Are we about to witness one of the largest stock market crashes in U.S. history? Swiss investor Marc Faber is the publisher of the “Gloom, Boom & Doom Report”, and he has been a regular guest on CNBC for years. And even though U.S. stocks have been setting new record high after new record high in recent weeks, he is warning that a massive stock market crash is in our very near future. According to Faber, we could “easily” see the S&P 500 plunge all the way down to 1,100. As I sit here writing this article, the S&P 500 is sitting at 2,181.74, so that would be a drop of cataclysmic proportions. The following is an excerpt from a CNBC article that discussed the remarks that Faber made on their network on Monday…
The notoriously bearish Marc Faber is doubling down on his dire market view.
The editor and publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation” that stocks are likely to endure a gut-wrenching drop that would rival the greatest crashes in stock market history.
“I think we can easily give back five years of capital gains, which would take the market down to around 1,100,” Faber said, referring to a level 50 percent below Monday’s closing on the S&P 500.
Of course Faber is far from alone in believing that the market is heading for hard times. Just recently, I wrote about how legendary investor Jeffrey Gundlach is warning that “stocks should be down massively” and that he believes this is the time to “sell everything“.
And on Tuesday, Donald Trump told Fox News that the stock market is “a big bubble”…
“If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty,” the billionaire businessman told Fox News during a Tuesday morning phone interview. “It’s all a big bubble.”
Worries that the Fed has created a market bubble have shadowed the second-longest bull market in history as the central bank has kept its key rate near zero and expanded its balance sheet by $3.8 trillion in order to pump liquidity into the financial system.
Trump actually has a vested interest in seeing the stock market go down, because that would help his chances in November.
In a previous article on The Most Important News, I explained that the stock market has indicated who would win the presidential election 86 percent of the time since 1928. During the final three months before election day, if the stock market goes up the incumbent party almost always wins. But if the stock market goes down, the incumbent party almost always loses. The only times this correlation has not held up since 1928 were in 1956, 1968 and 1980.
For the moment, the stock market is defying the laws of economics, and that is a very good thing for Hillary Clinton. But if this bubble suddenly bursts and the market starts catching up with economic reality, that is going to turn out to be very favorable for Donald Trump.
And without a doubt, the fundamental economic numbers just continue to get worse. Earlier today, we learned that productivity in the U.S. has now been falling for three quarters in a row…
Productivity, a sore spot for the U.S. economy over the past few years, has now declined in three straight quarters, according to data released Tuesday.
Productivity in the second quarter unexpectedly fell 0.5%, well below expectations, the Labor Department said. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% gain in productivity in the quarter.
Productivity is down 0.4% from a year earlier, the first year-over-year decline since the second quarter of 2013.
On Tuesday we also learned that real estate sales in Las Vegas were down about 10 percent in July compared to the same period a year ago, and things are not looking so good in San Francisco either. Just check out what has been going on at Twitter…
Twitter is shaking up San Francisco. It’s the city’s 10th largest employer, and second largest tech employer, after Salesforce. But it hasn’t yet figured out, despite a decade of trying, how to make money. Last October, it announced that it would lay off 8% of its workforce. A couple of weeks ago, it reported a second-quarter net loss of $107 million along with disappointing user metrics and lousy projections. Its shares have lost 74% since their miracle-IPO-hype peak at the end of December 2014.
And now Twitter is dumping nearly one third of its total office space on the San Francisco sublease market.
Las Vegas and San Francisco are both prone to huge “booms” and “busts”. So the fact that it appears that both cities are starting to move into the “bust” end of the cycle is a very ominous sign.
Conditions are changing, and now is the time to position yourself for the exceedingly challenging times that are coming. As I end this article today, I want to share with you something written by Jim Quinn. He recently went out to visit his son Kevin in Colorado for a couple of weeks, and the following is how he ended his article about that trip…
After spending a week in this stunning paradise, it’s tougher than you know to go back to my two and half hour daily round trip commute into the slums of West Philly. John Muir’s words were right 100 years ago and they are right today. I am losing precious days and my days are spent trying to make money. I’ve got responsibilities. I’ve got bills to pay. I’ve got kids to get through college. We’ve got aging parents to help. I work because I have to.
I’m not learning anything in this trivial world of distractions and iGadgets. I don’t fit into this materialistic society. I don’t do small talk. I have no patience for fools. I prefer solitude. If I can survive this despicable rat race for seven more years, I’ll be joining Kevin in Colorado and living the life I’d like to live. The sun is setting and time is slipping away. Those mountains are calling me home.
I can definitely identify with what Jim is going through, because I once experienced similar emotions.
To Jim and everyone else that hopes that someday in the future they will be able to live the lives that they would like to be living right now, I would say this…
Don’t put it off.
Seize the day and find a way to make your dreams a reality.
Things are rapidly changing in this country, and if you keep putting off the life you want to be living for too long it may end up slipping away for good.
So many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just before the stock market crash of 2008 are playing out once again right before our eyes. Most of the time, a stock market crash doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Normally there are specific leading indicators that we can look for that will tell us if major trouble is on the horizon. One of these leading indicators is the junk bond market. Right now, a closely watched high yield bond ETF known as JNK is sitting at 35.77. If it falls below 35, that will be a major red flag, and it will be the first time that it has done so since 2009. As you can see from this chart, JNK started crashing in June and July of 2008 – well before equities started crashing later that year. A crash in junk bonds almost always precedes a major crash in stocks, and so this is something that I am watching carefully.
And there is a reason why junk bonds are crashing. In 2015 we have seen the most corporate bond downgrades since the last financial crisis, and corporate debt defaults are absolutely skyrocketing. The following comes from a recent piece by Porter Stansberry…
So far this year, nearly 300 U.S. corporations have seen their bonds downgraded. That’s the most downgrades per year since the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The year isn’t over yet. Neither are the downgrades. More worrisome, the 12-month default rate on high-yield corporate debt has doubled this year. This suggests we are well into the next major debt-default cycle.
Another thing that I am watching closely is the price of oil.
Many had been expecting the price of oil to bounce back, but instead we are seeing new downward momentum. In fact, according to Business Insider the price of U.S. oil briefly dipped below $43 a barrel on Wednesday…
Crude oil was down nearly 3% in morning trade on Wednesday.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures in New York dropped to as low as $42.97 per barrel. Futures touched a $42-handle in the last week of October, but last traded near those levels for a considerable period in August.
Prices for industrial commodities such as aluminum, tin, iron ore and coal are all crashing. But the commodity that has me most alarmed personally is copper.
Economists commonly refer to it as “Dr. Copper”, and there is a very good reason for that. Looking back over history, the price of copper often makes a significant move in one direction or the other before the overall economy does. And the price of copper almost always starts declining before stocks do.
As I write this, the price of copper has fallen to $2.21, and it is already lower than at any point since the last financial crisis. To get a better perspective regarding what I am talking about, just check out this chart. This is one signal that is absolutely screaming that a major financial crisis is imminent.
Most Americans don’t understand this, but the truth is that a rising U.S. dollar puts an incredible amount of stress on emerging markets all around the globe. Since the last financial crisis, many of these emerging markets have been on a massive debt binge, and much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars. Now that the dollar has increased in value, emerging market borrowers are finding that it takes much more of their own local currencies to service and pay back those debts. Defaults are rapidly rising, and emerging market economies all over the world (such as Brazil) have already plunged into recession.
If the Fed does follow through with an interest rate hike in December, that is going to make things even worse. The U.S. dollar will surge even more, and emerging markets will be in even more trouble.
At the same time that the dollar is getting stronger, the euro is getting weaker. An article that was posted by CNBC on Wednesday went so far as to state that “it is now looking like the euro reaching parity with the greenback is all but guaranteed”…
The prospect of the Fed hiking interest rates in December has pushed the dollar higher, and it is now looking like the euro reaching parity with the greenback is all but guaranteed.
Strategists, however, disagree on how quickly that will happen and how much more the dollar can appreciate in the near term. That depends, they say, on the Fed, and how fast it will raise interest rates in a world where other central banks are moving in the opposite direction toward easier policy.
Goldman Sachs analysts this week reiterated that they expect euro parity with the dollar by year-end though other strategists expect the decline in the common currency against the dollar to take longer.
Let’s see, who has been warning that this would happen for more than a year? Here are just a few examples…
July 19th: “For a long time, I have been repeating my prediction that the euro would fall to parity with the U.S. dollar.”
June 28th: “As I have warned repeatedly, the euro is heading for parity with the U.S. dollar, and at some point it will drop below parity.”
May 25th: “As I have warned so many times before, the euro is headed for parity with the U.S. dollar, and then it is going to go below parity.”
In August 2014, just a little bit over a year ago, the EUR/USD was sitting above 1.30. At that time very few people out there would have ever imagined we would be talking about parity just a little more than a year later.
This is just the beginning of a time of great financial volatility. The things that we are going to witness in the months and years to come are going to be absolutely unprecedented. A massive global debt super-cycle is coming to an end, and the pain that this is going to mean for the global economy is almost too great to put into words.
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.
Everywhere you look today the mainstream news is talking about shortages. Authorities all over the globe are boldly proclaiming that the world is rapidly running out of food, water and oil. So are these doomsayers right? Well, it must be noted that some of the most famous “prophets of doom” of the past several decades have seen their predictions fail spectacularly. For example, in his infamous 1968 book entitled “The Population Bomb“, Paul Ehrlich made the following statement: “I don’t see how India could possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980.” Well, India is now feeding well over twice the number of people than they had when Ehrlich originally wrote his book. But that doesn’t mean that major shortages won’t happen in the future. It just means that we should be careful not to look incredibly ridiculous like Ehrlich did. The truth is that there are good reasons why we should be watching global supplies of food, water and oil very closely. Life as we know it would cease to exist if we had severe shortages of any of them.
So will we actually be facing serious shortages of food, water or oil in the coming years?
Well, let’s take a look at oil first.
Right now oil is absolutely essential to almost everything that we do. We require oil to drive our cars, we require oil to produce our food, a large percentage of our homes use energy that is derived from oil and most of what we buy at the stores comes in packaging that is made up at least partly of oil.
So if we run out of oil that is going to be a really huge deal.
So are we going to run out of oil?
Well, right now advocates of the “peak oil” hypothesis are getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media.
Basically the idea behind “peak oil” is that the world has reached (or almost reached) the maximum amount of oil that it can produce and that from here on out the amount of oil that will be produced will begin to decline. Meanwhile, the demand for oil is only going to continue to increase.
So is there evidence that this is actually happening?
Well, it depends on who you ask. But what is undeniable is that there are some very powerful interests that are doing their best to hype a coming oil shortage.
In recently released report entitled “Signals & Signposts“, Shell Oil warns that global demand for energy is going to be three times as large in 2050 as it was in 2000.
So where will all of that extra energy come from?
Can the world possibly produce two or three times as much oil as it does today?
The Shell Oil report forecasts that the global supply of oil will continue to rise but that the rise in supply will not be fast enough to keep up with the rise in demand. According to Shell, this is going to cause rapidly rising oil prices which will cause the gross domestic products of all nations to fall.
So just how high could oil prices go?
Well, the truth is that the price of oil is very highly manipulated. The market for oil is not exactly what you would call a “free market”.
However, it is alarming that almost everyone is forecasting much higher oil prices at this point.
For example, Weeden & Co. oil analyst Charles Maxwell recently stated that he believes that the price of oil will eventually hit $300 a barrel by the end of this decade.
If that were to happen, it would be absolutely disastrous for the global economy. Yeah, those in the oil industry would make a killing, but for the rest of the world it would be a complete and utter nightmare.
Unfortunately, what most Americans don’t understand is that there are lots of alternative energy technologies out there that have been repressed by the big oil companies and by the big oil producing nations because they threaten hundreds of billions of dollars in profits.
For example, did you know that it is possible to run a car entirely on water? One Japanese company hopes to start mass marketing them….
But I wouldn’t count on seeing water-powered cars sold on every street corner any time soon.
Because of greed.
Our entire system of energy is based on making as much money as possible for those who have all the oil.
So if the world has a shortage of energy in the coming years, it is not because that is how it inevitably had to be.
Rather, it will be all about pure, unadulterated greed.
There are plenty of alternative energy technologies out there that are incredibly promising, but those that are getting incredibly wealthy off of our oil-based society are not going to quietly step aside for the good of mankind.
So what about food?
Is the world running out of food?
Well, as we have seen so many times in the past, the earth can support far more people than most of the “experts” ever imagined.
In fact, if weather patterns were perfectly stable and we removed human greed out of the picture, the earth could most likely support a whole lot more people.
Unfortunately, weather patterns are becoming increasingly bizarre and human greed is always a problem.
In particular, this year extreme weather all over the globe is causing many to be concerned that we may soon see some very serious food shortages. In Australia and Brazil, flooding of Biblical proportions has absolutely devastated crops. Some of China’s most important agricultural areas are experiencing the worst droughts that they have seen in 200 years. Authorities are warning that two-thirds of China’s wheat crop could be in danger. A recent cold snap that hit northern Mexico wiped out entire harvests and has sent prices for many fresh produce items in the United States soaring.
But these bizarre weather patterns will hopefully settle down eventually.
What is of even greater concern is that we have been seeing a long-term trend of rapidly rising food prices over the last couple of years that is putting an extreme amount of strain on the 3 billion people in the world that are trying to survive on the equivalent of 2 dollars or less per day.
Most Americans can still handle rising food prices, but for millions upon millions of poor people all over the world a significant increase in the cost of food can mean the difference between life and death.
That is why the sudden rise in price of so many agricultural commodities is so disturbing. Just consider some of the shocking price increases that we have seen over the past year or two….
*But there are few places where the water shortage is as severe as it is in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia had been producing enough wheat to be self-sufficient for most of the past 30 years, but in 2008 authorities there realized that the non-replenishable aquifer they had been pumping for irrigation purposes was nearly depleted. So in response Saudi Arabia made the decision to reduce their wheat harvest by one-eighth every year thereafter. Wheat production in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to cease entirely in 2016.
In some of the most populated areas of the planet the water situation can only be described as catastrophic.
For example, did you know that a new desert the size of Rhode Island is created in China because of drought every single year?
Did you know that in China 80% of the major rivers are so polluted that they don’t support aquatic life at all?
Did you know that the women of South Africa collectively walk the equivalent distance to the moon and back 16 times a day for water?
Thankfully the water situation in the United States has not gotten that bad yet, but the truth is that even we could be facing serious water shortages in the years ahead.
According to a recent report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states will likely be facing very serious water shortages by the year 2050.
So, yes, there are some really good reasons to be concerned about earth’s dwindling resources.
If the global elite were not so incredibly greedy and if we managed our planet better we would not have problems to this degree.
But here we are.
So what is the solution?
Well, it would be really great if the global elite would just share some of their wealth. A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.
But the global elite aren’t about to change the rules of the global economy. After all, they spent a whole lot of time and effort rigging the game so that virtually all wealth eventually gets funneled into their hands.
After all, they argue, if there are half as many people around then we will only be using half as many resources, right?
Well, as alluring as that may sound, the truth is that the world has always had a huge problem with poverty. Even when the global population was down around 100 million people there was rampant poverty.
The number of people is not the problem.
The problem is the insatiable greed of the elite.
The global elite have systematically exploited the poor all over the planet, they have gobbled up the resources of the world wherever they have found them and now they are hoarding their wealth as millions upon millions suffer desperately.
Well, in the end the global elite will have to answer to a higher power. In the book of James it talks about those who hoard wealth on this earth….
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
According to the most recent “Global Wealth Report” by Credit Suisse, the wealthiest 0.5% control over 35% of the wealth of the world.
That qualifies as hoarding wealth.
Other estimates put the concentration of wealth at the very top of the food chain much higher than that.
But sadly, the problem of greed is not going to be solved any time soon.
Global supplies of food and fresh water are going to continue to diminish.
The world economy is going to continue to become increasingly unstable.
If it was always your desire to live in “interesting times”, then you are about to get your wish. Things are about to get extremely “interesting” on this planet.
So what do you think? Do you believe that the world will be facing shortages of food, water and oil in the years ahead? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….