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In The Month Of September 2015 We Officially Enter The Danger Zone

Earth Globe Planet Sky World - Public DomainIs September 2015 going to be one of the most important months in modern American history?  When I issued my first ever “red alert” for the last six months of 2015 back in June, I was particularly concerned with the months of September through December, and not just for economic reasons.  All of the intel that I have received is absolutely screaming that big trouble is ahead.  So enjoy these last few days of relative peace and quiet.  I mean that sincerely.  In fact, that is exactly what I have been doing – over the past week I have not posted many articles because I was spending time with family, friends and preparing for the national call to prayer on September 18th and 19th.   But now as we enter the chaotic month of September 2015 I have a feeling that there is going to be plenty for me to write about.

At this time last month, I declared that we were entering “the pivotal month of August 2015“, and that is exactly what it turned out to be.  August was the worst month overall for stocks in three years, and it was the worst month of August for U.S. financial markets in 17 years.

Throughout history, there have only been 11 times when the S&P 500 has declined by more than five percent during the month of August.  When that has happened, the stock market has almost always fallen in September as well

September is the only month in which the S&P 500 fell more frequently than it rose. What’s more, in the 11 times that the S&P 500 fell by more than 5 percent in August, it declined in 80 percent of the subsequent Septembers, and fell an average of nearly 4 percent.

Last week, there was a rally after the initial crash.  I warned that this would happen in advance, and we have seen a similar pattern play out during almost every market collapse throughout history.  The following comes from John Hussman

As I noted early this year (see A Better Lesson than “This Time Is Different”), market crashes “have tended to unfold after the market has already lost 10-14% and the recovery from that low fails.” Prior pre-crash bounces have generally been in the 6-7% range, which is what we observed last week, so I certainly don’t see that bounce as having removed any of our concerns. We remain extremely alert to the prospect for much more extended market losses.

So how far could stocks eventually fall?

Hussman is projecting that we could ultimately see the market decline by more than 50 percent

We fully expect a 40-55% market loss over the completion of the present market cycle. Such a loss would only bring valuations to levels that have been historically run-of-the-mill.

One thing that could accelerate stock market losses this time around is the fact that people have been borrowing lots and lots of money to buy stocks.  That works when the stock market just keeps going up, but once the market turns the margin calls can lead to panic selling on a massive scale.  The following comes from a recent piece by Wolf Richter in which he describes some of the chaos that we have already been witnessing…

Energy stocks and bonds crashed, even those of some large companies like Chesapeake. Some have reached zero. All kinds of other stocks and bonds have gotten eviscerated over the past few months, even tech darlings like Twitter or biotech giant Biogen. Portfolios with a focus on the wrong momentum stocks took a very serious hit.

And margin calls went out. The Journal:

Some lenders, including Bank of America Corp., are issuing margin calls to clients after the global market drubbing of the past week, forcing investors to choose between either putting up more money or selling some of the securities underlying the loans.

Other banks too sent out margin calls, including U.S. Trust, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo, according to the Journal. With margin calls mucking up the scenario, spooked investors are trying to lower their leverage before they’re forced to, and the boom in securities-based lending appears to be over. And the wealth units of the banks that gorged on these loans are likely to see their profits dented.

If that continues, a much crummier thing happens: margin balances reverse. And the last two times they did after a majestic record-breaking spike, the stock market crashed.

For some more technical reasons why another wave to the downside is coming, see an excellent article entitled “RED ALERT for 2nd CRASH DOWNWAVE…” by Clive P. Maund that you can find right here.

In addition to the chaos in the financial world, we are also witnessing a convergence of events during the month of September that is pretty much unprecedented.  I know that I have never seen anything quite like it in my lifetime.

Recently, I put together a list of 33 events that we know will happen next month, and you can find that list right here.  Instead of repeating the entire article, I just want to highlight a few items from the list…

September 13 – The last day of the Shemitah year.  During the last two Shemitah cycles, we witnessed record-breaking stock market crashes on the very last day of the Shemitah year (Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar).  For example, if you go back to September 17th, 2001 (which was Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in all of U.S. history up until that time.  The Dow plunged 684 points, and it was a record that held for exactly seven years until the end of the next Shemitah cycle.  On September 29th, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), the Dow plummeted 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one day stock market crash of all time in the United States.  Now we are in another Shemitah year.  It began in the fall of 2014, and it ends on September 13th, 2015.

September 15 – The 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on this date.  It has been widely reported that France plans to introduce a resolution which will give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state shortly after the new session begins.  Up until now, the U.S. has always been the one blocking such a resolution, but Barack Obama has already indicated that things may be different this time around.  It would be extremely difficult to overstate the significance of this.

September 25 to September 27 – The United Nations launches a brand new “universal agenda” for humanity known as “the 2030 Agenda“.

September 28 – This is the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on Biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015.  This blood moon will be a “supermoon” and it will be clearly visible from the city of Jerusalem.

If you don’t know what a “supermoon” is, the following is a pretty good summary of what we should expect to see

On the night of 27 to 28 September, the Moon is closest to us at 2.46am, only an hour before it’s full. As a result, this supermoon will appear 14 percent bigger in the sky than the Moon at its most distant and smallest, and it should be 30 percent brighter. The Moon will certainly look unusually big and brilliant around 2am. But at 2.07am you’ll see a small chunk being nibbled out of its brilliant disc by the Earth’s shadow. Sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness, the Moon is totally eclipsed by 3.11am. It remains completely in the shadow of the Earth until 4.23am, when the full Moon gradually begins to emerge.

There has been lots and lots of speculation about other events that could take place during the month of September, but as of right now I cannot prove that any of them will actually happen.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not watching.

If it sounds ominous to you when I say that we are “entering the danger zone” during the month of September, that is good, because that is precisely the tone that I am attempting to convey.

When things start completely falling apart in this nation, millions upon millions of Americans will complain that nobody warned them in advance about what was coming.

Well, I am warning you right now.

Get ready.

46 million Americans go to food banks, and long lines for dwindling food supplies begin at 6:30 AM

Children Orphans Eating - Public DomainThose that run food banks all over America say that demand for their services just continues to explode.  It always amazes me that there are still people out there that insist that an “economic collapse” is not happening.  From their air-conditioned homes in their cushy suburban neighborhoods they mock the idea that the U.S. economy is crumbling.  But if they would just go down and visit the local food banks in their areas, they would see how much people are hurting.  According to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser, 46 million Americans got food from a food bank at least one time during 2014.  Because the demand has become so overwhelming, some food banks are cutting back on the number of days they operate and the amount of food that is given to each family.  As you will see below, many impoverished Americans are lining up at food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get something before the food runs out.  And yet there are still many people out there that have the audacity to say that everything is just fine in America.  Shame on them for ignoring the pain of millions upon millions of their fellow citizens.

Poverty in America is getting worse, not better.  And no amount of spin from Barack Obama or his apologists can change that fact.

This year, it is being projected that food banks in the United States will give away an all-time record 4 billion pounds of food.

Over the past decade, that number has more than doubled.

And that number would be even higher if food banks had more food to give away.  The demand has become so crushing that some food banks have actually reduced the amount of food each family gets

Food banks across the country are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.

Those in need are starting to realize what is going on, so they are getting to the food banks earlier and earlier.  For example, one food bank in New Mexico is now getting long lines of people every single day starting at 6:30 in the morning

We get lines of people every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sheila Moore, who oversees food distribution at The Storehouse, the largest pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one where food distribution has climbed 15 percent in the past year.

Does that sound like an “economic recovery” to you?

Just because your family doesn’t have to stand in line for food does not mean that everything is okay in America.

The same thing that is happening in New Mexico is also happening in Ohio.  Needy people are standing in line at the crack of dawn so that they can be sure to get something “before the food runs out”

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, who has been working in food charities since the 1980s, said that when earlier economic downturns ended, food demand declined, but not this time.

People keep coming earlier and earlier, they’re standing in line, hoping they get there before the food runs out,” Hamler-Fugitt said.

And keep in mind that we are just now entering the next global financial crisis and the next major recession.

So how bad will things be when millions more Americans lose their jobs and millions more Americans lose their homes?

Rising poverty is also reflected in the number of Americans on food stamps.  The following graph was posted by the Economic Policy Journal, and it shows how food stamp use has absolutely exploded in the five most populated states…

Food Stamp Recipients - Economic Policy Journal

I don’t see an “economic recovery” in that graph, do you?

Instead, what it shows is that the number of Americans on food stamps continued to rise for years even after the recession ended.

Sadly, things are only going to get worse from here.  Eventually, the kinds of things that we are seeing happen in places such as Venezuela will be coming here as well.  At this point, young mothers in Venezuela are sleeping outside of empty supermarkets at night in a desperate attempt to get something for their families when morning arrives

As dawn breaks over the scorching Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, smugglers, young mothers and a handful of kids stir outside a supermarket where they spent the night, hoping to be first in line for scarce rice, milk or whatever may be available.

Some of the people in line are half-asleep on flattened cardboard boxes, others are drinking coffee.

Most Americans cannot identify with this level of suffering, but it is coming to our country someday too.  Here is more from Reuters

I can’t get milk for my child. What are we going to do?” said Leida Silva, 54, breaking into tears outside the Latino supermarket in northern Maracaibo where she arrived at 3 a.m. on a recent day.

Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about how the number of Americans living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

In case you are wondering, that is not a sign of progress.

Just because you might live in a comfortable neighborhood that does not give you the right to look down on those that are suffering.

And when you add increasing racial tensions to the mix, it becomes easier to understand why there is so much anger and frustration in our urban areas.  According to Business Insider, the percentage of Americans that consider race relations to be in good shape in this nation has dropped precipitously…

Over the last two years there has been a 23% drop in the number of Americans who see relations between blacks and whites as “very good” or “somewhat good.”

Today, only 47% of Americans see black-white relations positively, according to a Gallup poll, the lowest it has been in the last 14 years.

The poll also showed that blacks see the relations more positively (51%) than whites (45%), but both percentages experienced sharp declines in the last two years.

All of the ingredients are there for civil unrest to erupt in cities all over the United States.

When the next major economic downturn happens, anger and frustration are going to flare to extremely dangerous levels.  At this point, it will not take much to set things off.

Desperate people do desperate things, and desperation is rising even now in this country.

So how did things get so bad?

Stupid decisions lead to stupid results, and very soon we will start to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly stupid decisions.

11 Red Flag Events That Just Happened As We Enter The Pivotal Month Of August 2015

Red Flags - Public DomainAre 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.

#7 Commodities just had their worst month in almost four years.  As I have written about previously, we witnessed a collapse in commodity prices just before the stock market crash of 2008 too.

#8 Thanks to Barack Obama, the U.S. coal industry is imploding, and some of the largest coal producers in the entire country have just announced that they are declaring bankruptcy

On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the biggest American producer of coking coal, Alpha Natural Resources, could file for bankruptcy as soon as Monday.

Competitor Walter Energy filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, and several others have done the same this year.

#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.

And in this list I didn’t even mention the economic chaos that is happening down in South America.  For full coverage of that, please see my previous article entitled “The South American Financial Crisis Of 2015“.

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.

Fall and winter are coming.

Prepare while there is still time to do so.

The South American Financial Crisis Of 2015

South America - Public DomainMost 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…

Copper, China And World Trade Are All Screaming That The Next Economic Crisis Is Here

Screaming Smiley - Public DomainIf you are looking for a “canary in a coal mine” type of warning for the entire global economy, you have a whole bunch to pick from right now.  “Dr. Copper” just hit a six year low, Morgan Stanley is warning that this could be the worst oil price crash in 45 years, the Chinese economy is suddenly stalling out, and world trade is falling at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.  In order not to see all of the signs that are pointing toward a global economic slowdown, you would have to be willingly blind.  In recent months, I have been writing article after article detailing how the exact same patterns that happened just before the stock market crash of 2008 are playing out once again.  We are watching a slow-motion train wreck unfold right before our eyes, and things are only going to get worse from here.

Copper is referred to as “Dr. Copper” because it does such an excellent job of indicating where economic conditions are heading next.  We saw this in 2008, when the price of copper started crashing big time in the months leading up to the stock market implosion.

Well, now copper is crashing again.  Just check out this chart.  The price of copper plunged again on Wednesday, and it is now the lowest that it has been since the last financial crisis.  Unfortunately, the forecast for the months ahead is not good.  The following is what Goldman Sachs is saying about copper…

“Though we have been bearish on copper on a 12-mo forward basis for the past two and a half years, we have maintained a more bullish medium to long-term stance on the assumption of Chinese copper demand growth of 4% per annum and a major slowing in supply growth around 2017/2018 … we substantially lower our short, medium, and long-term copper price forecasts, on the back of lower Chinese copper demand growth forecasts (we have been highlighting that the risk has been skewed to the downside for some time), increased conviction in copper supply growth over the next three years, and increased conviction in the outlook for mining cost deflation in dollar terms.”

It is funny that Goldman mentioned China so prominently.  Even though China’s fake GDP figures say that everything is fine over there, other numbers are painting a very dismal picture.

For instance, Chinese electrical consumption in June grew at the slowest pace that we have seen in 30 years, and capital outflows from China have reached a level that is “frightening”

Robin Brooks at Goldman Sachs estimates that capital outflows topped $224bn in the second quarter, a level “beyond anything seen historically”.

The Chinese central bank (PBOC) is being forced to run down the country’s foreign reserves to defend the yuan. This intervention is becoming chronic. The volume is rising. Mr Brooks calculates that the authorities sold $48bn of bonds between March and June.

Charles Dumas at Lombard Street Research says capital outflows – when will we start calling it capital flight? – have reached $800bn over the past year. These are frighteningly large sums of money.

Just last month, the Chinese stock market started to crash, but the crash was interrupted when the Chinese government essentially declared a form of financial martial law.

And I don’t think that “financial martial law” is too strong of a term to use in this case.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article in the Telegraph

Half the shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen were suspended. New floats were halted. Some 300 corporate bosses were strong-armed into buying back their own shares. Police state tactics were used hunt down short sellers.

We know from a vivid account in Caixin magazine that China’s top brokers were shut in a room and ordered to hand over money for an orchestrated buying blitz. A target of 4,500 was set for the Shanghai Composite by Communist Party officials.

So a stock market crash was halted, but in doing so Chinese officials have essentially destroyed the second largest stock market in the world.  China’s financial markets have lost all legitimacy, and foreigners are going to be extremely hesitant to put any money into Chinese stocks from now on.

Meanwhile, there is no hiding the fact that trade activity in China and in most of the rest of the planet is slowing down.  In fact, world trade volume has now dropped by the most that we have seen since the last global recession.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

As goes the world, so goes America (according to 30 years of historical data), and so when world trade volumes drop over 2% (the biggest drop since 2009) in the last six months to the weakest since June 2014, the “US recession imminent” canary in the coalmine is drawing her last breath

World Trade Volume - Zero Hedge

As Wolf Street’s Wolf Richter adds, this isn’t stagnation or sluggish growth. This is the steepest and longest decline in world trade since the Financial Crisis. Unless a miracle happened in June, and miracles are becoming exceedingly scarce in this sector, world trade will have experienced its first back-to-back quarterly contraction since 2009.

As you probably noted in the chart above, a decline in world trade is almost always associated with a recession.

That was certainly the case back in 2008 and 2009.

Another similarity between the last crisis and what is happening now is a crash in the price of oil.

According to Business Insider, we have just officially entered a brand new bear market for oil…

Oil is officially in a bear market.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell more than 1% to settle near $48.55 per barrel in New York.

A bear market is roughly defined as a 20% drop from highs. Crude has now fallen by about 20% in the last six weeks.

So what does all of this mean?

All of these signs are indicating that another great economic crisis is here, and that a global financial implosion is just around the corner.

At this point, even many of the “bulls” are sounding the alarm.  For example, just consider what Henry Blodget of Business Insider is saying…

As regular readers know, for the past ~21 months I have been worrying out loud about US stock prices. Specifically, I have suggested that a decline of 30% to 50% would not be a surprise.

I haven’t predicted a crash. But I have said clearly that I think stocks will deliver returns that are way below average for the next seven to 10 years. And I certainly won’t be surprised to see stocks crash. So don’t say no one warned you!

For those that don’t know, Henry Blodget is definitely not a bear.  In fact, he is one of Wall Street’s biggest cheerleaders.

So for Blodget to suggest that we could see the stock market drop by half is a really big deal.

The closer that we get to this next crisis, the clearer that everything is becoming.

Where are things going to go from here?  Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

The German Siege Of Greece Begins (No, This Is Not A Repeat From 1941)

Siege - Public DomainDid you notice that Greece’s creditors are not rushing to offer the Greeks a new deal in the wake of the stunning referendum result on Sunday?  In fact, it is being reported that the initial reaction to the “no” vote from top European politicians was “a thunderous silence“.  Needless to say, the European elite were not pleased by how the Greek people voted, but they still have all of the leverage.  In particular, it is the Germans that are holding all of the cards.  If the Germans want to cave in and give the Greeks the kind of deal that they desire, everyone else would follow suit.  And if the Germans want to maintain a hard line with Greece, they can block any deal from happening all by themselves.  So in the final analysis, this is really an economic test of wills between Germany and Greece, and time is on Germany’s side.  Germany doesn’t have to offer anything new.  The Germans can just sit back and wait for the Greek government to default on their debts, for Greek banks to totally run out of cash and for civil unrest to erupt in Greek cities as the economy grinds to a standstill.

In ancient times, if a conquering army came up against a walled city that was quite formidable, often a decision would be made to conduct a siege.  Instead of attacking a heavily defended city directly and taking heavy casualties, it was often much more cost effective to simply surround the city from a safe distance and starve the inhabitants into submission.

In a sense, that is exactly what the Germans appear to want to do to the Greeks.  Without more cash, the Greek government cannot pay their bills.  Without more cash, Greek banks are going to start collapsing left and right.  Without more cash, the Greek economy is going to completely and utterly collapse.

So yes, the Greeks voted for change, but the Germans still hold the purse strings.

And right now the Germans do not sound like they are in any mood to compromise.  The following comes from a Reuters report that was published on Monday…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s deputy said Athens had wrecked any hope of compromise with its euro zone partners by overwhelmingly rejecting further austerity.

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande conferred by telephone and will meet in Paris on Monday afternoon to seek a joint response. Responding to their call, European Council President Donald Tusk announced that euro zone leaders would meet in Brussels on Tuesday evening (1600 GMT).

German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of Merkel’s centre-left Social Democratic junior coalition partner, said it was hard to conceive of fresh negotiations on lending more billions to Athens after Greeks voted against more austerity.

Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had “torn down the last bridges on which Greece and Europe could have moved towards a compromise,” Gabriel told the Tagesspiegel daily.

In addition, Angela Merkel’s office released a statement on Monday that placed the onus on making a new proposal to end this crisis on the Greek government

It is up to Greece to make something of this. We are waiting to see which proposals the Greek government makes to its European partners,” the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s leading austerity advocate, said in a statement.

Just because the Greek people want the Germans to give them a very favorable deal does not mean that the Germans will be inclined to do so.  The Germans know that whatever they do with the Greeks will set a precedent for the rest of the financially-troubled nations all across Europe.  If Greece gets a free lunch, then Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and France will expect the same kind of treatment

Angelos Chryssogelos, an expert on Greek politics at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the strength of Sunday’s mandate handed to Tsipras means it will be almost impossible for the prime minister’s leftist Syriza party to make a deal with European creditors.

“The Europeans made it pretty clear where they stand, and they have been consistent,” Chryssogelos said, adding that the creditors also are unlikely to back down. “Right now, voters across the eurozone largely support the tough stance taken by the eurozone.”

Chryssogelos said Greek voters may have underestimated the resolve of the creditors to reach an accord on their terms. “If someone is seen getting preferential treatment, then someone else will want that treatment,” he said, referring to other eurozone debtors such as Ireland and Portugal.

And remember, there is a very important Spanish election coming up in December.

If Syriza comes out as the big winner in this crisis, it will empower similar movements in Spain and all over the rest of the continent.

So look for Greece’s creditors to tighten the screws over the coming days.  In fact, we already saw a bit of screw tightening on Monday when the ECB announced that Greek banks would not be receiving additional emergency assistance

In a move sure to increase pressure on Greece’s flailing banks, the European Central Bank on Monday decided not to expand an emergency assistance program, raising fears that Greece could soon go completely bankrupt.

The move put a swift crimp on Greek leaders’ jubilation after winning a landslide endorsement from their citizens to reject Europe’s austerity demands and seek a new bailout bargain. Now they must seek a bargain before the money runs out within days, which would likely force them off the euro.

Basically we are watching a very high stakes game of chicken play out.  And as the cash dwindles, economic activity in Greece is slowly grinding to a halt.  The following comes from the Washington Post

The dwindling cash is sucking the life out of everything from coffee shops to taxis, as anxious Greeks economize amid fears for the future. Greek leaders also banned transfers of money abroad, meaning that very little can now be imported into the country.

Printing plants are warning that they may run out of paper to print newspapers by the end of the week. Butchers say that stocks of imported meat are dwindling.

Some are even projecting that we could see civil unrest erupt in Greece in about “48 hours” once the ATM machines  run out of cash

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras probably has 48 hours to resolve a standoff with creditors before civil unrest breaks out and ATMs run out of cash, hedge fund Balyasny Asset Management said.

Yes, the Greek people exhibited great resolve in voting against the demands of the creditors on Sunday.

But how long can they endure this economic siege?

It is inevitable that a breaking point will come.  Either the Greek government will give in, or the Greeks will leave the euro and start to transition back to the drachma.

If we do see a “Grexit”, and many analysts believe that one is coming, it could set off a chain of events that could cause immense financial pain all over the planet.  There are tens of trillions of dollars of derivatives that are tied to European bond yields, European interest rates, etc.  The following is an excerpt from a piece authored by Phoenix Capital Research that explains what kind of jeopardy we could potentially be facing…

The global derivatives market is roughly $700 trillion in size. That’s over TEN TIMES the world’s GDP. And sovereign bonds… including even bonds from bankrupt countries such as Greece… are one of, if not the primary collateral underlying all of these trades.

Greece is not the real issue for Europe. The entire Greek debt market is about €345 billion in size. So we’re not talking about a massive amount of collateral… though the turmoil this country has caused in the last three years gives a sense of the importance of the issue.

Spain, by comparison has over €1.0 trillion in debt outstanding… and Italy has €2.6 trillion. These bonds are backstopping tens of trillions of Euros’ worth of derivatives trades. A haircut on them would trigger systemic failure in Europe.

If Greece gets a “haircut” on their debt, other European nations would want the same and that would cause massive chaos in the derivatives markets.

But if Greece does not get a deal and ends up leaving the eurozone, that will cause bond yields to go crazy all over Europe and that would also cause tremendous chaos in the derivatives markets.

So much depends on keeping this system of legalized gambling that we call “derivatives trading” stable.  We have allowed the global derivatives bubble to become many times larger than the GDP of the entire planet, and in the end we will pay a great price for this foolishness.

Every pyramid scheme eventually collapses, and this one will too.

But the difference with this pyramid scheme is that it is going to take the entire global financial system down with it.

The Economic Collapse Blog Has Issued A RED ALERT For The Last Six Months Of 2015

Red Alert ButtonI have never done anything like this before.  Ever since I started The Economic Collapse Blog in late 2009, I have never issued any kind of “red alert” for any specific period of time.  As an attorney, I was trained to be level-headed and to only come to conclusions that were warranted by the evidence.  So this is not something that I am doing lightly.  Based on information that I have received, things that I have been told, and thousands of hours of research that have gone into the publication of more than 1,300 articles about our ongoing economic collapse, I have come to the conclusion that a major financial collapse is imminent.  Therefore, I am issuing a RED ALERT for the last six months of 2015.

To clarify, when I say “imminent” I do not mean that it will happen within the next 48 hours.  And I am not saying that our problems will be “over” once we get to the end of 2015.  In fact, I believe that the truth is that our problems will only be just beginning as we enter 2016.

What I am attempting to communicate is that we are right at the door of a major turning point.  About this time of the year back in 2008, my wife and I went to visit her parents.  As we sat in their living room, I explained to them that we were on the verge of a major financial crisis, and of course the events that happened a few months later showed that I was right on the money.

This time around, I wish that I could visit the living rooms of all of my readers and explain to them why we are on the verge of another major financial crisis.  Unfortunately, that is not possible, but hopefully this article will suffice.  Please share it with your friends, your family and anyone else that you want to warn about what is coming.

Let’s start with a little discussion about the U.S. economy.  Most of the time, when I use the term “economic collapse” what most people are actually thinking of is a “financial collapse”.  And we will talk about the imminent “financial collapse” later on in this article.  But just because stocks have recently been hitting all-time record highs does not mean that the overall economy has been doing well.  This is a theme that I have hammered on over and over again.  It is my contention that we are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that has been happening for many years, that is happening as you read this article, and that will greatly accelerate over the coming months.

Let me give you just one quick example.  When an economy is healthy, money tends to circulate fairly rapidly.  I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc.  In a stable and growing economy, people generally feel good about things and they are not afraid to spend.  But during hard times, the exact opposite happens.  That is why the velocity of money almost always slows down during a recession.  As you can see from the chart below, the velocity of money has indeed gone down during every recession since 1960.  Once a recession is over, the velocity of money is supposed to go back up.  But a funny thing happened after the last recession ended.  The velocity of money continued to go down, and it has now hit an all-time record low…

Velocity Of Money M2

This is the kind of chart that you would expect from a very sick economy.  And without a doubt, our economy is sick.  Even the official government numbers paint a picture of an economy that is deeply troubled.  Corporate profits have declined for two quarters in a row, U.S. exports plunged by 7.6 percent during the first quarter of 2015, U.S. GDP contracted by 0.7 percent during the first quarter, and factory orders have declined year over year for six months in a row.

If the stock market was connected to reality, it would be going down.  But instead, it has just kept going up.  As I discussed yesterday, this is a classic case of an irrational financial bubble.  If I was writing an economic textbook and I wanted to include an example of what a run up to a major financial crash looks like, it would be hard to come up with anything more ideal than what we have watched unfold over the last six months.  Just about every pattern that has popped up prior to previous stock markets crashes is happening again, and this is something that I have written about so much that many of my readers are sick of it.

And without a doubt, our financial markets are primed for a crash.

Only two times before has the S&P 500 been up by more than 200 percent over a six year time frame.

The first was in 1929, and the stock market subsequently crashed.

The second was in 2000, right before the dotcom bubble burst.

And by just about any measure that you can possibly imagine, stocks are massively overvalued right now.

For instance, just check out the chart posted below.  It comes from Doug Short, and it shows that the ratio of corporate equity prices to GDP has only been higher one time since 1950.  That was in 2000 just before the dotcom bubble burst…

The Buffett Indicator from Doug Short

Let’s take a look at another chart.  This one comes from Phoenix Capital Research, and it shows that the CAPE ratio (cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio) has rarely been higher.  In fact, the only times that it has been higher we have seen stock market crashes immediately afterwards…

CAPE - Phoenix Capital Research

Yale economics professor Robert Shiller is also deeply concerned about the CAPE ratio

I think that compared with history, US stocks are overvalued. One way to assess this is by looking at the CAPE (cyclically adjusted P/E) ratio that I created with John Campbell, now at Harvard, 25 years ago. The ratio is defined as the real stock price (using the S&P Composite Stock Price Index deflated by the CPI) divided by the ten-year average of real earnings per share. We have found this ratio to be a good predictor of subsequent stock market returns, especially over the long run. The CAPE ratio has recently been around 27, which is quite high by US historical standards. The only other times it has been that high or higher were in 1929, 2000, and 2007—all moments before market crashes.

But the CAPE ratio is not the only metric I watch. In my book Irrational Exuberance (3rd Ed., Princeton 2015) I discuss several metrics that help judge what’s going on in the market. These include my stock market confidence indices. One of the indicators in that series is based on a single question that I have asked individual and institutional investors over the years along the lines of, “Do you think the stock market is overvalued, undervalued, or about right?” Lately, what I call “valuation confidence” captured by this question has been on a downward trend, and for individual investors recently reached its lowest point since the stock market peak in 2000.

Other valuation indicators produce similar results.  This next chart is another one from Doug Short, and it shows the average of four of his favorite valuation indicators.  As you can see, there is only one other time when stocks have been more overvalued than they are today according to the average of his four favorite indicators, and that was just before the stock market crashed when the dotcom bubble burst…

Four Valuation Indicators - Doug Short

Another one of the things that indicates that a financial bubble is happening is the level of margin debt.  Whenever margin debt has gone over 2.25% of GDP a stock market crash has always followed, and today it is far above that level.  As you can see from the chart below, there have been three major peaks in margin debt in modern U.S. history.  One was just before the dotcom bubble burst, one was just before the financial crisis of 2008, and the third is happening right now…

Margin Debt - Doug Short

Something else that we would expect to see prior to a major financial crisis is a decoupling of high yield debt and stocks.  This is something that happened just prior to the stock market crash of 2008, and it is happening again right now.  The following chart comes from Zero Hedge, and it demonstrates this brilliantly…

S&P 500 HY Credit

Are you starting to get the picture?

And as I discussed yesterday, the smart money is beginning to pull their money out of stocks while they still can.  According to USA Today, mutual fund investors have pulled more money out of stocks than they have put into stocks for 16 weeks in a row

In a sign of stock market nervousness on Main Street, mutual fund investors have yanked more money out of U.S. stock funds than they put in for 16 straight weeks.

The last time domestic stock funds had positive net cash inflows was in the week ending Feb. 25, according to data from the Investment Company Institute, a mutual fund trade group.

In the week ended June 17, the most recent data available, mutual funds that invest in U.S. stocks suffered net outflows of $3.45 billion, according to the ICI.

Since late February, U.S. stock funds have suffered estimated outflows of nearly $55 billion. Those net withdrawals come despite the fact the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 hit a fresh record high of 2130.82 on May 21 and the Dow Jones industrial average notched a fresh record on May 19.

But it isn’t just stocks that are going to crash during the next financial crisis.  Bonds are going to crash as well, but what I am concerned about most of all are derivatives.

Derivatives are going to play a starring role in the next major financial crisis.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  In fact, if you want to listen for just one word on the news that will let you know that things have started to really unravel, just listen for the word “derivatives”.  This form of legalized gambling is going to crush “too big to fail” banks all over the planet during the next major financial downturn.  The “too big to fail” banks in the U.S. alone have 278 trillion dollars of total exposure to derivatives, but they only have 9.8 trillion dollars in total assets.  To say that they are being “reckless” is a massive understatement.

For much more on the coming derivatives crisis, please see my previous article entitled “Warren Buffett: Derivatives Are Still Weapons Of Mass Destruction And ‘Are Likely To Cause Big Trouble’“.

Of course I am not the only one that is sounding the alarm about what is coming.  Just consider what some very prominent individuals have been saying recently…

Ron Paul has just released a new video in which he warned all of us to “prepare for a bear market in bonds“.

Carl Icahn says that financial markets are “extremely overheated—especially high-yield bonds“.

Max Keiser recently told Alex Jones that a great financial collapse is coming.

Martin Armstrong says that his Economic Confidence Model predicts that the “Big Bang” is coming in “2015.75“.

Jeff Berwick of the Dollar Vigilante says that “we’re getting very, very close to the next crisis collapse” and he has specifically pointed to the month of September.

James Howard Kunstler has predicted that stocks are going to “crater in Q3 as faith in paper and pixels erodes“.

Lindsey Williams recently sent out an email alert in which he warned that his elite friend has told him that “they have a World Wide Financial Collapse scheduled between September and the end of December 2015“.

Gerald Celente has warned about “the Great Panic of 2015“.

Bill Fleckenstein has said that 2015 could be the year of the “big accident“.

Ray Gano has stated that we will see a financial collapse “probably starting in the third quarter of 2015″.

Legendary investor Jim Rogers recently said that he believes that “we will see some kind of major, major problems in the world financial markets” within the next year or two.

Alex Jones recently released a video in which he explained that he recently received “two different calls” from “extremely prominent wealthy people” warning him about what is coming by the end of this year and asking him why he isn’t leaving the United States “before October”.

Bible prophecy expert Joel C. Rosenberg has posted an ominous message on his personal blog in which he warned that “something is coming” and that “we must be ready”…

I feel a tremendous sense of urgency about this column.

The United States is hurtling towards severe trouble, and the events of the past few months — and what may be coming over the next few months — grieves me a great deal.

Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we all must be ready in every possible way.

When I read what Rosenberg wrote, it struck me that it was precisely how I have been feeling too.

In my entire life, I have never had such an ominous feeling about any period of time as I have about the last six months of 2015.  Like Rosenberg, I feel a “tremendous sense of urgency”, and I feel a great need to warn as many people as I can.

And it isn’t just a financial collapse that I am concerned about.  In a previous article, I detailed seven key events that we are going to witness before the end of this September…

Late June/Early July – It is expected that this is when the U.S. Supreme Court will reveal their gay marriage decision.  Most believe that the court will rule that gay marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states.  There are some that believe that this will be a major turning point for our nation.

July 15th to September 15th – A “realistic military training exercise” known as “Jade Helm” will be conducted by the U.S. Army.  More than 1,000 members of the U.S. military will take part in this exercise.  The list of states slated to be involved in these drills includes Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Mississippi and Florida.

July 28th – On May 28th, Reuters reported that countries in the European Union were being given a two month deadline to enact “bail-in” legislation.  Any nation that does not have “bail-in” legislation in place by that time will face legal action from the European Commission.  So why is the European Union in such a rush to get this done?  Are the top dogs in the EU anticipating that another great financial crisis is about to erupt?

September 13th – This is Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar – the last day of the Shemitah year.  Many are concerned about this date because we have seen giant stock market crashes on the last day of the previous two Shemitah cycles.

On September 17th, 2001 (which was Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time.  The Dow plummeted 684 points, and it was a record that held for exactly seven years until the end of the next Shemitah cycle.

On September 29th, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), the Dow fell by an astounding 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one day stock market crash of all time.

Now we are approaching the end of another Shemitah year.  So will the stock market crash on September 13th, 2015?  Well, no, because that day is a Sunday.  So I guarantee that the stock market will not crash on that particular day.  But as Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, sometimes stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and sometimes they happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah.  So we are not just looking at one particular date.

September 15th – The 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on this date.  It is being reported that France plans to introduce a resolution which would give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state.  Up until now, the United States has always been the one blocking such a resolution, but Barack Obama is indicating that things may be much different this time around.

September 25th to September 27th – The United Nations is going to launch a brand new sustainable development agenda for the entire planet.  Some have called this “Agenda 21 on steroids”.  But this new agenda is not just about the environment.  It also includes provisions regarding economics, agriculture, education and gender equality.  On September 25th, the Pope will travel to New York to give a major speech kicking off the UN conference where this new agenda will be unveiled.

September 28th – This is the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on Biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015.  This blood moon falls on the very first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, it will be a “supermoon”, and it will actually be visible in the city of Jerusalem.  There are many that dismiss the blood moon phenomenon, but we have seen similar patterns before.  For example, a similar pattern of eclipses happened just before and just after the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans in 70 AD.

In addition to everything above, quite a number of economic cycle theories that were developed by secular economists all point to big trouble for America between the years of 2015 and 2020.  For more on this, please see my previous article entitled “If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States“.

Earlier today, I publicly announced that I was issuing a RED ALERT for the last six months of 2015 on the Alex Jones radio show.  You can watch video of that interview right here.  In this article (which is about three times as long as one of my normal articles) I have only shared a small fraction of the information that has led me to issue this red alert.  But if you want to know more, and you are not afraid to really go down the rabbit hole, I would encourage you to check out a full two hour presentation that I did down in Dallas, Texas on the nightmarish years that are coming.

The period of relative stability that we have been enjoying is ending.  What comes next is going to lead us into the worst period of time in modern American history.  I wish that I was wrong about this.

But the goal is not to scare you.  My wife and I live our lives with absolutely no fear, and that is my desire for all of my readers.  There is hope in understanding what is happening and there is hope in getting prepared.  Personally, my wife and I believe that the greatest chapters of our lives are ahead of us, and I hope that you have a similar outlook.

We need a generation of people that are willing to rise up and do great things even in the midst of all the chaos and darkness that is coming.  It is when times are the darkest that the greatest heroes are needed.

So what will you choose to do when the next crisis comes?

Will you cower in fear, or will you rise up to meet the challenge?

Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

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