The gigantic wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta has been nicknamed “the Beast“, and mainstream news reports are telling us that it is now approximately 25 percent larger than New York City. 88,000 people have already been forced out of their homes, at least 1,600 buildings have been destroyed, and smoke from the fire has been spotted as far away as Iowa. To say that this is a “disaster” is a massive understatement. Northern Alberta is “tinder dry” right now, and authorities say that high winds could result in the size of the fire doubling by the end of the weekend. One-fourth of Canada’s oil output has already been shut down, and the edge of the fire is now getting very close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. This is already the most expensive natural disaster in the history of Canada, and officials fully expect to be fighting this blaze for months to come.
At this point, only rain is going to stop this fire. Canadian authorities insist that they are not going to be able to defeat this raging inferno no matter how many resources they throw at it. The best that they can hope for is to try to steer it away from heavily populated areas until the rain comes.
Nobody knows precisely how this tragedy is going to end, but everyone agrees that it is going to last for quite some time. According to the Washington Post, this fire has the potential to keep on burning “for months”…
The images are ones of devastation — scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.
There’s fear the growing wildfire could double in size and reach a major oil sands mine and even the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.
I have relatives that live up in Alberta, and this is the biggest thing to hit that part of the world in many, many years.
This massive fire is making headlines all over the planet, and some of the video footage that is emerging is so shocking that it can be hard to believe. Some of the terms being used to describe the devastation are “hell”, “the end of the world” and “Armageddon”…
“It was something like Armageddon,” said Morgan Elliott, who traveled with his fiancee, Cara Kennedy, and their baby, Abigail. “Everything was burnt, houses gone. Leaving the city, it was like a scene out of a movie. It reminded me of the TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ where you’re going on the highway, and there’s just abandoned vehicles everywhere; hundreds of cars, just abandoned vehicles.”
In this YouTube video, you can watch vehicles attempt to escape Fort McMurray as hot embers from towering flames just a few feet away rain down on them. What would you do in this kind of situation?…
The amount of resources that has been committed to fighting this fire has been unprecedented, and yet it just continues to rage wildly out of control. The following comes from CNN…
The blaze is moving in a northeast direction and could reach the border with Saskatchewan by the end of Saturday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.
The response has been massive. Notley said more than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze around Fort McMurray, with the help of 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers. More than 1,400 firefighters and 133 helicopters are fighting blazes across the province.
Unfortunately, a lot of Americans simply are not going to care what is happening up in Alberta because it is in Canada.
I just checked the U.S. Drought Monitor, and much of the western third of the country is still extremely dry. Conditions are certainly ripe for another horrible wildfire season, and so let us pray for lots of rain between right now and the end of the summer.
Because all we have to do to see what a worst case scenario looks like is to watch what is going on in Fort McMurray right now.
To me, this is the closest thing that we have seen to “hell on Earth” in a very long time…
Why are so few voices warning the people about what is coming? We stand at the door of a period of distress that will be unlike anything that any of us have ever known before. And even though the signs are all around us, very few individuals appear to be willing to stand up and sound the alarm. Instead, there seems to be a large number of people that are quite eager to criticize the watchmen. Earlier today, I was having a conversation with a very prominent voice in the alternative media, and we were reflecting on this. There are so many individuals out there that love to shoot arrows at those that are sounding the alarm, and yet they are doing so little to make a difference themselves.
It is easy to sit back on your sofa munching on potato chips as the world around you goes to hell, and it is easy to criticize those that have chosen to have the courage to stand up and warn the people.
But it is not easy to stand up and say the hard things that need to be said in a society that does not want to listen.
Yes, there are some watchmen out there that are doing a great job of proclaiming the warning message. I have personally met a number of them, and I am proud to be their friends.
Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Most people either don’t believe that we are on the precipice of disaster, they don’t care enough to warn others, or they are too busy criticizing those that are trying very hard to warn others.
And of course you don’t need a media platform to sound the alarm. We all have family members that need to be warned about what is coming. We all have friends that need to be warned about what is coming. Each one of us is uniquely positioned to reach others that may not be able to be reached any other way.
In the end, we all have a choice to make. If we sound the alarm and people choose not to listen, the responsibility for failing to act falls on them.
But if we know what is coming and we choose to do nothing to warn others, then we may end up being responsible for their blood. This is a principle that we even seen in the Scriptures. The following is what Ezekiel 33:1-6 says…
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 2 Son of man, speak to the children of your people and say to them: If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them and set him for their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword come upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet yet did not take warning. His blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning delivers his soul. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword come and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned and a sword comes and takes a person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity. But his blood I will require from the hand of the watchman.
Sadly, the few voices that are proclaiming the warning message in our society are being almost completely drowned out by everyone else.
Just look at our political leaders. None of them are warning the American people about what is really coming. Yes, they are warning that some bad things may happen if the wrong candidate gets elected, but all of them are promising that they can get this country completely turned around if they are elected.
Unfortunately, all of them are dead wrong. None of them are going to be able to keep America from experiencing the great storm that is directly ahead of us.
The mainstream media is even worse. According to the mainstream media, everything is great and things are only going to get even better in the years ahead. Of course the mainstream media is owned and controlled by the global elite, and just six giant media corporations produce more than 90 percent of the news and entertainment that we all consume.
Perhaps most disappointing of all are the religious leaders. You would think that if anyone should be “sounding the alarm” it would be them. But instead, ministers all over this country have become absolutely terrified of offending anyone. Church attendance has been declining for years, and most churches are desperate to do whatever they can to keep people coming back and putting money in the offering plate.
So many preachers know what is coming, and yet they have willingly chosen to be silent. They know that disaster is coming to America, and yet they have decided not to warn the people.
Yes, there are some good churches out there, but in general the church in America has failed. There is very little preaching about sin, repentance or the blood of Jesus anymore. Rather, most of what is coming from the pulpits these days are just feel good messages that sound like they were directly ripped off from the self-help gurus.
Sometimes I get frustrated because I wish that I could do a better job of warning the people. My articles are far from perfect, but I work very hard on them. And nobody can accuse me of not trying to sound the alarm. I have written more than a million words on The Economic Collapse Blog, and I have written more than a million words on End Of The American Dream. In addition, soon my wife and I will be doing a television show, and we will be posting the videos up on YouTube for free.
I am just an ordinary guy that is trying to warn the people as loudly as I can from my little spot on the wall. When I first started, my readership could have been measured with a microscope, but over time it has grown far beyond what I could have possibly ever imagined.
People know that they aren’t getting the truth from the “leaders” of our society, and so they are seeking out alternative sources of information. Thankfully, the Internet has allowed ordinary people like myself and others to get the warning message out.
And of course the warning message is only part of my mission. I also carry a message of hope, and that is going to be greatly needed in the days ahead.
As things completely fall apart during the years to come, millions are going to give in to depression and despair. Those people are going to need to know that there is hope even in the midst of all the chaos and all the darkness. My wife and I seek to live in a constant state of “shalom” (the Hebrew word for peace), and we believe that the greatest chapters of our lives are still ahead of us. Yes, we are heading for times that are going to be more challenging than most people would ever dare to imagine, but there is no other time in human history that we would have rather been alive for. We boldly look forward to the future, and we plan to bring light to a world that will be drowning in darkness.
This optimistic view of the future is going to be a central theme of my new book which should be coming out later this month. The things that I am going to share about Bible prophecy, the book of Revelation and the challenging years ahead of us are going to really shake up a lot of people out there, and it will likely be one of the most controversial Christian books of 2016.
But once again, someone needs to stand up and say the hard things that need to be said.
I am sure that I will get some criticism for this article, but that is okay. I just hope that I can inspire a few others to come up on the wall and help warn America (and the world) about what is rapidly approaching.
It doesn’t matter if your voice is big or small.
What matters is whether or not you are faithful with what you have been given.
Let us sound the alarm while we still can, because time is quickly running out.
Why does this keep happening to America? Since the month of September, the United States has been absolutely pummeled by a devastating series of disasters, and this most recent one may be the worst of all. Right now, communities all along the Mississippi, Missouri and Arkansas rivers are dealing with “historic” flooding. In Missouri, it is being said that nobody “that is living has ever seen anything like this“, and it is being projected that rivers could reach levels not seen since “the Great Flood” of 1993. Portions of Interstate 44 have been totally shut down, and thousands of people have either already been evacuated from their homes or are preparing to evacuate. It would be difficult to overstate the utter devastation that we are witnessing. Personally, I have some very good friends in southern Missouri, and I will definitely be keeping them in my prayers.
The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, is warning people to be very careful. Thirteen people have already been killed by the flooding, and Nixon says that the waters are going “places they’ve never been before”…
Thirteen people in Missouri have died in floods caused by severe storms over the weekend, and although the rain has moved on, swollen rivers are still rising and won’t crest for days, Gov. Jay Nixon said.
“It’s very clear that Missouri is in the midst of a very historic and dangerous flooding event,” Nixon told reporters Tuesday. “The amount of rain we’ve received, in some places in excess of a foot, has caused river levels to not only rise rapidly, but to go to places they’ve never been before.”
A state of emergency was declared in Missouri on Monday, and yesterday Governor Nixon activated the National Guard. But the river is still rising, and the worst is yet to come.
At this point, some communities have already been totally wiped out. This includes the little town of Rockaway Beach, which is not too far away from Branson. The following comes from USA Today…
In Missouri, some areas have already been hit hard by the first wave of rising water. Rockaway Beach, located near Branson in southwest Missouri, was swamped by waters from the swollen White River.
The tourist town of 800 “has just been demolished,” Mayor Don Smith told KYTV. “It’s devastating, and we are all so exhausted.”
In some parts of the Missouri, rivers are expected to crest as high as they did during devastating flooding in 1993, which is known as the “great flood,” Nixon said.
The National Weather Service predicted that the Mississippi River at Chester, Illinois, would crest at 49.7 feet Friday, matching the 1993 record, the governor’s office said. The Mississippi at Thebes was expected to crest Saturday at a record-breaking 47.5 feet.
The Mississippi River is expected to reach nearly 15 feet above flood stage on Thursday at St. Louis, which would be the second-worst flood on record, behind only the devastating 1993 flood.
What is happening in the center of the country right now is just the continuation of a trend that has been building for months. Just check out this list of flooding events that we have seen in the U.S. since the end of the summer…
-Moisture from Hurricane Joaquin caused the worst flooding in the history of the state of South Carolina.
-Flash flooding caused “rivers of mud” to cover highways in southern California.
-The remnants of Hurricane Patricia caused tremendous flooding in many parts of Texas.
-One of the strongest El Ninos ever recorded has sent an endless stream of storms barreling into coastal areas of Oregon and Washington. This has caused horrible flooding in some areas.
Meanwhile, we continue to witness a rise in earthquake activity as well.
Oklahoma, which had already shattered an all-time state record for earthquakes in 2015, was hit by a 4.3 magnitude earthquake yesterday.
Also, let’s not forget all of the wildfires that have been happening. On Christmas Day, a massive 1,200 acre blaze erupted near Ventura, California, and that topped off a year during which wildfires burned more acres in America than ever before.
On top of everything else, a huge solar storm is going to hit our planet on New Year’s Eve. Fortunately, authorities do not expect that it will do that much damage.
Nobody can deny that our weather is getting really, really crazy.
So precisely why is this happening?
There is certainly a lot of debate about this. It is almost as if someone flipped a switch in September and turned on a disaster machine, because since that time there has been an endless parade of major events.
Do you have a theory that can explain what we are witnessing?
If so, please feel free to share it with the rest of us by posting a comment below…
Why won’t the American people listen to the warnings? David Stockman was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 to 1981, and he served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985. These days, he is running a website called “Contra Corner” which I highly recommend that you check out. Stockman believes that a global “debt super-cycle” that has been building for decades is now bursting, and he is convinced that the consequences for the U.S. and for the rest of the planet will be absolutely catastrophic. His findings are very consistent with what I have been writing about on The Economic Collapse Blog, and if Stockman is correct the times ahead of us are going to be exceedingly painful.
But right now, most people don’t seem to be in the mood to listen to these types of warnings. Even though there is a mountain of evidence that the global economy has already plunged into recession, U.S. stocks had a great month in October, and so most Americans seem to think that the crisis has passed.
Of course the truth is that the stock market is not an accurate barometer of the economy and it never has been. Back in 2008, almost everything else started to go downhill before stocks did, and the same thing is happening once again. In a recent article, Stockman explained that stocks are surging to absolutely ridiculous levels even though corporate earnings are actually way down…
At this point, 75% of S&P 500 companies have reported Q3 results, and earnings are coming in at $93.80 per share on an LTM basis. That happens to be 7.4% below the peak $106 per share reported last September, and means that the market today is valuing these shrinking profits at a spritely 22.49X PE ratio.
And, yes, there is a reason for two-digit precision. It seems that in the 4th quarter of 2007 LTM earnings came in at 22.19Xthe S&P 500 index price. We know what happened next!
Why do so many refuse to see the parallels?
This crisis is unfolding so similarly to 2008, and yet most of the “experts” are willingly blind.
Much of the stock buying that has been happening in 2015 has been fueled by stock buybacks and by M&A (merger and acquisitions). Many firms have even been going into debt to buy back their own stocks, but now sources of financing are starting to dry up. This year we have already seen the most corporate debt downgrades since 2009, and big financial institutions are now becoming much more hesitant to loan giant stacks of cash to these large corporations at super low interest rates.
So it is very, very difficult to see how the equity markets are going to move much higher than they are right now.
Meanwhile, the global economy is starting to unravel right in front of our eyes. In his recent piece, Stockman discussed some of these data points…
In the last two days we posted the latest data on two crucial markers of global economic direction——-export shipments from Korea and export orders coming into the high performance machinery factories of Germany.
In a word, they were abysmal, and smoking gun evidence that the suzerains of Beijing have not stopped the implosion in China, and that their latest paddy wagon forays—–arresting the head of China’s third largest bank and hand-cuffing several hedge fund managers including the purported “Warren Buffett” of China—-are signs not of stabilization, but sheer desperation.
So it is not surprising that Korea’s October exports—–the first such data from anywhere in the world—were down by a whopping 16% from last year, and have now been down for 10 straight months. Needless to say, China is the number one destination for Korean exports.
Likewise, German export orders plummeted by 18% in September, and this was no one month blip.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S is scaling back capacity and cutting jobs in the world’s largest shipping line to adapt to a drop in demand.
The Danish company, which last month lowered its profit forecast for 2015 citing a gloomier outlook for the global shipping market, will shed 4,000 jobs in its Maersk Line unit as part of a program to “simplify the organization,” it said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
Standard Chartered Plc became the third European bank in less than two weeks to announce sweeping job cuts, bringing the total planned reductions to more than 30,000, or almost one in seven positions.
The London-based firm said Tuesday it will eliminate 15,000 jobs, or 17 percent of its workforce, as soaring bad loans in emerging markets hurt earnings. Deutsche Bank AG, based in Frankfurt, last week announced plans for 11,000 job cuts, while Credit Suisse Group AG said it would trim as many as 5,600 employees.
And if things are so great in the United States, why is Target suddenly closing stores?
The truth, of course, is that things are not great. Global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent so far this year, and total global trade has plummeted 8.4 percent.
We have entered a major global economic slowdown, and like usual, equity markets will be the last to get the memo.
But when they finally do react, that is likely going to greatly accelerate our problems. Just like we saw in 2008, when there is fear and panic in the financial markets that tends to cause the flow of credit to freeze up. And that is something that we simply cannot afford, because the flow of credit has become the lifeblood of the global economy.
So no, “the crisis” is not “over”.
Rather, the truth is that “the crisis” is just beginning, and it will soon be making front page headlines all over the planet.
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.
Just a few days ago, the bull market for the S&P 500 turned six years old. This six year period of time has been great for investors, but what comes next? On March 9th, 2009 the S&P 500 hit a low of 676.53. Since that day, it has risen more than 200 percent. As you will see below, there are only two other times within the last 100 years when the S&P 500 performed this well over a six year time frame. In both instances, the end result was utter disaster. And as you take in this information, I want you to keep in mind what I said in my previous article entitled “7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now“. What we are witnessing at this moment is classic “peaking behavior”, and there is a long way to go down from here. So if historical patterns hold up, those with lots of money in the stock market could soon be in for a whole lot of trouble.
According to Societe Generale analyst Andrew Lapthorne, there was an S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1929.
We all know what happened that year.
And there was another S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1999. In the end, all of those gains were wiped out when the dotcom bubble burst.
And now we are near the end of another great bull market for the S&P 500. The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article…
“Such a strong six year run up in US equities has only been seen twice since 1900, i.e., back in 1929 and 1999, neither of which ended well,” Lapthorne wrote.
Needless to say, a lot of people are not very optimistic about that right now.
And there was another very interesting bull market that ended in 1987…
On Aug. 12, the S&P 500 dipped to 102.42, setting the stage for the third-biggest bull market in stocks since 1929. Inflation and unemployment fell. In 1984, President Reagan would cruise to reelection with an ad telling voters “It’s morning again in America.” By 1987, the stock market had tripled. Shareholders who were able to see beyond the gloom of the early 1980s reaped a huge return.
Of course a lot of those huge stock market returns were eliminated in a single day. On October 19th, 1987 the Dow declined by more than 22 percent during a single trading session. That day is still known as “Black Monday” up to this present time.
Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up. So if your stock portfolio has gone up substantially over the past few years, good for you. But keep in mind that all of your gains can be wiped out very rapidly. Millions of people experienced this during the last financial crisis, and millions more will experience this during the next one.
And as I keep reminding people, so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last great stock market collapse are happening once again.
For example, just yesterday I explained that there has been only one other time over the past decade when we have seen the U.S. dollar surge in value in such a short period of time.
That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.
Another example is what has happened to the price of oil. Since the middle of last year, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars a barrel.
In all of history, that has happened only one other time.
That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.
But you know what? Despite all of the warning signs there are still people out there that are eagerly pouring money into the stock market.
Back in 2005 and 2006, I knew people that were hurrying to buy homes before they got “priced out of the market”. So they did everything that they could to scrape together down payments and they took on mortgages that were larger than they could really afford.
Mr Odey is best known for his big macroeconomic calls, including foreseeing the 2008 global credit crisis; piling into insurers in the wake of September 2001 attacks; and picking the recent oil price rout. He famously paid himself £28 million in 2008 after shorting credit crisis casualties, including British lender Bradford & Bingley. Mr Odey’s fund returned 54.8 per cent that year.
“The market’s reaction to all of this is leave it to the professionals, leave it to those great guys, the central bankers, because they saved the day in 2009,” he said. “These guys are kind of relying on central banks pulling a rabbit out of a hat.”
The risk is that this time, monetary policy may be ineffective: “We need the crisis to reformulate policy. Central banks are not all singing and all dancing, they cannot basically avoid the natural consequences of what we are doing.”
An inadequate supply-side response to the plunge in commodity prices as the resources industry declines to reduce production was in effect stimulating supply into falling demand.
“The trouble is today the players, whether they are the miners or the oil companies or the Saudis or anybody else, they are not doing the right things. This is the first time in my career where economics 101 doesn’t work at all.”
But it was also true that the world has not had a major recession for 25 years and thanks to frequent interventions, “there is a sensation we don’t have a business cycle”. Stocks are enjoying a six-year bull market but he also hinted at liquidity issues bubbling under the surface.
“I just think that you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock] and my point is having found myself in the second quarter of last year selling a lot of equities and starting to go short, I found out just how illiquid it all was. You never actually see it until people try and get out of these things.”
It was unclear to Mr Odey what central banks could do to prevent a crash.
The warning signs are clear.
Soon the time for warning will be over and the crisis will be here.
Europe is on the verge of a horrifying financial meltdown, and there are only a few short weeks left to avert total disaster. On Monday, talks that were supposed to bring about yet another temporary “resolution” to the Greek debt crisis completely fell apart. The new Greek government has entirely rejected the idea of a six month extension of the current bailout. The Greeks want a new deal which would enable them to implement the promises that have been made to the voters. But that is not going to fly with the Germans, among others. They expect the Greeks to fulfill the obligations that were agreed to previously. The two sides are not even in the same ballpark at this point, and things are starting to get very personal. It is no secret that the new Greek government does not like the Germans, and the Germans are not particularly fond of the Greeks at this point. But unless they can find a way to work out a deal, things could get quite messy very rapidly. The Greek government has about three weeks of cash left, and any changes to the current bailout arrangement would have to be approved by parliaments all over Europe by March 1st. And the stakes are incredibly high. If there is no deal, we could see a Greek debt default, Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone and go back to the drachma, the euro could collapse to all time lows, all the banks all over Europe that are exposed to Greek government debt could be faced with absolutely massive losses, and the 26 trillion dollars in derivatives that are directly tied to the value of the euro could start to unravel. In essence, if things go badly this could be enough to push us into a global financial crisis.
On Monday, eurozone officials tried to get the Greeks to extend the current bailout package for six months with the current austerity provisions in place. Greek government officials responded by saying that “those who bring this back are wasting their time” and that those negotiating on behalf of the eurozone are being “unreasonable”…
A Greek government official said that a draft text presented to eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday spoke of Greece extending its current bailout package and as such was “unreasonable” and would not be accepted.
Without specifying who put forward the text to the meeting chaired by Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the official said: “Some people’s insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted.”
Most observers have speculated that the new Greek government would give in to the demands of the rest of the eurozone when push came to shove.
But these new Greek politicians are a different breed. They are not establishment lackeys. Rather, they are very principled radicals, and they are not about to be pushed around. I certainly do not agree with their politics, but I admire the fact that they are willing to stand up for what they believe. That is a very rare thing these days.
On Monday, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis shared the following in the New York Times…
I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed.
Does that sound like a man that is going to back down to you?
Meanwhile, the other side continues to dig in as well.
Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, accused the Greek government of “behaving irresponsibly” by threatening to tear up agreements made with the eurozone in return for access to the loans which are all that stand between Greece and financial collapse.
“It seems like we have no results so far. I’m quite skeptical. The Greek government has not moved, apparently,” he said.
“As long as the Greek government doesn’t want a program, I don’t have to think about options.”
Global financial markets are still acting as if they fully expect a deal to get done eventually.
I am not so sure.
And without a doubt, time is running short. As I mentioned above, something has got to be finalized by March 1st. The following comes from the Wall Street Journal…
Any changes to the content or expiration date of Greece’s existing €240 billion ($273 billion) bailout have to be decided by Friday, to give national parliaments in Germany, Finland and the Netherlands enough time to approve them before the end of the month. Without such a deal, Greece will be on its own on March 1, cut loose from the rescue loans from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund that have sustained it for almost five years.
So what happens if there is no deal and Greece is forced to leave the eurozone?
The drachma would be back. The euro would be effectively abandoned, and Greece would return to the drachma, its previous currency (it might take a new name). The drachma would likely tumble in value against the euro as soon as it was issued, and how much the government could print quickly would be a big issue.
It would have to be fast, with capital controls. There would be people trying to pull their money out of Greece’s banks en masse. The Greek government would have to make that illegal pretty quickly. The European Central Bank drew up Grexit plans in 2012, and might be dusting them off now.
European life support for Greek banks would be withdrawn. Greek banks can currently access emergency liquidity assistance from the ECB, which would be removed if Greece left the euro.
Likely unrest and disorder. Barclays expects that this sudden economic collapse would “aggravate social unrest”, and notes that historically similar moves have caused a 45-85% devaluation of the currency. Capital Economics suggests that the drop could be more mild, closer to 20%, and Oxford Economics says 30%.
Greece would resume economic policymaking. Greece’s central bank would probably start doing its own QE programme, and the government would likely return to running deficits, no longer restrained by bailout rules (though investors would probably want large returns, given the risk of another default).
Inflation would spike immediately, but both Capital Economics and Oxford Economics say that should be temporary. It might look a bit like Russia this year — with the new currency in freefall until it finds its level against the euro, prices inside Greece would rise at dramatic speed. The inflation might be temporary, however, because with unemployment above 20%, Greece has plenty of spare labour slack to produce more.
That certainly does not sound good.
And once Greece leaves, everyone would be wondering who is next, because there are quite a few other deeply financially troubled nations in the eurozone.
In spite of the “recovery” in Spain, close to 24% are still unemployed. That statistic explains Pessimism in the Streets.
The crisis is here to stay according to significant majority of Spaniards. The general perception is that the current situation in which the country is negative and far from getting better, can only stay stagnant or even worse.
A Metroscopia poll published in El País makes it clear that the Spanish are unhappy with the current state of the country. Five out of six (83%) see the economic situation as “bad”, while more than half of the remaining perceive “regular”.
Right now, Europe is already teetering on the brink of an economic depression.
If this Greek debt crisis is not resolved, it could set in motion a chain of events which could start collapsing financial institutions all over Europe.
Yes, we have been here before and a deal has always emerged in the end.
But this time is different. This time very idealistic radicals are running things in Greece, and the “old guard” in Europe has no intention of giving in to them.
So let’s watch and see how this game of “chicken” plays out.
I have a feeling that it is not going to end well.
The long-anticipated collapse of the euro is here. When European Central Bank president Mario Draghi unveiled an open-ended quantitative easing program worth at least 60 billion euros a month on Thursday, stocks soared but the euro plummeted like a rock. It hit an 11 year low of $1.13, and many analysts believe that it is going much, much lower than this. The speed at which the euro has been falling in recent months has been absolutely stunning. Less than a year ago it was hovering near $1.40. But since that time the crippling economic problems in southern Europe have gone from bad to worse, and no amount of money printing is going to avert the financial nightmare that is slowly unfolding right before our eyes. Yes, there may be some temporary euphoria for a few days, but it is important to remember that reckless money printing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too before it turned into an utter disaster. Now that the ECB has decided to go this route, it is essentially out of ammunition. The only thing that it could potentially do beyond this is to print even larger quantities of money. As the global financial crisis begins to unfold over the next couple of years, the ECB is pretty much going to be powerless to do anything about it. Over the next couple of months, we can expect the euro to continue to head toward parity with the U.S. dollar, and eventually it is going to go to all-time lows. Meanwhile, the future of the eurozone itself is very much in doubt. If it does break up, the elite of Europe will probably try to put it back together in some sort of new configuration, but the damage will already have been done.
Over the next 18 months, the European Central bank will create more than a trillion euros out of thin air and will use that money to buy debt. The following is how this new QE program for Europe was described by the Telegraph…
“The combined monthly purchases of public and private sector securities will amount to €60bn euros,” said Mr Draghi at a press conference following a meeting of the ECB’s governing council.
“They are intended to be carried out until end-September 2016 and will in any case be conducted until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation,” he added, meaning the package will amount to at least €1.1 trillion.
Mr Draghi’s package of asset purchases, including bonds issued by national governments and EU institutions such as the European Commission, is intended to boost the eurozone’s flagging economy and to ward off the spectre of deflation.
When you print more money, you drive down the value of your currency. And the euro has already been crashing for months as you can see from the chart below…
As I write this, the euro is down to $1.13. And most analysts seem to agree that it is likely heading even lower.
How low could it ultimately go?
One prominent currency strategist recently told CNBC that he believes that it is actually heading beneath parity with the U.S. dollar…
The euro plunged to an 11-year low on Thursday, after the European Central Bank announced that it would begin a 60-euro monthly asset purchasing program. But it could still have a ways to fall.
Brown Brothers Harriman global head of currency strategy Marc Chandler predicts that the euro, which fell as low as 1.1362 on Thursday after trading near 1.4000 in May, is heading below 1.0. That widely watched level is the point at which it will just take a single U.S. dollar to purchase a euro, a condition known in the currency markets as “parity.”
I totally agree with Chandler.
In fact, I believe that the euro is ultimately going to break the all-time record low against the dollar.
I also believe that the current configuration of the eurozone is eventually going to fall to pieces. The euro may survive as a currency, but Europe is ultimately going to look a whole lot different than it does right now.
In fact, we could see things start to come apart for the eurozone as soon as Sunday. If Syriza wins a decisive victory in the upcoming Greek elections, it could create all sorts of chaos…
The polls put Alexis Tsipras and Syriza ahead of the ruling New Democracy party of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Tsipras has vowed to convince the ECB and euro zone to write down the value of their Greek debt holdings to allow him to increase public spending and stimulate job growth.
“There is a good chance they could win, and if they begin moving away from fiscal austerity, other members of the EU are going to say: ‘No more lending, no more life support.’ On Monday morning you’ll know,” De Clue said.
But of course Europe is far from alone. Financial problems are erupting all over the planet, and central banks are getting desperate.
Over the past week, seven major central banks have made moves to fight deflation. But the more that they cut interest rates and print money, the less effect that it has. And eventually, the people of the world are going to seriously lose confidence in these central banks as they realize what a sham the system really is.
“My belief is that the big surprise this year is that investor confidence in central banks collapses. And when that happens — I can’t short central banks, although I’d really like to, and the only way to short them is to go long gold, silver and platinum,” he said. “That’s the only way. That’s something I will do.”
So what do you think?
Do you agree with Marc Faber?
And what do you think is next for the euro?
Do you agree with me that it is going to record lows?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…