“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market.  With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight.  During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent.  Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years.  And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory.  Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

Markets were dinged by a batch of negative corporate and economic developments, especially weak growth numbers out of China and Europe.

“Something is wrong here. There is this global slowdown. We can’t deny it,” said Michael Block, market strategist at Third Seven Advisors, a private wealth management firm.

We most certainly are in a global economic slowdown, and this is something that I have been telling my readers for months.

On Friday, we got more troubling numbers out of China.  The following comes from CNBC

China reported industrial output and retail sales growth numbers for November that missed expectations. This is the latest sign shown by China that its economy may be slowing down. The data also underscored the rising risks to China’s economy as Beijing works to resolve an ongoing trade war with the U.S.

“The economic data continues to bear out growth is slowing,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “There is still a lot of positive positioning out there. As the data continues to slow, people are feeling less comfortable with that and start to sell.”

Markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and the losses are really starting to pile up.

Here is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage that we have witnessed over the last several months…

  • Dow -10.5% from highs
  • S&P -11.3% from highs – lowest weekly close since March 2018
  • Nasdaq Comp -14.6% from highs
  • Trannies -17.8% from highs – Nov 2017 lows, worst 2-week drop since Aug 2011
  • Russell 2000 -18.5% from highs – lowest since Sept 2017

Financial stocks have been getting hit particularly hard.

S&P financials have now declined 20.3 percent from the 52-week high, and that officially puts them in bear market territory.

The S&P bank index has fallen even farther.  It is now down 24 percent from the 52-week high, and global banking stocks overall have been absolutely crashing.

Banking stocks led the way down in 2008, and now it is happening again.

This is very quickly becoming an extremely serious situation.  Trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of “paper wealth” is evaporating all over the globe, and we are witnessing disappointing economic numbers just about everywhere.

We will see what happens on Wall Street next week.  The second half of December is normally a very sleepy time for the markets, but that may not happen this year.  Volatility has returned with a vengeance, and we have already set an all-time record in 2018 for big moves of the VIX

The S&P 500 has averaged a daily range of 2 percent for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed with triple-digit moves in all but three sessions.

Big moves have pushed the VIX to a record 13 one-day moves of more than 20 percent this year.

Over the past few years, a lot of Americans have become deeply complacent, and that is a huge mistake.  Just because our long-term financial problems were delayed does not mean that they were canceled.

The truth is that nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.  Without a doubt we will pay a very great price for our mistakes, and a day of reckoning is inevitably coming.

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 to do so.

Sabotage: The Deep State Has Destroyed Trump’s Chances Of A Trade Deal With China, And The Stock Market Is Tanking As A Result

Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China.  Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China’s most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada.  Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go.  Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei’s evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran.  When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place.  So now all of Trump’s hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.

If U.S. authorities wanted to punish Huawei, they should have just slapped a big fine on them and have been done with it.

The Chinese would have been annoyed, but not that much damage would have been done.

But kidnapping a high profile member of Chinese tech loyalty and throwing her in prison is something that the Chinese will not forgive.

The Chinese are a deeply nationalistic people, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou is being treated as a grave national insult in China.  If the goal of the Deep State was to really upset the Chinese, they picked a perfect target.  The following comes from Robert Wenzel

“This is a really big deal. Ms. Meng is by birth and position a member of China’s corporate royalty,” David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, is quoted by TGM as having said.

According to TGM, Meng, 46, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was appointed CFO of Huawei in 2011 and is also one of four deputy chairs. She appears to be being groomed for the top job at Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Just imagine how Americans would feel if China kidnapped a high profile member of our tech royalty and multiply that outrage by about 10.

Until Meng Wanzhou is let go, there is not going to be any deal with China.  Many Americans are not familiar with Huawei, but they are essentially China’s version of Apple or Microsoft.  The following originally comes from CNN

Huawei is one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. It is at the heart of China’s ambitions to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and become an innovation powerhouse in its own right.

The country is pumping hundreds of billions into its “Made in China 2025” plan, which aims to make China a global leader in industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips. The introduction of 5G wireless technology, which hinges on Huawei, is a top priority.

Meng Wanzhou is not just the CFO of the company.  She is also the daughter of the founder of the company and she is considered to be a hero by millions of Chinese.

So what in the world is the Deep State thinking?  Are we going to start regularly kidnapping individuals that work for foreign corporations that have somehow violated U.S. laws?

And should Americans expect the same treatment?  How would you like it if your mother or daughter was kidnapped while changing planes in a foreign country because the company that she works for had committed some sort of violation?

I don’t want to make it sound like Huawei is perfectly innocent, because they aren’t.  But this is a move that is not just going to ensure a nightmarish trade war with China.  Ultimately, things could get a whole lot worse than that.

At this point, the Chinese have summoned the U.S. ambassador and have formally demanded Meng Wanzhou’s release

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities “at the unreasonable behest of the United States.”

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

It would be wonderful if Meng Wanzhou was released, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

So now our relationship with China is officially in the toilet, and this is one of the factors that could push stock prices much lower once again this week.  In fact, as I write this article Dow futures are way down

U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as traders feared an intensifying trade war between the United States and China.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 197 points, implying a decline of 173.95 points at Monday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also declined. The losses would add to a steep decline from last week.

This current “correction” was supposed to be over by the time December rolled around, but instead stock prices accelerated their decline last week.

And many of those that work in financial circles are starting to use language that is much more pessimistic than we have become accustomed to seeing.  Here is just one example

“We’re very mindful once again where we’re at in the cycle,” Gregory Carmichael, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based lender Fifth Third, said at a conference last week. “We’re well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy, and we’ll be very cautious.”

I don’t know what “well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy” means exactly, but it sounds nice.

It frustrates me that so few people seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.  Our stores are filled with cheap products that come from China and they own more than a trillion dollars of our national debt.  The two largest economies in the entire world are decoupling from one another, and if the Chinese conclude that they are not able to salvage the relationship then they will rapidly become an exceedingly dangerous enemy.

This is a major turning point, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou has put us on a road that doesn’t lead anywhere good.  Hopefully things can rapidly be fixed, because if not, events are likely to start escalating quite dramatically.

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

“Panic-like selling” grips Wall Street as the economic numbers point to “a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit”

Fear is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and on Friday we witnessed yet another wave of panic selling.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 559 points, closing at 24,389.  Previously I had warned that once we solidly broke through 25,000 that it could trigger an avalanche of panic selling, and that is precisely what has happened.  The Dow is now down more than 9 percent from the peak in early October, but the S&P 500 is doing even worse.  The S&P 500 is now down 10.2 percent from the September peak, and that means that it is officially in correction territory.  It has now been two solid months, and the sell-off on Wall Street shows no signs of abating.

And for certain sectors, the carnage that has been unfolding can definitely be called a “crash”.

FANG stocks are now down 24 percent from the peak, and global systemically important banks have now fallen a whopping 33 percent from the 52-week high.

Ladies and gentlemen, the big banks are officially in trouble once again, and it is going to be a wild ride moving forward.

And the way that things wrapped up for the markets on Friday has many wondering what Monday will bring.  According to one key index, investors were dumping stocks so rapidly on the Nasdaq on Friday afternoon that it was officially considered to be “panic-like activity”

Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange’s Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068.

Thanks to Friday’s nightmare, this week ended up being the worst week for U.S. stocks since March.

This wasn’t supposed to happen in December.  According to the experts, we were due for a nice “Santa Claus rally” and everybody was supposed to go home for the holidays really happy.

But that hasn’t happened.  Instead, the markets are coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.

And guess who CNN is blaming for the stock market decline?

I’ll give you just one guess, and his name rhymes with “Gump”.  The following comes from CNN

From “Tariff Man” tweets and inverting yield curves to conflicting messages from Trump advisers and the arrest of a Chinese executive, there is no shortage of headlines keeping investors awake at night.

They don’t want to admit that the same thing would be happening if Hillary Clinton was in the White House.

This isn’t about politics.  This is about a financial system that has always been destined to collapse.

Meanwhile, the stunning implosion of the cryptocurrency bubble continues to accelerate.  At this point, the price of Bitcoin has now fallen more than 80 percent from where it was a year ago…

In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000. Flash forward to December 2018 and bitcoin is now trading a little below $3,400. That’s a more than 80% plunge. Bitcoin is at a 15-month low.

But prices have really gotten whacked this week, falling nearly 20% in just the past five days alone.

Other major cryptos such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litcoin have experienced similar crashes.

Yes, this is really happening.  Bubble after bubble is bursting, and a day of reckoning for the global financial system is here.

Things are unfolding just as myself and so many others have been warning.  Over the past couple of years, there has been a bubble of false hope even though none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis were ever fixed.  Instead, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks simply patched things together and inflated the bubbles to a much larger degree than we had ever seen before.

Now everything is unraveling, and many of the “experts” are still in denial.  I really like how Peter Schiff made this point during a recent interview…

“What has happened in the last week is very, very bullish for the price of gold, and the price of gold is not catching much of a bid. I think again, the main reason for this is because nobody gets it. People still think this is a bull market. They’re not worried about the decline. They think it’s just a buying opportunity. It’s just a correction. They still think the economy is good. Even though the bond market doesn’t, even though the yield curve is inverting in the front end of the curve, people are dismissing that. They’re dismissing the housing data; they’re dismissing the build in the crude inventories. They’re not looking at any of the real data because nobody wants to believe it. Everybody still wants to believe all the hype — that this economy is great, that this economy is booming. Nobody wants to deal with the truth; because you know how grim the reality is? Because if you have to accept the fact that this economy is going into recession, then you have to accept a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit.

As always, Peter Schiff is making a lot of sense.

If you follow my work on a regular basis, than you already know that I have been highlighting the gloomy economic numbers as they have been steadily rolling out.

All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down.

All of the numbers tell us that we are heading into a recession (if we are not already in one).

And all of the numbers tell us that another great financial crisis is now upon us.

The time for false hope is over.  Now is a time to come to grips with reality, because things are going to get very tough in the months ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wild And Unprecedented Price Fluctuations Are Causing Financial Chaos For U.S. Businesses

In every war there is a high price to pay, and this trade war will not be any different.  The normal flow of goods and services around the globe is being severely disrupted, and even though this trade war has barely just begun, it is already having an enormous impact on the U.S. economy.  Even if we ultimately win this trade war and the Trump administration is able to achieve all of the goals that it is targeting, there will still be a great cost in the short-term.  We are going to see businesses fail, we are going to see workers get laid off, and global economic activity will inevitably contract.  Heck, at this point even Fox News is calling this trade war “economic suicide”.  We live at a time when a delicately balanced formula of economic factors allows us to live a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what we actually deserve.  Now we are messing with that formula, and the consequences are likely to be far more severe than most Americans are anticipating.

Let’s start by talking about steel and aluminum.  One of the chief goals of the tariffs was to help the steel and aluminum industries, and thanks to those tariffs we have seen the price of U.S. steel rise 36 percent since the beginning of 2018…

For instance, US steel and aluminum prices have soared since the imposition of tariffs. US midwest hot-rolled coil steel price, the US steel price benchmark, soared 36% between the start of the year and the start of July. This in turn causes prices of goods made with the metal to rise.

That is good news for the U.S. economy, right?

Actually, it isn’t.

Every product that uses steel and aluminum is now going to cost more.

In many cases, a lot more.

For instance, one grill company is reporting that they have had to raise prices “by almost $350 per grill”

Middleby Residential, a California-based company that makes Lynx grills, told the Dallas Morning News that even though the company uses US steel, the recent price pressures have driven up costs by almost $350 per grill.

Do you want to pay an extra $350 for your next grill?

Retail prices for washer and dryers are surging as well.  They have increased by 20 percent compared to a year ago, and that is because prices for raw materials are skyrocketing

Whirlpool Corp trimmed its full-year profit outlook as it booked a large charge on its European operations and said it wouldn’t be able to offset the effect of steel tariffs with higher prices for consumers.

The company said Monday it now expects to pay about $350 million more this year from rising raw-material costs as it faces “a very challenging cost environment.”

Anybody that purchases any products that contain steel and/or aluminum will be feeling these prices increases.

And any business that uses steel and/or aluminum on a regular basis is going to be feeling an enormous amount of pain.  For example, the largest nail company in America is already laying off workers

When President Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last month, America’s largest nail manufacturer had little choice but to raise its prices. Mid Continent Nail Corporation quickly lost 50 percent of its orders as customers opted for cheaper suppliers. Within weeks, the firm had to lay off 60 workers. Up to 200 more might lose their jobs by the end of this month.

All over the country, companies are going to be forced to either raise prices, fire workers or move production facilities out of the United States.

Meanwhile, farmers all over America are facing a different problem.  Thanks to a massive decline in demand from China (thanks to tariffs that they have hit us with), prices are plummeting and warehouses are filling up with food that doesn’t have anywhere to go.

Every year, the U.S. usually imports about 14 billion dollars worth of soybeans to China, and I covered the plight of soybean farmers in a previous article.  But of course soybean farmers are far from alone.  It is being reported that more than 2.5 billion pounds of meat and poultry products that have been produced by our farmers is being stockpiled in cold-storage warehouses.  To help the agricultural community, President Trump announced 12 billion dollars in aid to farmers on Tuesday

As President Donald Trump embarks on a multistate tour through parts of the country hit heavily by trade battles, his administration said Tuesday it will direct $12 billion to farmers whose harvests have been hurt by tariffs.

But the idea faced immediate criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Responding to farm groups and the Republican discontent, administration officials said they have been working since April on a short-term plan to shore up slipping prices for soybeans, pork and other crops hit with retaliatory tariffs from China.

Sure, this will help farmers get through the trade war in the short-term, but isn’t this exactly the kind of big government socialism that we are always railing against?

And who is going to bail out the real estate industry?

CNBC is reporting that home sales fell a whopping 11.8 percent year over year in southern California last month…

Southern California home sales hit the brakes in June, falling to the lowest reading for the month in four years. Sales of both new and existing houses and condominiums dropped 11.8 percent year over year, as prices shot up to a record high, according to CoreLogic. The report covers Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties.

And do you know who has been fueling the extremely hot real estate market on the west coast?

The Chinese.

At one time they were buying up everything in sight, but now they have become net sellers of U.S. real estate.

And there are rumblings that we could soon see some sort of “national boycott” of American goods in China.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

The survey found that 54 percent of 2,000 respondents in 300 cities across China would “probably” or “definitely” stop buying US-branded goods “in the event of a trade war”. Just 13 percent said they would not.

The remaining 33 percent said they were unsure or did not at present buy US branded goods, according to the survey, conducted for FT Confidential Research (FTCR), a research unit at the Financial Times.

The survey was carried out between June 27 and July 10, mostly before the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods on July 6. The move elicited an immediate tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

Of course something similar could be tried in the United States, but most Americans simply do not care if a product comes from China or not.  They are simply going to buy the cheapest stuff no matter what anyone tells them to do.

Look, I very much understand that we have been sending businesses and jobs overseas for a very long time.  I have been writing about this for years, and something had to be done.

But trying to fight trade wars with virtually everyone else on the planet simultaneously is madness, and the consequences for the U.S. economy are going to cause all of us an immense amount of pain.

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

The Trade War Is Already Having A Huge Impact On The U.S. Economy

The trade war has barely just begun, and yet significant ripple effects are already being felt all across the U.S. economy.  Once thriving businesses are on the verge of failure, workers are being laid off, and some sectors of the economy are witnessing enormous price hikes.  Right now the mainstream media is absolutely fixated on the drama surrounding the recently concluded Trump-Putin summit meeting, but the consequences of this trade war will ultimately be far more important for the lives of most ordinary Americans.  As more tariffs continue to be implemented, this will perhaps be the biggest disruption to the global economic system that we have seen in decades.  Perhaps you have not been affected personally yet, but for many Americans this trade war has changed everything.  For example, just consider the plight of soybean farmer Tim Bardole

The U.S. is China’s second-biggest source of soybeans at 34% of the imports, after Brazil, which ships 53%. The staple is used to make cooking oil and seasoning, and soybean meal is found in pig feed.

Now the tariffs have taken the bottom out of U.S. soybean prices, delivering a gut punch to farmers like Tim Bardole. He was already $100,000 in the red last year due to a yearslong slump in cereal prices, and the current predicament has driven him into a corner.

“I’m not sure if I can get a loan from the bank to finance our next year’s crop,” said Bardole.

If this trade war had not happened, perhaps Bardole would have been able to eventually get out of debt.  But now he is facing financial ruin and the potential loss of his entire farm.

Switching gears, U.S. consumers will soon discover that common electronics such as phones and computers cost a lot more.  The following comes from CBS News

Buyers in the U.S. will soon see price hikes on computers, phones, thermostats and “everyday items,” according to the Information Technology Industry Council, a group that represents tech companies.

Hundreds of Chinese components that the Trump administration penalized are used to make everything from LEDs to sensors to printer and scanner components. When manufacturers pay more for their parts, the costs are typically passed on to consumers, the ITI said.

Are you ready to pay 50 dollars for your next phone to support this trade war?

Maybe.

50 dollars is ultimately not that big of a deal.

But what about paying $9,000 more for your next house?

Tariffs on lumber coming from the evil Canadians are adding about $9,000 to the cost of a new house, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Washing machine prices have jumped some 15% this year, the fastest increase ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are you starting to understand why starting trade wars with all of our major trading partners simultaneously was a really bad idea?

We are about to see major price hikes in just about every sector of the economy.  According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the average American could pay over $5,000 more for their next vehicle

Consumers may see an average price increase of $5,800 if a 25 percent import tariff that Mr. Trump has threatened goes into effect, according to estimates cited by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), a lobbying group for carmakers.

That’s a “$45 billion tax on consumers,” the group said, citing an analysis of Commerce Department data.

U.S. consumers are already stretched to the max, and they will not be able to easily absorb these price increases.

Meanwhile, farm incomes all across the interior of the country are going to be absolutely devastated by this trade war.  Just check out these numbers

The American Farm Bureau says it expects farm incomes to drop to a 12-year low this year, largely because of the trade war.

An agricultural economist at Purdue University, Christopher Hurt, added that 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans would have made a farmer a $42,000 profit on June 1. Now, it could net him a $126,000 loss.

And as I mentioned above, many businesses all over the United States that rely heavily on exports are already struggling so mightily that they have to lay off workers.  The following comes from USA Today

In Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Mid-Continent Nail, the nation’s largest nail maker, laid off 60 workers last month. Sales plunged 70 percent after Trump placed a 25 percent tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada. When the company boosted its prices, customers defected. Now, Mid-Continent is strongly considering a second round of 200 layoffs, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton says, and all 500 employees could be axed by Labor Day.

Yes, we desperately needed to do something about China and other trade partners that were taking advantage of us.  But there is a right way to handle things and a wrong way to handle things, and starting a trade war with everyone at the same time is a really, really bad idea.

I think that a recent piece by Thomas Grennes, a professor of economics at North Carolina State University, made this point quite well

The Trump administration has said that tariffs are a negotiating technique that need not be implemented. Now that tariffs are in place, they say other countries will soon back down. However, trading partners have not backed down, and, in fact, retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports are already in place. Foreign officials have expressed confusion about exactly what concessions the US government wants. Currently, no formal negotiations are taking place. Higher future tariffs are being announced regularly. There are no signs of an end to this tariff war. When will both sides recognize that interfering with voluntary trade is harmful to both parties? Trade wars are lose-lose propositions.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that most Americans have any idea how exceedingly painful this trade war could potentially become.

The longer it lasts, the worse things will get, and ultimately it could tip the U.S. economy into the worst recession that any of us have ever experienced.

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

An Absolutely Epic Escalation Of The Trade War Has Us On The Precipice Of A Cataclysmic Global Economic Crisis

If Americans really understood how much their standard of living was about to change, the streets of our major cities would be packed with protesters by tomorrow morning.  For the past several decades, China and other low cost exporters have been flooding our shores with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cheap goods.  This is the only reason why you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a shirt for three bucks.  But since we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us, we ultimately have to go back to those other nations and beg them to lend our money back to us so that we can pay our bills.  This sick, twisted co-dependent relationship has enabled Americans to live a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what we deserve, and now our rapidly escalating trade war with China is going to bring the party to a crashing halt.  On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a list of $200,000,000,000 worth of Chinese exports that will be hit with 10 percent tariffs.  Those tariffs are in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that had previously been announced on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese exports.  These new tariffs are scheduled to go into effect on August 30th, and the Chinese have already pledged to retaliate.

In essence, our trade war with China has now “gone nuclear”, and this is going to have extremely serious implications for the U.S. economy.  The following is a short excerpt from the statement that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released about these new tariffs…

On Friday, in response to unfair Chinese practices, the United States began imposing tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. These tariffs will eventually cover up to $50 billion in Chinese imports as legal processes conclude. The products targeted by the tariffs are those that benefit from China’s industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices.

China has since retaliated against the United States by imposing tariffs on $34 billion in U.S. exports to China, and threatening tariffs on another $16 billion. It did this without any international legal basis or justification.

As a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China’s harmful industrial policies.

Without a doubt, something needed to be done about China’s unfair trade practices.  The Chinese manipulate currency rates, they impose very high tariffs on U.S. goods, and they have been stealing our intellectual property for decades.

But it is very unlikely that anyone is going to “win” this trade war, and in the short-term all it is going to mean is a whole lot of economic and financial pain.

According to Politico, the new tariff list that was just released hits a very broad range of products…

The new tariff list broadens the types of goods caught up in the trade war by targeting items like seafood, minerals, chemicals, and personal care items, such as shampoo and soap. It also includes a number of consumer products such as handbags, luggage, gloves and paper.

Do you buy any of those things?

Well, expect to pay significantly more in the not too distant future.

When compiling this new list, the Trump administration specifically “took into account what could cause disruptions to China’s economy”.  The following comes from CNBC

Some of the products on the list facing tariffs are from Made in China 2025 sectors, the official said. Made in China 2025 is a strategic plan to make China a leader in key global industries, including technology.

When compiling the list of goods, the U.S. Trade Representative took into account what could cause disruptions to China’s economy.

So what do you think that the Chinese are going to do in response?

Yes, they are going to look at measures that will “cause disruptions to America’s economy”.

The Chinese are a very proud people, and they aren’t stupid.  They know where our pain points are, and they will not be afraid to go for the jugular.

China cannot match this round of U.S. tariffs dollar for dollar, because China only imports approximately 130 billion dollars worth of U.S. goods a year.

But China could decide to cut off some or all agricultural imports from the United States, and that would be absolutely devastating to many farming states.  In fact, many farming states are already feeling substantial pain from the tariffs that China has already imposed…

“Agricultural states, I think, are being hit the hardest,” said Rodney Ludema, a Georgetown University professor and former senior international economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. The tariffs spare states “that are heavily service-dependent, like New York.”

In terms of value, some 38 percent of products on the tariff list are agricultural, including soybeans, sorghum, tobacco and meat, said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That’s bad news for farm-belt states, primarily in the Midwest.

In addition, China could decide to “go nuclear” by cutting off U.S. investment in China, by restricting our access to rare earth elements, or by dumping our debt.

The only reason why we have even been able to get to 21 trillion dollars in debt is because nations such as China have been buying our debt at ultra-low interest rates that are way below the real rate of inflation.

If China quit buying our debt and started dumping their current holdings, interest rates would start skyrocketing and we would be in a world of hurt almost immediately.

We don’t have the kind of leverage that some people seem to think that we have.  And there are many prominent experts that are warning that we are heading for catastrophic consequences.  For example, just consider what David Stockman recently told CNBC…

The United States is heading to a “massive trade war” because President Donald Trump “doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said former Reagan budget director David Stockman.

“We have an absurd policy — dangerous, stupid. The worst that I’ve seen since my whole career started in 1970 under [President Richard] Nixon, and he did some crazy things,” Stockman said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

The financial markets have reacted very strongly to these latest developments.  As soon as the new tariffs were announced, Asian stocks began to drop and Dow futures plummeted about 300 points from the closing highs.

Unfortunately, most ordinary Americans simply do not grasp the importance of what is happening, because we have never seen anything like this in modern American history.  The two largest economies on the entire planet are now in a state of economic conflict, and there is no way that this is going to end well.

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