It’s official – 2015 was a horrible year for stocks. On the last day of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 178 points, and overall it was the worst year for the Dow since 2008. But of course the Dow was far from alone. The S&P 500, the Russell 2000 and Dow Transports also all had their worst years since 2008. Isn’t it funny how these things seem to happen every seven years? But compared to other investments, stocks had a relatively “good” year. In 2015, junk bonds, oil and industrial commodities all crashed hard – just like they all did just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008. According to CNN, almost 70 percent of all investors lost money in 2015, and things are unfolding in textbook fashion for much more financial chaos in 2016.
Globally, over the past 12 months we have seen financial shaking unlike anything that we have experienced since the last great financial crisis. During the month of August markets all over the world started to go haywire, and at one point approximately 11 trillion dollars of financial wealth had been wiped out globally according to author Jonathan Cahn.
Since that time, U.S. stocks rebounded quite a bit, but they still ended red for the year. Other global markets were not nearly as fortunate. Some major indexes finished 2015 down 20 percent or more, and European stocks just had their second worst December ever.
I honestly don’t understand the “nothing is happening” crowd. The numbers clearly tell us that a global financial crisis began in 2015, and it threatens to accelerate greatly as we head into 2016.
Actually, there are a whole lot of people out there that would be truly thankful if “nothing” had happened over the past 12 months. For example, there are five very unfortunate corporate CEOs that collectively lost 20 billion dollars in 2015…
Five CEOs of companies in the Russell 1000 index, including Nicholas Woodman of camera maker GoPro (GPRO), Sheldon Adelson of casino operator Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and even the famed investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), lost more money on their companies’ shares than any other CEOs this year, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.
These five CEOs were handed a whopping collective $20 billion loss on their company stock in 2015. Each and every one of these CEOs lost $1 billion or more – based on the average number of shares they’ve owned this year.
The biggest loser of the group was Warren Buffett.
He lost an astounding 7.8 billion dollars in 2015.
Do you think that he believes that “nothing happened” this past year?
And if “nothing happened”, then why are hedge funds “dropping like flies” right now? The following comes from Zero Hedge…
Two days, ago we noted that hedge funds are now dropping like flies in a year in which generating alpha has become virtually impossible for the majority of the vastly overpaid 2 and 20 “smart money” out there (and where levered beta is no longer the “sure thing” it used to be when the Fed was pumping trillions into stocks) when we reported that Seneca Capital, the $500 million multi-strat hedge fund belonging to Doug Hirsh (of Sohn Investment Conference fame), is shutting down.
And just within the last 24 hours, another very prominent hedge fund has collapsed. SAB Capital, which once managed more than a billion dollars, is shutting down after huge losses this year. Here is more from Zero Hedge…
It turns out that despite our intention, the question was not rhetorical because just a few hours later Bloomberg answered when it reported that the latest hedge fund shutdown casualty was another iconic, long-term investor: Scott Bommer’s SAB Capital, which as of a year ago managed $1.1 billion, and which after 17 years of managing money and after dropping roughly 11% in the first eight month of 2015, has decided to return all outside client money, and converting the hedge fund into a family office (after all one has to preserve one’s offshore tax benefits).
Overall, 674 hedge funds shut down during the first nine months of this year, and the final number for 2015 will actually be far higher because the rate of closings has accelerated as we have approached the end of this calendar year. When the final numbers come in, I would not be surprised to hear that 1,000 hedge funds had closed up shop in 2015.
Meanwhile, underlying economic conditions continue to deteriorate.
The Chicago purchasing manager index unexpectedly plunged to 42.9 in December, its lowest reading since July 2009.
Any reading below 50 signals a contraction in business activity.
This was down from 48.7 in November and much worse than the 50.0 expected by economists.
When the final numbers for the fourth quarter are in a few months from now, I believe that they will show that the U.S. economy officially entered recession territory at this time.
And the truth is that deep recessions have already started for some of the other biggest economies on the planet. For example, I recently wrote about the deep troubles that Canada is now experiencing, and things have already gotten so bad in Brazil that Goldman Sachs is referring to that crisis as “an outright depression“.
Many people seem to assume that since I have a website called “The Economic Collapse Blog” that I must want everything to fall apart. But that is not true at all. I love my country, I enjoy my life, and I would be perfectly content to spend 2016 peacefully passing the time here in the mountains with my wonderful wife. The longer things can stay somewhat “normal”, the better it is for all of us.
Unfortunately, for decades we have been making incredibly foolish decisions as a society, and the consequences of those decisions are now catching up with us in a major way.
Jonathan Cahn likes to say that “a great shaking is coming”, and I very much agree with him.
In fact, I think that it is going to be here a lot sooner than most people think.
So buckle up, because I believe that 2016 is going to be quite a wild ride.
If we really are plunging into a deflationary global financial crisis, we would expect to see commodity prices crash hard. That happened just before the great stock market crash of 2008, and that is precisely what is happening once again right now. On Thursday, the Bloomberg Commodity Index closed at 79.1544. The last time that it closed this low was 16 years ago. Not even during the worst moments of the last recession did it ever get so low. Overall, the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down more than 28 percent over the past 12 months, and it has plummeted by more than half since mid-2011. As a result of this stunning commodity collapse, extremely large mining companies such as Anglo American are imploding, giant commodity trading firms such as Glencore and Trafigura are in full-blown crisis mode, and huge portions of the global financial system are in danger of utterly collapsing.
In recent days, I have been trying to stress that many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008 are happening once again. This includes the staggering crash of commodity prices that we are currently witnessing, and even CNN acknowledges that there are parallels to what we experienced seven years ago…
The last time raw materials like copper and oil were this cheap, an economic depression loomed just around the corner.
It’s no secret that commodities in general have had a horrendous 2015. A nasty combination of overflowing supply and soft demand has wreaked havoc on the industry.
But prices for everything from crude oil to industrial metals like aluminum, steel, copper, platinum, and palladium have collapsed even further in recent days.
As I mentioned above, this crash in prices is hitting mining companies really hard. Just this week, the fifth largest mining company in the entire world announced a massive restructuring and will be laying off tens of thousands of workers…
In the latest example of just how bad things have gotten, Anglo American–the world’s fifth largest miner–just kitchen sink-ed it, announcing a sweeping restructuring, a massive round of layoffs, and a dividend cut. The company will reduce its assets by some 60% while headcount will be cut by a whopping 85,000 or, nearly two-thirds.
Overall, the U.S. has lost approximately 123,000 good paying jobs from the mining sector since the end of 2014. And if commodity prices stay low, this sector is going to continue to bleed good paying jobs.
Meanwhile, investors have been dumping the debt of any companies that have anything to do with commodities. This has significantly contributed to the emerging junk bond crisis that I discussed in my last article. As I write this, a high yield bond ETF known as JNK has fallen all the way down to 34.31, which is the lowest that it has been since the last recession. For much more on the junk bond implosion, I would encourage you to read an article that Wolf Richter just put out entitled “Bond King Gets Antsy as Junk Bonds, Which Lead Stocks, Spiral to Heck“.
So why are commodity prices falling so rapidly?
Many analysts are pointing to the economic slowdown in China as the primary reason. For years, the Chinese economy voraciously gobbled up commodities from sources all over the planet, but now things are changing. The Chinese economy is really, really slowing down, and some recently released numbers give us some clues as to the true extent of that slowdown…
-Chinese exports fell 6.8 percent in November on a year over year basis after being down 6.9 percent on a year over year basis in October.
-Chinese imports were down 8.7 percent in November on a year over year basis.
-Chinese manufacturing activity has been contracting for nine months in a row.
-Last week, the China Containerized Freight Index plummeted to 718.58 – the lowest level ever recorded.
And of course it isn’t just China. Goldman Sachs says that the seventh largest economy on the entire planet, Brazil, has plunged into a “depression“. And as I pointed out the other day, of the 93 largest stock market indexes in the entire world, an astonishing 47 of them (more than half) are down at least 10 percent year to date.
Even though stocks slid in the U.S. this week, the major indexes still seem somewhat stable. But this is a bit of an illusion. Yes, the biggest names on Wall Street are still flying high for the moment, but shares of a multitude of smaller and mid-size firms have been plummeting. At this point, nearly 70 percent of all U.S. stocks are already below their 200 day moving averages. This is yet another thing that we would expect to see just before the bottom falls out for stocks.
Everything that I have been writing about this week (see here and here) is perfectly consistent with all of my warnings from earlier this year.
We are plunging into a deflationary financial crisis in textbook fashion. And if the Federal Reserve actually does decide to go ahead with an interest rate hike next week that is just going to make things even worse.
But most people are not patient enough to watch a process play out. Most people that write about “the coming economic collapse” hype it up like it is going to be some sort of big Hollywood blockbuster that is going to happen over a week or a month and then be over. That is definitely not the way that I see things.
To me, “the economic collapse” is something that has been happening for decades, that is still in the process of happening right now, and that will continue to happen as we move forward into the future. The long-term trends that are ripping our economy to shreds continue to intensify, and our leaders are not doing anything to fix our underlying fundamental problems.
And the financial crisis that I warned would start during 2015 and accelerate in 2016 has already begun. More than half of all major global stock market indexes are down by at least 10 percent year to date, and some of them have plummeted by more than 30 or 40 percent. Trillions of dollars of wealth has been wiped out around the globe, and this is just the beginning.
All of the numbers tell us the same thing.
Big trouble is ahead.
My job is to inform you of these things. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
Are we about to witness the most important global financial event since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008? Glencore has been known as the largest commodities trading company on the entire planet, and at one time it was ranked as the 10th biggest company in the world. It is linked to billions of dollars of derivatives trades globally, and if the firm were to implode it would be a financial disaster unlike anything that we have seen in Europe since the end of World War II. Unfortunately, all signs are pointing to an inescapable death spiral for Glencore at this point. The stock price was down nearly 30 percent on Monday, and overall Glencore stock has plunged nearly 80 percent since May. There are certainly other candidates for “the next Lehman” (Petrobras and Deutsche Bank being two perfect examples), but Glencore has definitely surged to the front of the pack. Right now many analysts are openly wondering if the firm will even be able to survive to the end of next month.
If you are not familiar with Glencore, the following is a pretty good summary of the commodity trading giant from Wikipedia…
Glencore plc is an Anglo–Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, with its registered office in Saint Helier, Jersey. The company was created through a merger of Glencore with Xstrata on 2 May 2013. As of 2014, it ranked tenth in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies. It is the world’s third-largest family business.
As Glencore International, the company was already one of the world’s leading integrated producers and marketers of commodities. It was the largest company in Switzerland and the world’s largest commodities trading company, with a 2010 global market share of 60 percent in the internationally tradeable zinc market, 50 percent in the internationally tradeable copper market, 9 percent in the internationally tradeable grain market and 3 percent in the internationally tradeable oil market.
For months, I have been warning about the consequences of the crash that we have been witnessing in commodity prices. We saw a similar thing happen in 2008 just before the financial crisis that erupted in the fall of that year. If commodity prices kept going down (which they did), it was only a matter of time before firms like Glencore started imploding.
Now there is every chance the merged operation could implode. If it does, it will be the resources sector’s very own Lehman Brothers moment.
With debt approaching $US30 billion and a market value of just $US16 billion, shareholders and those holding the debt are desperately looking for an exit.
The cost of Glencore’s credit default swaps – a financial instrument that insures against a default – soared overnight.
Actually, “soared” is a horrible understatement.
The cost of insuring Glencore’s debt is absolutely screaming into the stratosphere. This is precisely what we would expect to see right before a “Lehman Brothers moment”. Here are some of the specific details from the Wall Street Journal…
Investors had to pay on Monday more than $790,000 a year to insure $10 million of Glencore debt against default for five years using credit default swaps, according to Markit, more than 40% higher than Friday. At the beginning of the year, the same insurance cost $154,000.
When Glencore goes down, they will take a whole lot of others with them. That is because Glencore is tied to trillions of dollars worth of derivatives trades all over the planet. According to Zero Hedge, we are looking at “the start of a self-fulfilling prophecy which leads to the Companys’s IG downgrade and the collapse of trillions in derivative notionals as what may be the trading desk of the biggest commodity counterparty quietly goes out of business.”
For years I have been ranting about the danger of derivatives. In article after article I warned that they would play a starring role in the next financial crisis.
Now the reality of what I was warning about is staring us right in the face.
The “nothing is happening” crowd is completely and utterly clueless. There are these people running around telling everyone that the stock market decline is “over” and that we aren’t about to experience another great financial crisis.
I don’t understand how these people can be so ignorant. Global giants such as Glencore, Petrobras and Deutsche Bank are imploding right in front of our eyes. As I write this, stocks in Hong Kong are down 744 points and stocks in Japan are down 677 points. The stock markets of the 10 largest economies on the entire planet are all crashing, but the mockers are going to continue to mock. They will continue to tell you that “nothing is happening” even in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary.
And the sad thing is that many of these mockers are given air time on the big mainstream news networks. They will tell you that stocks are “oversold” and that you should “buy the dip” because stocks are going to be going back to record highs really soon.
I wish that was true. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that we are finally witnessing the bursting of the last great global financial bubble. I really like how Bill Holter put it recently…
In my opinion we are already well within the jaws of a meltdown/shutdown as liquidity is evaporating. There are a dozen developed countries with their stock markets already in bear markets (down 20% or more). All crashes come from oversold levels just as bank runs come on fast and are a surprise at the time. What is coming should be NO SURPRISE to anyone as we are looking at the end of not only an empire but of a flawed system which has endured for far too many years! This was a solvency problem in 2008 and “liquidity” was the incorrect tool used then. Now it is a bigger solvency problem with an illiquidity kicker attached …while the Fed has already used every tool imaginable and every last ounce of credibility. The loss of confidence in the issuer of the world’s reserve currency would be bad enough in an unlevered world, the loss of confidence in today’s “debt world” will be a DISASTER!
To wrap this up, do not let anything that may happen from here surprise you. The conditions are ripe for global currency crises and a shutdown of credit. The conditions are also ripe for hot war to explode in multiple venues. A meltdown or shutdown of markets will serve as a FINAL FLUSH of what remains left of the U.S. middle class.
We are steamrolling toward a global economic collapse that will be permanent and irreversible.
For months, I have been warning that we were witnessing a textbook example of what the lead up to a major financial crisis looks like, and now it is happening. All of this was completely and totally predictable for those that were willing to look at the signs.
Unfortunately, there are way too many people out there that think that they know it all and that have a tremendous amount of blind faith in the system.
Now the system is failing, and that blind faith is about to be shattered.
You can stop waiting for a global financial crisis to happen. The truth is that one is happening right now. All over the world, stock markets are already crashing. Most of these stock market crashes are occurring in nations that are known as “emerging markets”. In recent years, developing countries in Asia, South America and Africa loaded up on lots of cheap loans that were denominated in U.S. dollars. But now that the U.S. dollar has been surging, those borrowers are finding that it takes much more of their own local currencies to service those loans. At the same time, prices are crashing for many of the commodities that those countries export. The exact same kind of double whammy caused the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s and the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s.
As you read this article, almost every single stock market in the world is down significantly from a record high that was set either earlier this year or late in 2014. But even though stocks have been sliding in the western world, they haven’t completely collapsed just yet.
In much of the developing world, it is a very different story. Emerging market currencies are crashing hard, recessions are starting, and equity prices are getting absolutely hammered.
Posted below is a list that I put together of 23 nations around the world where stock market crashes are already happening. To see the stock market chart for each country, just click the link…
When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.
Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.
I encourage you to read the rest of that excellent article right here. It contains lots of charts and graphs, and it discusses many of the exact same things that I have been hammering on for months.
Others are sounding the alarm about an imminent global financial crash as well. For example, just consider what Egon von Greyerz recently told King World News…
Eric, I fear that this coming September – October all hell will break loose in the world economy and markets. A lot of factors point to that, both fundamental and technical indicators and this indicates that we could have a number of shocks this autumn.
Sadly, most investors will hold stocks, bonds and property and will see any decline in value as an opportunity. It will be a long time and a very big fall before they realize that the system will not help them this time because the central bankers have run out of ammunition to save the global financial system one more time. Yes, we will see more massive money printing, but it will just make things worse. And at some stage, which could be quite soon, real fear will set in, a fear of a magnitude the world has not experienced before.
Hmm – there is another example of someone talking about September. It is funny how often that month keeps coming up.
And of course most of the major stock market crashes in U.S. history have been in the fall. Just go back and take a look at what happened in 1929, 1987, 2001 and 2008.
The “smart money” has been pulling their money out of stocks for quite a while now, and at this point a lot of others have hopped on the bandwagon. The following comes from CNBC…
The flight of investor money from U.S. stocks has turned into a stampede.
In fact, the $78.7 billion leaving domestic equity-focused funds has been worse in 2015 than it was even during the financial crisis years, when the S&P 500 tumbled some 60 percent, according to data released Friday by Morningstar. The total is the highest since 1993.
Domestic equity funds surrendered $20.4 billion in July alone and have seen $158.6 billion in redemptions over the past 12 months. Even a strong flow of money into passively managed exchange-traded funds has been unable to offset the stream to the exit among retail investors, who generally focus more on mutual funds than ETFs.
A global financial crisis has already begun.
So those that were claiming that one would not happen in 2015 are already wrong.
Over the coming months we will find out how bad it will ultimately be.
Sometimes I get criticized for talking about these things. There are a few people out there that don’t like all of the “doom and gloom” that I discuss on my website. Apparently it is a bad thing to talk about the things that really matter and we should all just be “keeping up with the Kardashians” instead.
I consider myself just to be another watchman on the wall. From our spots on the wall, watchmen such as myself all over the nation are sounding the alarm about what we clearly see coming.
If we saw what was coming and we did not warn the people, their blood would be on our hands. But if we do warn the people, then we have done our duty.
Every day I just do the best that I can with what I have been given. And there are many others just like me that are doing exactly the same thing.
Those that do not like the warning message are going to feel really stupid when things start falling apart all around them and they finally realize how wrong they truly were.
The month of August sure has started off with a bang. Tech stocks are crashing, oil is crashing, industrial commodities are crashing, Greek stocks crashed the moment that the Greek stock market reopened for trading, and Chinese stocks continue to crash. At this point we have not seen a broad crash of U.S. stocks yet, but it is important to note that the Dow is already down more than 700 points from the peak in May. If it continues to slide like it has in recent days, it won’t be too long before we will officially reach “correction” territory. Just a few days ago, I described August as a “pivotal month“, and so far that is indeed turning out to be the case.
A full-blown financial crisis has not erupted yet, but we are well on the way. In this article, I want to look at a few of the “crashes” that are already happening…
This is more of a “correction” than a “crash”, but it is very noteworthy because it is happening to one of the most important U.S. stocks of all. The price of Apple stock has already broken through the 200 day moving average, and at this point it is down nearly 11 percent from the peak…
Shares of Apple are down 10.9% from their highest point in a year — which places the stock squarely in what’s considered to be a correction. The unofficial definition of a correction is a 10% or greater drop from a recent high. Shares of Apple hit a 52-week (and all-time) high on $134.54 on April 28.
If you want to see a real crash, just look at what is happening to Twitter. The stock was down close to 6 percent on Monday, and overall it has fallen 58 percent since early last year. The price of Twitter stock has never been lower than it is right now, and many investors are very apprehensive about what comes next…
Twitter shares hit a record low on Monday, closing down nearly 6% to $29.27.
That is 58% below their peak in January 2014.
Shares have fallen to their lowest point since the company went public in November 2014 weighed down by negative comments on growth from company executives that rattled investors. Its previous low was $30.50 in May 2014 as concerns over slowing user growth began to take a toll.
Of course there are tech companies that are in far worse shape than Twitter. For example, just consider what is happening to Yelp. Shares of Yelp recently plummeted 25 percent in a single day, and they are down about 70 percent over the past year.
The Greek government was quite eager to reopen their stock market this week.
Perhaps they should have waited longer.
On Monday, we witnessed the greatest stock bloodbath in Greek history. The following comes from Reuters…
Greece’s stock market closed with heavy losses on Monday after a five-week shutdown brought on by fears that the country was about to be dumped from the euro zone.
Bank shares plummeted 30 percent before loss limits kicked in to stop investors selling any more. The main Athens stock index .ATGended down 16.2 percent, recovering slightly after plunging nearly 23 percent at the open.
It was the worst daily performance since at least 1985 when modern records began, including a 15 percent fall when Wall Street crashed in 1987.
Things also continue to unravel for “America’s Greece”. On Monday, a U.S. commonwealth territory defaulted on debt for the first time ever…
Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank announced Monday that it was only able to make a partial payment on its Public Finance Corporation (PFC) debt service due over the weekend.
In response to the non-payment of the full service, Moody’s said it viewed the situation as a default.
“Due to the lack of appropriated funds for this fiscal year the entirety of the PFC payment was not made today (the first business day after the Saturday deadline),” GDB President Melba Acosta-Febo said in a statement. This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth’s liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico to ensure the essential services they deserve are maintained.”
As I noted the other day, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 13.4 percent during the month of July. It was the worst month for stocks in China since October 2009.
On Monday, Chinese stocks were down another 1.11 percent. Since closing at 5,166.35 on June 12th, the Shanghai Composite Index has fallen precipitously. As I write this, it is sitting at just 3622.86.
In the months prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the price of oil crashed hard.
Now it is happening again.
In July, the price of oil plunged 21 percent. That was the worst monthly decline that we have seen since October 2008.
And on Monday, the oil crash continued. The following comes from Business Insider…
On Monday in New York, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell more than 4% and slipped below $45 per barrel, a level it hasn’t touched since March.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark that joined WTI in a bear market last week, dropped more than 4%, below $50 per barrel for the first time since January.
In recent weeks, I have been writing over and over about industrial commodities. This is yet another striking similarity to the last financial crisis. In 2008, they started crashing before stocks did, and now it is happening again…
We see the Bloomberg Commodities index now at a 13-year low. Copper is down 28 percent for the year, tin is down 30 percent, and nickel is down 44 percent.
This is a giant red flag that indicates that we are plunging into a deflationary cycle. When global economic activity slows down, so does demand for industrial commodities. I don’t understand why more people can’t see this.
I have been warning that a deflationary downturn was coming for a very long time, and so have others. For instance, just consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Nicole Foss…
Our consistent theme here at the Automatic Earth since its inception has been that we are facing a very powerful deflationary depression, following on from the bursting of an epic financial bubble. What we have witnessed in our three decades of expansion and inflation is nothing short of a monetary supernova, and that period has been the just culmination of a much larger upward trend going back many decades at least. We have lived through a credit hyper-expansion for the record books, with an unprecedented generation of excess claims to underlying real wealth. In doing so we have created the largest financial departure from reality in human history.
Bubbles are not new – humanity has experienced them periodically going all the way back to antiquity – but the novel aspect of this one, apart from its scale, is its occurrence at a point when we have reached or are reaching so many limits on a global scale. The retrenchment we are about to experience as this bubble bursts is also set to be unprecedented, given that the scale of a bust is predictably proportionate to the scale of the excesses during the boom that precedes it. We have built an incredibly complex economic system, but despite its robust appearance it is over-extended, brittle and fragile after decades of fueling its continued expansion by feeding on its own substance.
Things continue to line up in textbook fashion for a major financial crisis during the fall and winter.
Are you ready for what is coming in August? All over America, economic, political and social tensions are building, and the next 30 days could turn out to be pivotal. In July, we saw things start to turn. As you will read about below, a major six year trendline for the S&P 500 was finally broken this month, Chinese stocks crashed, commodities crashed, and debt problems started erupting all over the planet. I fully expect that this next month (August) will be a month of transition as we enter an extremely chaotic time in the fall and winter. Things are unfolding in textbook fashion for another major global financial crisis in the months ahead, and yet most people refuse to see what is happening. In their blind optimism, they want to believe that things will somehow be different this time. Well, the coming months will definitely reveal who was right and who was wrong. The following are 11 red flag events that just happened as we enter the pivotal month of August 2015…
#1 Puerto Rico is going to default on a 58 million dollar debt payment that is due on Saturday. Even though this has serious implications for the U.S. financial system, Barack Obama has said that there will be no bailout for “America’s Greece”.
#2 As James Bailey has pointed out, the most important trendline for the S&P 500 has finally been broken after holding up for six years. This is a critical technical signal that will likely motivate a significant number of investors to sell off their holdings in the weeks ahead.
#3 The IMF is indicating that it will not take part in the new Greek debt deal. As a result, the whole thing may completely fall apart…
Leaked minutes of the fund’s latest board meeting, which took place on Wednesday, showed staff “cannot reach agreement at this stage” on whether to take part in the new €86bn (£60bn) bailout for Greece. The document said there were doubts over the capacity of the Athens Government to implement economic reforms, as well as the over the sustainability of the country’s sovereign debt pile, which is now projected to hit 200 percent of GDP.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, only sanctioned a new Greek deal earlier this month on the condition that the IMF takes part.
#4 Italy is going down the exact same path as Greece, but Italy is going to be a much larger problem for Europe because it has a far, far larger economy. This week, we learned that youth unemployment in Italy has reached a 38-year high of 44 percent, and Italy’s debt to GDP ratio has now hit 135 percent.
#5 The Canadian economy has officially entered a new recession. This is something that was not supposed to happen.
#6 The price of oil plummeted close to 20 percent during the month of July. It was the worst month for the price of oil that we have seen since October 2008, which just happened to be during the height of the last financial crisis.
#9 For the month of July, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 13.4 percent. Despite unprecedented government intervention to prop up the market, it was the worst month for Chinese stocks since October 2009.
#10 A major red flag that a recession in the United States is fast approaching is the fact that Exxon Mobile just announced their worst earnings for a single quarter since 2009. Compared to the same time period one year ago, Exxon Mobile’s earnings were down 51 percent.
#11 Chevron is another oil giant that has seen earnings plunge. In the second quarter of this year, Chevron’s earnings were down an eye-popping 90 percent from a year ago.
To a certain extent, I can understand why most Americans are not alarmed about the months ahead. The relative stability of the past several years has lulled most of us into a false sense of security, and the mainstream media is assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine and that brighter days are ahead. At this point, many believe that it is patently absurd to suggest that we could see an economic collapse in 2015. But of course even though the signs were glaringly apparent, very few of us anticipated the financial crisis of 2008 either.
A few weeks ago, I authored a piece entitled “The Last Days Of ‘Normal Life’ In America“, and I stand by every single word of that article. I truly believe that the era of debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so long is coming to an end, and our standard of living will never again get back to this level.
Just yesterday, I had the chance to go over and stock up on some emergency supplies at a dollar store. It always astounds me what you can still buy for a dollar. The combined cost of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and retailing most of these items shouldn’t be less than a dollar, but thanks to having the reserve currency of the world we are still able to go to these big box stores and fill up our carts with lots and lots of extremely inexpensive merchandise.
Unfortunately, this massively inflated standard of living is going to come crashing to a halt. This next financial crisis is going to destroy the system that is currently producing such comfortable lifestyles for the vast majority of us, and that will be an extremely painful experience.
So enjoy this summer for as long as it lasts. Even though August threatens to be pivotal, it is going to be nothing compared to what will follow.
Most nations in South America are either already experiencing an economic recession or are right on the verge of one. In general, South American economies are very heavily dependent on exports, and right now they are being absolutely shredded by the twin blades of a commodity price collapse and a skyrocketing U.S. dollar. During the boom times in South America, governments and businesses loaded up on tremendous amounts of debt. Since much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars, South American borrowers are now finding that it takes much more of their own local currencies to service and pay back those debts. At the same time, there is much less demand for commodities being produced by South American nations in the international marketplace. As a result, South America is heading into a full-blown financial crisis which will cause years of pain for the entire continent.
If you know your financial history, then you know that we have seen this exact same scenario play out before in various parts of the world. The following comes from a recent CNN article…
The dollar’s gains should make history nerds shake in their boots. Its rally in the early 1980s helped trigger Latin America’s debt crisis. Fifteen years later, the greenback surged quickly again, causing Southeast Asian economies, such as Thailand, to collapse after a run on the banks ensued.
In particular, what is going on right now is so similar to what took place back in the early 1980s. At that time, Latin American governments were swimming in debt, the U.S. dollar was surging and commodity prices were falling. The conditions were perfect for a debt crisis in Latin America, and that is precisely what happened…
When the world economy went into recession in the 1970s and 80s, and oil prices skyrocketed, it created a breaking point for most countries in the region. Developing countries also found themselves in a desperate liquidity crunch. Petroleum exporting countries – flush with cash after the oil price increases of 1973-74 – invested their money with international banks, which ‘recycled’ a major portion of the capital as loans to Latin American governments. The sharp increase in oil prices caused many countries to search out more loans to cover the high prices, and even oil producing countries wanted to use the opportunity to develop further. These oil producers believed that the high prices would remain and would allow them to pay off their additional debt.
As interest rates increased in the United States of America and in Europe in 1979, debt payments also increased, making it harder for borrowing countries to pay back their debts. Deterioration in the exchange rate with the US dollar meant that Latin American governments ended up owing tremendous quantities of their national currencies, as well as losing purchasing power. The contraction of world trade in 1981 caused the prices of primary resources (Latin America’s largest export) to fall.
Sadly, the same mistakes have been repeated once again. In recent years South American nations have loaded up on vast amounts of debt, and now that commodity prices are tanking and the U.S. dollar is surging, all of that debt is creating tremendous headaches.
For instance, just consider what is happening in Brazil…
Brazil’s real plummeted to a 12-year low of 3.34 to the dollar, reflecting the country’s heavy reliance on exports of iron ore and other raw materials to China.
The devaluation tightens the noose on Brazilian companies saddled with $188bn in dollar debt taken out during the glory days of the commodity boom. The oil group Petrobras alone raised $52bn on the US bond markets.
Today, Brazil has the 7th largest economy on the entire planet.
So a major financial crisis in Brazil would be extremely significant.
And that is precisely what is starting to happen. It is being projected that Brazilian government debt will soon be reduced to junk status, Brazilian stocks have already entered “correction territory“, and economic forecasters say that the Brazilian economy is heading into its worst recession in at least 25 years…
Brazil needs to brace itself for some very tough times. Brazilian banks are currently forecasting another economic contraction for the South American country in 2016, marking the first time that Brazil’s economy has shrunk in two consecutive years since the Great Depression.
Last Friday, economist Nelson Teixeira of Switzerland-based financial services holding company Credit Suisse released a revision of his already dour forecast for the Brazilian GDP, moving this year’s numbers from -1.8 percent to -2.4 percent.
The IMF is also projecting that 2015 will be a year of recession for the second largest economy in South America (Argentina) and the third largest economy in South America (Venezuela).
And actually Venezuela is in the deepest trouble of all. According to a recent Bloomberg article, it appears to be inevitable that there will be a debt default by the Venezuelan government in the very near future…
Harvard University Professor Ricardo Hausmann last year questioned Venezuela’s decision to keep paying bondholders as the country sank deeper into crisis and suggested it stop honoring the debt.
Now, he’s saying Venezuela will have no choice but to default next year.
Hausmann’s comments come as a deepening collapse in oil prices and a shortage of dollars stoke concern Venezuela is fast running out of money to stay current on debt. The country’s bonds plunged last year after Hausmann, who served as Venezuelan planning minister after Hugo Chavez’s failed 1992 coup, raised the specter of default, saying he found “no moral grounds” for the government to pay debt at a time when Venezuelans were facing shortages of everything from basic medicine to toilet paper.
The inflation rate in Venezuela today is an astounding 68.5 percent, and the country is plunging into full-blown economic collapse. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
As we recently warned, the hyperinflationary collapse in Venezuela is reaching its terminal phase. With inflation soaring at least 65%, murder rates the 2nd highest in the world, and chronic food (and toilet paper shortages), the following disturbing clip shows what is rapidly becoming major social unrest in the Maduro’s socialist paradise… and perhaps more importantly, Venezuela shows us what the end game for every fiat money system looks like (and perhaps Janet and her colleagues should remember that).
Here is the video that was mentioned in the excerpt above. As you watch this, please keep in mind that the United States is on the exact same path that Venezuela has gone down…
Economic chaos is beginning to erupt all over the planet, and the depression that we are entering into will truly be global in scope.
For the moment, many in the United States still believe that what is going on in the rest of the world will not affect us. But the truth is that we are also right on the verge of a major financial crisis, and it is going to be even worse than what we experienced back in 2008.
So what do you think about what is going on down in South America?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
If we were going to see a stock market crash in the United States in the fall of 2015 (to use a hypothetical example), we would expect to see commodity prices begin to crash a few months ahead of time. This is precisely what happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and we are watching the exact same thing happen again right now. On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months. When global economic activity slows down, demand for raw materials sinks and prices drop. So important global commodities such as copper, iron ore, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead, tin and lumber are all considered to be key “leading indicators” that can tell us a lot about where things are heading next. And what they are telling us right now is that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown.
If the global economy was actually healthy and expanding, the demand for commodities would be increasing and that would tend to drive prices up. But instead, prices continue to go down.
The commodities rout that’s pushed prices to a 13-year low pulled some of the biggest mining and energy companies below levels seen during the financial crisis.
The FTSE 350 Mining Index plunged as much as 4.9 percent to the lowest since 2009 on Wednesday, with BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc leading declines. Gold and copper are near the lowest in at least five years, while crude oil retreated to $50 a barrel.
“This commodity bear market is like a train wreck in slow motion,” said Andy Pfaff, the chief investment officer for commodities at MitonOptimal in Cape Town. “It has a lot of momentum and doesn’t come to a sudden stop.”
Commodity prices have not been this low since April 2002. According to Bloomberg, some of the commodities being hit the hardest include soybean oil, copper, zinc and gasoline. And this commodity crash is already having a dramatic impact on some of the biggest commodity-producing nations on the globe. Just consider what Gerald Celente recently told Eric King…
We now see that the Australian dollar is at a six-year low against the U.S. dollar. What are Australia’s biggest exports? How about iron-ore and other metals.
If we look at Canada, their currency is also now at a six-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Well, Canada is a big oil exporter, particularly some tar sands oil, which is expensive to produce.
We also now have the Brazilian real at a 10-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Why? Because it’s a natural resource rich country and they don’t have a strong market to sell their natural resources to.
Meanwhile, the Indian rupee is at a 17-year low vs the U.S. dollar. This is because manufacturing is slowing down and there is less development. If the Americans aren’t buying, the Indians, the Chinese, the Vietnamese — they’re not making things.
All of this is so, so similar to what we experienced in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008. Just a couple of days ago, I talked about how the U.S. dollar got really strong just prior to the last stock market crash. The same patterns keep playing out over and over, and yet most in the mainstream media refuse to see what is happening.
Something else that happened just a few months before the last stock market crash was a collapse of the junk bond market.
That is starting to happen again too. Just check out this chart.
I know that I must sound like a broken record. But I think that it is extremely important to document these things. When the next financial collapse takes place, virtually everyone in the mainstream media will be talking about what a “surprise” it is.
But for those that have been paying attention, it won’t be much of a “surprise” at all.
When the stock market does crash, how far might it fall?
During a recent appearance on CNBC, Marc Faber suggested that it could decline by up to 40 percent…
The U.S. stock market could “easily” drop 20 percent to 40 percent, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber said Wednesday—citing a host of factors including the growing list of companies trading below their 200-day moving average.
In recent days, “there were [also] more declining than advancing stocks, and the list of 12-month new lows was very high on Friday,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“It shows you a lot of stocks are already declining.”
Others, including myself, believe that what we are going to experience is going to be even worse than that.
We live in such a fast-paced world, and most of us don’t have the patience to wait for long-term trends to play out.
If the stock market is not crashing today, to most people that means that everything must be fine.
But once it has crashed, everyone is going to be complaining that they weren’t warned in advance about what was coming and everyone will be complaining that nobody ever fixed the things that caused the exact same problems the last time around.
Personally, I am trying very hard to make sure that nobody can accuse me of not sounding the alarm about the storm that is on the horizon.
The world has never been in more debt, our “too big to fail” banks have never been more reckless, and global financial markets have never been more primed for a collapse.
Amazingly, there are still a lot of “experts” out there that insist that everything is going to be okay somehow.
Of course many of those exact same “experts” were telling us the same thing just before the stock market crashed in 2008 too.
A great financial shaking has already begun around the world, and it will hit U.S. financial markets very soon.
I hope that you are getting ready while you still can.
The stock market continues to flirt with new record highs, but the signs that we could be on the precipice of the next major financial crisis continue to mount. A couple of days ago, I discussed the fact that the U.S. dollar is experiencing a tremendous surge in value just like it did in the months prior to the financial crisis of 2008. And previously, I have detailed how the price of oil has collapsed, prices for industrial commodities are tanking and market behavior is becoming extremely choppy. All of these are things that we witnessed just before the last market crash as well. It is also important to note that orders for durable goods are declining and the Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level on record. So does all of this mean that the stock market is guaranteed to crash in 2015? No, of course not. But what we are looking for are probabilities. We are looking for patterns. There are multiple warning signs that have popped up repeatedly just prior to previous financial crashes, and many of those same warning signs are now appearing once again.
One of these warning signs that I have not discussed previously is the wholesale inventories to sales ratio. When economic activity starts to slow down, inventory tends to get backed up. And that is precisely what is happening right now. In fact, as Wolf Richter recently wrote about, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio has now hit a level that we have not seen since the last recession…
In December, the wholesale inventory/sales ratio reached 1.22, after rising consistently since July last year, when it was 1.17. It is now at the highest – and worst – level since September 2009, as the financial crisis was winding down:
Rising sales gives merchants the optimism to stock more. But because sales are rising in that rosy scenario, the inventory/sales ratio, depicting rising inventories and rising sales, would not suddenly jump. But in the current scenario, sales are not keeping up with inventory growth.
Another sign that I find extremely interesting is the behavior of the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasury notes. As Jeff Clark recently explained, we usually see a spike in the 10 year Treasury yield about the time the market is peaking before a crash…
The 10-year Treasury note yield bottomed on January 30 at 1.65%. Today, it’s at 2%. That’s a 35-basis-point spike – a jump of 21% – in less than two weeks.
And it’s the first sign of an impending stock market crash.
For example, the 10-year yield was just 4.5% in January 1999. One year later, it was 6.75% – a spike of 50%. The dot-com bubble popped two months later.
In 2007, rates bottomed in March at 4.5%. By July, they had risen to 5.5% – a 22% increase. The stock market peaked in September.
Let’s be clear… not every spike in Treasury rates leads to an important top in the stock market. But there has always been a sharp spike in rates a few months before the top.
Once again, just because something has happened in the past does not mean that it will happen in the future.
But the fact that so many red flags are appearing all at once has got to give any rational person reason for concern.
Yes, the Dow gained more than 100 points on Thursday. But on Thursday we also learned that retail sales dropped again in January. Overall, this has been the worst two month drop in retail sales since 2009…
Following last month’s narrative-crushing drop in retail sales, despite all that low interest rate low gas price stimulus, January was more of the same as hopeful expectations for a modest rebound were denied. Falling 0.8% (against a 0.9% drop in Dec), missing expectations of -0.4%, this is the worst back-to-back drop in retail sales since Oct 2009. Retail sales declined in 6 of the 13 categories.
And economic activity is rapidly slowing down on the other side of the planet as well.
Chinese imports collapsed 19.9% YoY in January, missing expectations of a modest 3.2% drop by the most since Lehman. This is the biggest YoY drop since May 2009 and worst January since the peak of the financial crisis. Exports tumbled 3.3% YoY (missing expectations of 5.9% surge) for the worst January since 2009. Combined this led to a $60.03 billion trade surplus in January – the largest ever. But apart from these massive imbalances, everything is awesome in the global economy (oh apart from The Baltic Dry at record lows, Iron Ore near record lows, oil prices crashed, and the other engine of the world economy – USA USA USA – imploding).
In light of so much bad economic data, it boggles my mind that stocks have been doing so well.
But this is typical bubble behavior. Financial bubbles tend to be very irrational and they tend to go on a lot longer than most people think they will. When they do finally burst, the consequences are often quite horrifying.
It may not seem like it to most people, but we are right on track for a major financial catastrophe. It is playing out right in front of our eyes in textbook fashion. But it is going to take a little while to unfold.
Unfortunately, most people these days do not have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. Instead, we have been trained by the mainstream media to have the attention spans of toddlers. We bounce from one 48-hour news cycle to the next, eagerly looking forward to the next “scandal” that is going to break.
And when the next financial crash does strike, the mainstream media is going to talk about what a “surprise” it is. But for those that are watching the long-term trends, it is not going to be a surprise at all. We will have seen it coming a mile away.
The signs of the times are everywhere – all you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them. When a pregnant woman first goes into labor, the birth pangs are usually fairly moderate and are not that close together. But as the time for delivery approaches, they become much more frequent and much more intense. Economically, what we are experiencing right now are birth pangs of the coming Great Depression. As we get closer to the crisis that is looming on the horizon, they will become even more powerful. This week, we learned that the Baltic Dry Index has fallen to the lowest level that we have seen in 29 years. The Baltic Dry Index also crashed during the financial collapse of 2008, but right now it is already lower than it was at any point during the last financial crisis. In addition, “Dr. Copper” and other industrial commodities continue to plunge. This almost always happens before we enter an economic downturn. Meanwhile, as I mentioned the other day, orders for durable goods are declining. This is also a traditional indicator that a recession is approaching. The warning signs are there – we just have to be open to what they are telling us.
And of course there are so many more parallels between past economic downturns and what is happening right now.
For example, volatility has returned to the markets in a big way. On Tuesday the Dow was down about 300 points, on Wednesday it was down another couple hundred points, and then on Thursday it was up a couple hundred points.
This is precisely how markets behave just before they crash. When markets are calm, they tend to go up. When markets get really choppy and start behaving erratically, that tells us that a big move down is usually coming.
At the same time, almost every major global currency is imploding. For much more on this, see the amazing charts in this article.
In particular, I am greatly concerned about the collapse of the euro. The Swiss would not have decoupled their currency from the euro if it was healthy. And political events in Greece are certainly not going to help things either. Economic conditions across Europe just continue to get worse, and the future of the eurozone itself is very much in doubt at this point. And if the eurozone does break up, a European economic depression is almost virtually assured – at least in the short term.
And I haven’t even mentioned the oil crash yet.
There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil collapsed by more than 60 dollars, and that was just prior to the horrific financial crisis of 2008.
Since the last financial crisis, the oil industry has been a huge source for job growth in this country. The following is an excerpt from a recent CNN article…
The oil sector has added over a half million jobs — many of them high paying — since the recession ended in June 2009. That’s 13% of all US job growth over that period.
Now energy companies and related sectors are laying off thousands. Expect that trend to continue, bears say.
But losing good jobs is just the tip of the iceberg of this oil crisis.
At this point, the price of oil has already dropped to a catastrophically low level. The longer it stays at this level, the more damage that it is going to do. If the price of oil stays at this level for all of 2015, we are going to have a complete and total financial nightmare on our hands…
For the first time in 18 years, oil exporters are pulling liquidity out of world markets rather than putting money in. The world is now fast approaching a world reserve currency shift. If we see 8 to 12 months at these oil prices; U.S. shale industry will be wiped out. The effect on junk bonds will cascade to the rest of the stock market and U.S. economy.
…and this time there will be nothing left to catch the falling knife before it hits the American economy right in the heart. Not the FED nor the U.S. government can stop what’s coming. Liquidity will freeze up, our credit will be downgraded, the stock market will start to collapse, and then we can expect the FED to come in and hyper-inflate the dollar. This will cause the world to finish abandoning the world reserve currency in the last rungs of trade. This will be the end of the petrodollar.
Something that I have not discussed so far this year is the looming crisis in emerging market debt.
As economic problems spread around the world, a number of “emerging markets” are in danger of having their debt downgraded. And many investment funds have rules that prohibit them from holding any debt that is not “investment grade”. Therefore, we could potentially see some of these giant funds dumping massive amounts of emerging market debt if downgrades happen.
This is a really big deal. As a Business Insider article recently detailed, we could be talking about hundreds of billions of dollars…
Russia this week became the first of the major economies to lose its investment grade status from Standard & Poor’s, falling out off the top ratings category for credits deemed to have a low risk of default for the first time in a decade.
If Moody’s and Fitch follow, conservative investors barred from owning junk securities must sell their holdings. JPMorgan estimates this means they may ditch $6 billion in Russian government rouble and dollar debt.
Russia may have company. Almost $260 billion worth of sovereign and corporate bonds – nearly a tenth of outstanding emerging market (EM) debt – is in danger of being relegated to junk, according to David Spegel, head of emerging debt at BNP Paribas, who calls such credits “falling angels”.
And no article of this nature would be complete without mentioning derivatives.
As we enter the coming Great Depression, derivatives are going to play a starring role. Wall Street has been pumped full of funny money by global central banks, and our financial markets have been transformed into the greatest casino in the history of the world. When this house of cards comes crashing down, and it will, it is going to be a financial disaster unlike anything that the planet has ever seen.
The global financial system is literally booby-trapped with accidents waiting to happen owing to six consecutive years of massive money printing by nearly every central bank in the world.
Over that span, the collective balance sheet of the major central banks has soared by nearly $11 trillion, meaning that honest price discovery has been virtually destroyed. This massive “bid” for existing financial assets based on credit confected from thin air drove long-term bond yields to rock bottom levels not seen in 600 years since the Black Plague; and pinned money market costs at zero—-for 73 months running.
What is the consequence of this drastic financial repression along the entire yield curve? The answer is bond prices which keep rising regardless of credit risk, inflation or taxes; and rampant carry trade speculation that can’t get out of its own way because central banks have made the financial gamblers’ cost of goods—the “funding” cost of their trades—-essentially zero.
British hedge fund manager Crispin Odey thinks we’ve entered an economic downturn that is “likely to be remembered in a hundred years,” and central banks won’t be able to stop it.
In his Odey Asset Management investor letter dated Dec. 31, Odey writes that the shorting opportunity “looks as great as it was in 07/09.”
“My point is that we used all our monetary firepower to avoid the first downturn in 2007-09,” he writes, “so we are really at a dangerous point to try to counter the effects of a slowing China, falling commodities and EM incomes, and the ultimate First World Effects. This is the heart of the message. If economic activity far from picks up, but falters, then there will be a painful round of debt default.”
Even though most average citizens are completely oblivious to what is happening, many among the elite are heeding the warning signs and are feverishly getting prepared. As Robert Johnson told a stunned audience at the World Economic Forum the other day, they are “buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand“. They can see the horrifying storm forming on the horizon and they are preparing to get out while the getting is good.
It can be very frustrating to write about economics, because things in the financial world can take an extended period of time to play out. Sadly, most people these days have extremely short attention spans. We live in a world of iPhones, iPads, YouTube videos, Facebook updates and 48 hour news cycles. People no longer are accustomed to thinking in long-term time frames, and if something does not happen right away we tend to get bored with it.
But the economic world is not like a game of “Angry Birds”. Rather, it is very much like a game of chess.
And unfortunately for us, checkmate is right around the corner.