffs would hit “all of Apple’s major products.” Some analysts are projecting a significant impact.

Meanwhile, by the way, the price of gold has been soaring.

As I have repeatedly argued, something definitely needed to be done about China, but trying to bully them into making a deal was never, ever going to work.

They are a very proud people, and once we started repeatedly pushing them extremely hard, it was just a matter of time before they started pushing back

“Your back is put against the wall and you’re constantly being attacked. Pride starts to kick in, and it’s not surprising China has started to assert some of its force,” said Greg Peters, head of multi sector and strategy at PGIM Fixed Income. “I’m not sure what that means in real terms. It’s not different than any other life situations. You push someone hard enough and they start pushing back. … I never thought it was a good idea to act like it’s a scorched earth policy – I win, you lose. I continue to think that was never viable for the Chinese.”

Being aggressive can be an effective negotiating tool, but if you push too hard and too fast you run the risk of completely alienating the other party.

That appears to be what has happened in this case, and now all hopes for a trade deal are completely dead.  As Bonnie Glaser has noted, the “potential for compromise has past”…

“The timing couldn’t be worse,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The potential for compromise has past. Both sides are digging in and both leaders are first and foremost concerned about their domestic audiences. Politics is in the lead.”

Hopefully the markets will bounce back on Tuesday.  After being down quite a bit earlier, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are trading slightly higher as I write this article.

However, the truth is that this crisis isn’t going away.  There isn’t going to be a trade deal with China, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the global economy.

When a financial bubble pops, usually there is some sort of trigger that causes it to happen.  In 2008, it was the subprime mortgage meltdown.  This time around, it looks like the trigger could be our trade war with China.

As I noted a few days ago, our financial markets are more primed for a crash than they have ever been before.  And we are moving into the season when big crashes tend to happen.

Things have not looked this ominous since 2008, and a lot of investors are starting to get very nervous.

We shall see how the rest of this year plays out, but right now events certainly seem to be moving in a very alarming direction.

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 Pain Of This New Economic Downturn Is Starting To Show Up All Over The Country

It is going to take a miracle for the U.S. economy to pull out of this tailspin, because the economic numbers are really starting to deteriorate very rapidly now.  On Tuesday we got some more new numbers, and they were just as bad as we thought they might be.  But even before today’s numbers all of the data were telling us the exact same thing.  The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month decline in U.S. history, Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index just suffered the largest one month decline that we have ever seen, global trade numbers are the worst they have been since the last recession, and just last week I detailed the complete and utter “bloodbath” that we are witnessing in the U.S. trucking industry right now.  So considering what we already knew, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that new home sales in the U.S. were down a whopping 7.8 percent during the month of May…

Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 7.8% in May, as sales plunged in the pricier Northeastern and Western markets.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 in May, down from 679,000 in April. During the first five months of the year, purchases of new homes have fallen 3.7% compared to the same period in 2018.

Those are absolutely horrible numbers, and this is precisely what a recession looks like.

On Tuesday we also learned that U.S. consumer confidence is rapidly declining

Consumer confidence is on the decline.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index tumbled to 121.5 in June, dropping from a downwardly revised reading of 131.3 in May and snapping three consecutive months of improvements.

June’s results missed consensus expectations for a reading of 131.0, according to Bloomberg-compiled data, and marked the lowest level in nearly two years.

Once again, this is precisely what we would expect to see during a recession.

And yet I continue to see some clueless mainstream media reports that insist that the U.S. economy is doing well.  Apparently FedEx didn’t get that memo, because they lost nearly 2 billion dollars in the quarter ending May 31st…

In the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31, FedEx reported a loss of $1.97 billion, compared with profit of $1.13 billion a year earlier.

FedEx blamed this horrible number on the ongoing global economic slowdown, and unfortunately things are not likely to get any better for them any time soon.

Many in the mainstream media continue to speak of “the next recession” as some future event, but when we get the final economic numbers many months from now we may discover that it had already started by now.  In fact, one prominent economist recently stated that he believes that “we’re probably already in a recession”

Gary Shilling, an economist and financial analyst who is credited with predicting several recessions over the past 40 years, thinks the U.S. is in a relatively mild slump.

“I think we’re probably already in a recession but I think it will probably be a run-of-the-mill affair, which means real GDP would decline 1.5% to 2%, not the 3.5% to 4% you had in the very serious recessions,” Shilling, president of economic and financial research firm A. Shilling & Co., said in a recent interview broadcast this week by Real Vision.

And even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is now admitting that our economic outlook has become “cloudier”.  The following comes from ABC News

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday the economic outlook has become cloudier since early May, with rising uncertainties over trade and global growth causing the central bank to reassess its next move on interest rates.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Powell said the Fed is now grappling with the question of whether those uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and require action.

I find it very interesting that Powell chose the Council on Foreign Relations as the venue for this address.  I think that tells us a lot about where Powell’s true loyalties are.  The Council on Foreign Relations has dominated the political landscape in Washington for a long time, and this has been true no matter which political party has been in power.

Meanwhile, the global trade war continues to intensify, and over 300 companies are literally begging the Trump administration to find a way to end it

More than 300 companies are talking to government officials in Washington this month about how detrimental the trade war between the U.S. and China has been and will be to their business.

Testifying in front of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, major U.S. companies including Best Buy, HP and Hallmark Cards are voicing concerns about how the additional tariffs that President Donald Trump threatened to slap on China would impact their businesses and cause them to lose business to foreign competitors.

Sadly, it isn’t likely that the trade war will end any time soon.

In fact, it is probably much more likely that a shooting war will start in the Middle East instead.  And if that happens, our current economic problems will dramatically escalate.

The wheels are starting to come off, and the U.S. economy is beginning to spin out of control.  Perhaps the Federal Reserve will be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat and pull off a miracle once again, but I doubt it.  We haven’t seen conditions like this since the great financial crisis of 2008, and the remainder of 2019 threatens to be extremely “interesting” indeed.

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.

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.

Evidence That The U.S. Economy Could Be Plunging Into A Very Deep Recession Is Rapidly Mounting

Not since 2008 have we seen so much bad economic data come rolling in all at the same time.  Even without a war with Iran, which by the way is looking increasingly likely with each passing day, it definitely appears that the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward recession territory.  The employment numbers for last month were abysmal, global trade has collapsed to the lowest level that we have seen since the last recession, and manufacturing numbers just keep getting worse and worse.  In fact, the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month decline in history

The New York Fed’s Empire State business conditions index took a sharp turn for the worse in June, falling into negative territory for the first time in more than two years.

The Empire State manufacturing index plummeted 26.4 points to negative 8.6 in June, the New York Fed said Monday. That’s a record decline. Economists had expected a reading of positive 10, according to a survey by Econoday.

Not even during the last recession did we witness a plunge of that magnitude.

And other measures of U.S. manufacturing activity are also “sinking steadily”

And it’s not the only indicator showing a turn for the worse: Others, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, have also been sinking steadily.

When you step back and look at the big picture, it becomes quite clear what is happening.

At this point, it is simply not possible for anyone to credibly claim that the U.S. economy is still in good shape.  All of the numbers are pointing in the same direction, and Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist Michael Wilson made this point exceedingly well on Monday

Decelerations and disappointments are mounting:

  • Cass Freight Index
  • Retailer earnings
  • Durable goods orders
  • Capital spending
  • PMIs
  • May payrolls
  • Semiconductor inventories
  • Oil demand
  • Restaurant performance indices…

and our own Morgan Stanley Business Conditions Index (MSBCI). Looking at the MSBCI in particular, the headline metric showed the biggest one-month drop in its history going back to 2002 and very close to its lowest absolute reading since December 2008.

This index has a tight relationship with ISM new orders and analyst earnings revisions breadth. Our analysis shows downside risk to ISM new orders (25% y/y), S&P earnings revisions breadth (6-13%) and the S&P 500 y/y (8%) if historical links hold.

For much more on the collapse of the MSBCI, please see my previous article entitled “Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index Just Suffered The Biggest One Month Decline In History”.

Many analysts are pointing out that our economic problems really seemed to start accelerating once trade negotiations with China completely broke down, and this is true.

If the U.S. and China could find a way to reach a trade agreement, that would be a tremendous short-term boost to the economy at a time when we desperately need it.

But that isn’t going to happen unless President Trump completely caves in.  Because at this point the Chinese are extremely angry, and they are definitely in no mood to compromise.  In fact, one Chinese editorial that was recently published boldly declared that they are ready “to fight it out till the end”

“China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making that may escalate economic and trade frictions. China has no choice, nor escape route, and will just have to fight it out till the end,” the Qiushi commentary said. “No one, no force should underestimate and belittle the steel will of the Chinese people and its strength and tenacity to fight a war.”

When Americans are deeply suffering during the next recession, will they be willing to “fight it out till the end” like the Chinese are?

And if a trade war with China wasn’t enough, now we also have a trade war with India to deal with.  In fact, India just hit U.S. exports with a wave of very large tariffs

India just increased tariffs on US exports, dealing another blow to fragile global trade.

The tariffs on several US products will go into effect on June 16, India’s Finance Ministry said in a statement Saturday. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

Of course these tariffs were in retaliation for the tariffs that we hit India with after Trump kicked them out of a preferential trade program

The two countries exchange goods and services worth about $142 billion a year, but the relationship has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India’s participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

We were certainly heading for a recession even without these trade conflicts, but without a doubt they have made things substantially worse.

And now is definitely not a good time for a recession, because much of the country is completely and utterly unprepared for any sort of an economic downturn.  The following comes from an opinion piece authored by William Spriggs

One oft-cited statistic points to just how unstable the finances of most Americans are: nearly 40 percent of households could not withstand an unexpected expenditure of $400 — the cost of just one medical bill or car repair.

The most unnerving point to keep in mind is that we are even less prepared for a sudden slowing of the economy than we were before the Great Recession of 2008.

During the relatively stable economic times of the past few years, Americans should have been preparing instead of partying.

But instead, most Americans bought into the myth that our massively bloated debt-fueled standard of living could be perpetuated indefinitely.

So now a crisis is coming which many believe is going to be even worse than what we experienced in 2008, and most of us are going to be completely blindsided by it.

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.

Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index Just Suffered The Biggest One Month Decline In History

We continue to get more indications that U.S. economic conditions are going to deteriorate rapidly during the second half of this year.  Yesterday, I reported on a brand new survey which found that 69 percent of U.S. CFOs believe that a recession is coming “by the end of 2020”, and today we learned that Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index has fallen dramatically.  In fact, according to CNBC the sudden drop in the index was “the largest one-month decline on record”…

A reading of the economy from Morgan Stanley is signaling “June gloom.”

Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index, which captures turning points in the economy, fell by 32 points in June, to a level of 13 from a level of 45 in May. This drop is the largest one-month decline on record and the lowest level since December 2008 during the financial crisis, according to the firm.

At this point, I really don’t see how anyone can possibly claim that the U.S. economy is doing well.  We also just learned that U.S. unemployment claims have now risen for three weeks in a row, and the trade war is clearly beginning to take an immense toll on the economy.

This week, Walmart, Costco and hundreds of other companies jointly sent President Trump a letter that essentially begged him to end this trade war with China.  The following comes from CNN

More than 600 companies and industry trade associations — including Walmart, Costco, Target, Gap, Levi Strauss and Foot Locker — wrote to the White House urging Trump to remove levies on China and end the ongoing trade war.

“We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative, and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families, and the US economy,” the companies said in the letter. “An escalated trade war is not in the country’s best interest, and both sides will lose.”

Of course this is exactly what I have been telling my readers for a long time.

There aren’t going to be any winners in this trade war, and anyone that suggests that there will be is just being delusional.

If there had been a quick resolution to the trade war, large corporations could have perhaps swallowed the increased costs that they are facing.  But since it appears that this trade war will be with us for the foreseeable future, big companies are going to be forced to pass those costs on to consumers, and some top executives are openly admitting this

“At the end of the day, prices will go up on things,” Costco (COST) chief financial officer Richard Galanti told analysts last month. Dollar General (DG) Chief Financial Officer John Garratt also said the company’s low-income shopping base “will be facing higher prices as 2019 progresses.”

If prices go up but our paychecks stay the same, that means that our standard of living is going to go down.

And as I noted yesterday, it is being projected that U.S. corporate earnings will be way down in the second quarter, so the big corporations are definitely suffering as well.

Meanwhile, China is warning of substantial damage to their economy too, and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce just told the press that this trade war could lead to a global recession

Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Deng told a Beijing press conference on Thursday that “there will be no winner in the trade war, which could cause a recession in the United States and global economies.”

The ministry did not disclose US investment growth in China for the month of May alone, but the plunge seems to have coincided with the collapse of trade talks between Beijing and Washington.

Of course we were almost certainly heading toward a global recession anyway, but the trade war is definitely accelerating our problems.

At this point, global trade has already collapsed to levels not seen since the depths of the last recession.  Manufacturing numbers are plunging all over the world, and we just got some brand new numbers from the U.K. that are extremely alarming

Production output in the UK dropped by 2.7% in April from March, and GDP fell by 0.4% in just one month, according to the latest figures by the Office of National Statistics. The manufacturing sector provided the largest contribution to the downturn, with the manufacturing index plunging 3.9% in April, from March, its biggest monthly fall since June 2002.

June 2002 was 17 years ago.

Not even during the last recession did we witness a monthly decline of that magnitude.

The speed at which the global economy is now deteriorating is breathtaking, and the crisis that so many thought had passed us by could actually be right on the doorstep.

And of course most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for any sort of an economic crisis.  Today, 59 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and a survey that was just released discovered that the financial situation of most Americans has not improved since 2007

Bankrate surveyed 2,740 adults across the country. Of those surveyed, 2,315 were older than 18 when the recession started.

Among people who were adults before the recession hit, 33 percent said their financial situation is “about the same” as it was before 2007, while 23 percent said their situation is worse.

When you add those two numbers together, you get a total of 56 percent of all Americans that say that their financial situation is either “worse” or “about the same” as it was just before the last recession hit.

That isn’t good, and now another major downturn is here.

But of course most Americans assume that everything is going to be just fine.  For most of us, the pain of the last recession is a fading distant memory, and things have been relatively stable for an extended period of time.

So for the moment, most of the population is not too alarmed about what is coming.

Unfortunately, that will soon change in a major way.

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.

Economic Chaos Erupts! – Global Manufacturing Plunges, The Trade War Expands And The Nasdaq Enters Correction Territory

The global economic slowdown is really starting to accelerate.  Just within the past few days, we have gotten more really awful global manufacturing numbers, the trade war has expanded to more nations, and the Nasdaq has officially entered correction territory.  We have not witnessed this sort of global economic environment since the Great Recession, and if the economic chaos continues to escalate it won’t take too much to spark a brand new financial crisis.  Of course the global financial system is far more vulnerable than it was back in 2008, and so if we stay on the path that we are currently on we could be facing a nightmare scenario very rapidly.

Let’s talk about the manufacturing numbers first.  The numbers coming out of Germany are already at a crisis level, and manufacturing is also now contracting in Japan, South Korea and China as well.

Overall, global manufacturing as a whole has now fallen into contraction territory for the first time in seven years

Global manufacturing was the weakest since 2012 last month, a victim of mounting trade tensions and further reason to worry that the world economy is weakening.

With softness in Germany, Japan, the U.K. — as well as the lowest U.S. result in a decade — IHS Markit’s global Purchasing Managers Index fell to 49.8 in May, below the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction.

The reports underscore the growing threat posed by the escalating U.S.-China trade war, and they coincided with a fresh warning from Wall Street about recession risks.

The reason why so many people are freaking out about these numbers is because this is exactly what we would expect to see if we were entering a global recession.

Meanwhile, global financial markets are looking increasingly shaky.  On Monday, the Nasdaq fell another 120 points and it has now officially entered correction territory

Stocks ended mostly lower Monday, June’s first day of trading, amid reports that the U.S. government is planning to target a host of big tech companies with antitrust and business practice probes. Shares of Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Apple all weighed on the market during Monday’s session.

The Nasdaq dropped 1.6% to enter correction territory, closing more than 10% below its record high set in late April.

The term “correction territory” might not mean a lot to many of you, so let me put what is happening in terms you may understand.

On Monday alone, America’s most prominent tech stocks lost approximately 150 billion dollars in value.  It looks like the Trump administration is getting ready to go to war with the big tech companies, and that is really, really bad news for tech investors.  The following comes from Breitbart

The Masters of the Universe got hit hard by investors on Monday. Like $150 billion hard.

Shares of the top tech giants fell sharply on Monday after reports that U.S. antitrust regulators had divided up oversight of the sector, with the Department of Justice assuming responsibility for Alphabet and Apple and the Federal Trade Commission taking on Facebook and Amazon. This triggered fears that the government could mount challenges to the business models of the companies.

Shares of Alphabet dived 6.1 percent on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department is in the early stage of preparing an antitrust probe of the company. Reuters reported that the Department of Justice is also looking into Apple’s business for possible antitrust violations.

Speaking of war, our trade conflict with China continues to escalate.  The mainstream media hasn’t been talking much about it, but apparently the Chinese have decided to put purchases of U.S. soybeans “on hold” until a trade agreement is reached…

China, the world’s largest soybean buyer, has put purchases of American supplies on hold after the trade war between Washington and Beijing escalated, according to people familiar with the matter.

State-grain buyers haven’t received any further orders to continue with the so-called goodwill buying and don’t expect that to happen given the lack of agreement in trade negotiations, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

U.S. soybean farmers have been sitting on unprecedented amounts of soybeans in hopes that an end to the trade war would raise prices.

But instead, demand for U.S. soybeans is going to go through the floor, and this could potentially force thousands of soybean farmers into bankruptcy.

And in addition to our trade war with China, the Trump administration has apparently decided that now is a good time to start a trade war with Mexico

From produce to cars, a wide variety of Mexican goods could become more expensive if Trump follows through on his threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs that soon could climb to 25%. Trump wants to pressure Mexico into doing more to halt the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S. via the Mexican border.

The tariffs, set to begin June 10, would gradually climb to 25% on Oct. 1 if Mexico doesn’t take steps “to dramatically reduce or eliminate” the number of migrants, Trump said Thursday. Such a strategy would hurt American shoppers, the economy and stocks, experts say, just as U.S. growth is slowing and the threat of more tariffs on Chinese imports looms larger.

At least in this case the U.S. and Mexico are still talking, and so perhaps some kind of resolution can be reached.

On top of everything else, the Trump administration has also just decided to add India to the trade war as well

Mr. Trump on Friday said India would be removed from the U.S.’s privileged-trading program called the Generalized System of Preferences on Wednesday. Under the decadeslong program meant for some developing economies, the U.S. had allowed India to avoid tariffs on certain exports to the U.S. in the interest of promoting tighter trade ties and development.

India, the U.S.’s ninth-largest trading partner, is a top beneficiary of the GSP program. Mr. Trump’s move will add tariffs of as much as 7% on Indian exports of goods like chemicals, auto parts and tableware to the U.S., which in 2018 accounted for more than 11%, or $6.3 billion, of India’s total exports of goods valued at $54.4 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service, a research agency for the U.S. Congress.

A global trade war is going to be incredibly painful for everyone, and this is all happening at a time when the global economy was already starting to slow down substantially.

Here in the United States, a lot of businesses are really starting to notice a big decline in economic activity.  Here is just one example that was published on Zero Hedge earlier today…

Down here, in Texas, I am seeing a big drop in economic activity over the last 6 months. Our healthcare businesses’ volume over this period is at 629, down from 770, year-on-year, almost a 20% decline, and the worst six month decline in our 15 year history. We have been pulling out all of the stops for business development, cutting overhead, and running all the QC traps to determine if it is something within our business, within our local market, within our industry, or having to do with the economy in general.

In this period, we have seen seven competitors go out of business in our city. We have recently confirmed similar experiences with colleagues in Kentucky, Colorado, and elsewhere in Texas. One of them asked me, “If this is not temporary, what would the strategy be?” My response was, “Hunker in the bunker and wait for everyone else to die.”

This is what we have all been preparing for, and things are going to get progressively tougher in the months ahead.

Unfortunately, most Americans are completely and totally clueless about what is ahead.  Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and the truth is that the vast majority of us are entirely unprepared to go through another recession.

And of course many believe that what we are facing is going to be much worse than just a “recession”.  A perfect storm is rapidly coming together, and the chaos that we have seen so far is nothing compared to what is rapidly approaching.

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.

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