Who is to blame for the staggering collapse of the price of oil? Is it the Saudis? Is it the United States? Are Saudi Arabia and the U.S. government working together to hurt Russia? And if this oil war continues, how far will the price of oil end up falling in 2015? As you will see below, some analysts believe that it could ultimately go below 20 dollars a barrel. If we see anything even close to that, the U.S. economy could lose millions of good paying jobs, billions of dollars of energy bonds could default and we could see trillions of dollars of derivatives related to the energy industry implode. The global financial system is already extremely vulnerable, and purposely causing the price of oil to crash is one of the most deflationary things that you could possibly do. Whoever is behind this oil war is playing with fire, and by the end of this coming year the entire planet could be dealing with the consequences.
Ever since the price of oil started falling, people have been pointing fingers at the Saudis. And without a doubt, the Saudis have manipulated the price of oil before in order to achieve geopolitical goals. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Andrew Topf…
We don’t have to look too far back in history to see Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and producer, using the oil price to achieve its foreign policy objectives. In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat convinced Saudi King Faisal to cut production and raise prices, then to go as far as embargoing oil exports, all with the goal of punishing the United States for supporting Israel against the Arab states. It worked. The “oil price shock” quadrupled prices.
It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt.
The Saudis and other OPEC members have, of course, used the oil price for the obverse effect, that is, suppressing production to keep prices artificially high and member states swimming in “petrodollars”. In 2008, oil peaked at $147 a barrel.
Turning to the current price drop, the Saudis and OPEC have a vested interest in taking out higher-cost competitors, such as US shale oil producers, who will certainly be hurt by the lower price. Even before the price drop, the Saudis were selling their oil to China at a discount. OPEC’s refusal on Nov. 27 to cut production seemed like the baldest evidence yet that the oil price drop was really an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and the US.
If the Saudis wanted to stabilize the price of oil, they could do that immediately by announcing a production cutback.
The fact that they have chosen not to do this says volumes.
In addition to wanting to harm U.S. shale producers, some believe that the Saudis are determined to crush Iran. This next excerpt comes from a recent Daily Mail article…
Above all, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies see Iran — a bitter religious and political opponent — as their main regional adversary.
They know that Iran, dominated by the Shia Muslim sect, supports a resentful underclass of more than a million under-privileged and angry Shia people living in the gulf peninsula — a potential uprising waiting to happen against the Saudi regime.
The Saudis, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, also loathe the way Iran supports President Assad’s regime in Syria — with which the Iranians have a religious affiliation. They also know that Iran, its economy plagued by corruption and crippled by Western sanctions, desperately needs the oil price to rise. And they have no intention of helping out.
The fact is that the Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there, and the country has such vast reserves. It can withstand a year — or three — of low oil prices.
There are others out there that are fully convinced that the Saudis and the U.S. are actually colluding to drive down the price of oil, and that their real goal is to destroy Russia.
In fact, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro openly promoted this theory during a recent speech on Venezuelan national television…
“Did you know there’s an oil war? And the war has an objective: to destroy Russia,” he said in a speech to state businessmen carried live on state TV.
“It’s a strategically planned war … also aimed at Venezuela, to try and destroy our revolution and cause an economic collapse,” he added, accusing the United States of trying to flood the market with shale oil.
Venezuela and Russia, which both have fractious ties with Washington, are widely considered the nations hardest hit by the global oil price fall.
And as I discussed just the other day, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to agree with this theory…
“We all see the lowering of oil prices. There’s lots of talk about what’s causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could.”
Without a doubt, Obama wants to “punish” Russia for what has been going on in Ukraine. Going after oil is one of the best ways to do that. And if the U.S. shale industry gets hurt in the process, that is a bonus for the radical environmentalists in Obama’s administration.
There are yet others that see this oil war as being even more complicated.
Marin Katusa believes that this is actually a three-way war between OPEC, Russia and the United States…
“It’s a three-way oil war between OPEC, Russia and North American shale,” says Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War,” and chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research.
Katusa doesn’t see production slowing in 2015: “We know that OPEC will not be cutting back production. They’re going to increase it. Russia has increased production to all-time highs.” With Russia and OPEC refusing to give up market share how will the shale industry compete?
Katusa thinks the longevity and staying power of the shale industry will keep it viable and profitable. “The versatility and the survivability of a lot of these shale producers will surprise people. I don’t see that the shale sector is going to collapse over night,” he says. Shale sweet spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’ Eagle Ford area will help keep production levels up and output steady.
Whatever the true motivation for this oil war is, it does not appear that it is going to end any time soon.
And so that means that the price of oil is going to go lower.
How much lower?
One analyst recently told CNN that we could see the price of oil dip into the $30s next year…
Few saw the energy meltdown coming. Now that it’s here, industry analysts warn another move lower is possible as the momentum remains firmly to the downside.
“If this doesn’t hold, we could go back to price levels in late 2008 and early 2009 — down in the $30s. There’s no reason why it couldn’t happen,” said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at Telvent DTN.
Others are even more pessimistic. For instance, Jeremy Warner of the Sydney Morning Herald, who correctly predicted that the price of oil would fall below $80 this year, is now forecasting that the price of oil could fall all the way down to $20 next year…
Revisiting the past year’s predictions is, for most columnists a frequently humbling experience. The howlers tend to far outweigh the successes. Yet, for a change, I can genuinely claim to have got my main call for markets – that oil would sink to $US80 a barrel or less – spot on, and for the right reasons, too.
Just in case you think I’m making it up, this is what I said 12 months ago: “My big prediction is for $US80 oil, from which much of the rest of my outlook for the coming year flows. It’s hard to overstate the significance of a much lower oil price – Brent at, say, $US80 a barrel, or perhaps lower still – yet this is a surprisingly likely prospect, the implications of which have been largely missed by mainstream economic forecasters.”
If on to a good thing, you might as well stick with it; so for the coming year, I’m doubling up on this forecast. Far from bouncing back to the post crisis “normal” of something over $US100 a barrel, as many oil traders seem to expect, my view is that the oil price will remain low for a long time, sinking to perhaps as little as $US20 a barrel over the coming year before recovering a little.
But even Warner’s chilling prediction is not the most bearish.
A technical analyst named Abigail Doolittle recently told CNBC that under a worst case scenario the price of oil could fall as low as $14 a barrel…
No one really saw 2014’s dramatic plunge in oil price coming, so it’s probably fair to say that any predictions about where it’s going from here fall somewhere between educated guesses and picking a number out of a hat.
In that light, it’s less than shocking to see one analyst making a case—albeit in a pure outlier sense—for a drop all the way below $14 a barrel.
Abigail Doolittle, who does business under the name Peak Theories Research, posits that current chart trends point to the possibility that crude has three downside target areas where it could find support—$44, $35 and the nightmare scenario of, yes, $13.65.
But the truth is that none of those scenarios need to happen in order for this oil war to absolutely devastate the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system.
There is a very strong correlation between the price of oil and the performance of energy stocks and energy bonds. But over the past couple of weeks this correlation has been broken. The following chart comes from Zero Hedge…
It is inevitable that at some point we will see energy stocks and energy bonds come back into line with the price of crude oil.
And it isn’t just energy stocks and bonds that we need to be concerned about. There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 50 dollars in less than a year. That was in 2008 – just before the great financial crisis that erupted in the fall of that year. For much, much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…”
Whether the price of oil crashed or not, we were already on the verge of massive financial troubles.
But the fact that the price of oil has collapsed makes all of our potential problems much, much worse.
As we enter 2015, keep an eye on energy stocks, energy bonds and listen for any mention of problems with derivatives. The next great financial crisis is right around the corner, but most people will never see it coming until they are blindsided by it.
Russia and China have just signed what is being called “the gas deal of the century”, and the two countries are discussing moving away from the U.S. dollar and using their own currencies to trade with one another. This has huge implications for the future of the U.S. economy, but the mainstream media in the United States is being strangely quiet about all of this. For example, I searched CNN’s website to see if I could find something about this gas deal between Russia and China and I did not find anything. But I did find links to “top stories” entitled “Celebs who went faux red” and “Adorable kid tugs on Obama’s ear“. Is it any wonder why the mainstream media is dying? If a particular story does not fit their agenda, they will simply ignore it. But the truth is that this new agreement between Russia and China is huge. It could end up fundamentally changing the global financial system, and not in a way that would be beneficial for the United States.
Russia and China had been negotiating this natural gas deal for ten years, and now it is finally done. Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas on the entire planet, and China is poised to become the world’s largest economy in just a few years. This new $400 billion agreement means that these two superpowers could potentially enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship for the next 30 years…
Russia reached a $400 billion deal to supply natural gas to China through a new pipeline over 30 years, a milestone in relations between the world’s largest energy producer and the biggest consumer.
President Vladimir Putin is turning to China to bolster Russia’s economy as relations sour with the U.S. and European Union because of the crisis in Ukraine. Today’s accord, signed after more than a decade of talks, will allow state-run gas producer OAO Gazprom (GAZP) to invest $55 billion developing giant gas fields in eastern Siberia and building the pipeline, Putin said.
It’s an “epochal event,” Putin said in Shanghai after the contract was signed. Both countries are satisfied with the price, he said.
Of course countries sell oil and natural gas to each other all the time. But what makes this deal such a potential problem for the U.S. is the fact that Russia and China are working on cutting the U.S. dollar out of the entire equation. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent article in a Russian news source…
Russia and China are planning to increase the volume of direct payments in mutual trade in their national currencies, according to a joint statement on a new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation signed during high-level talks in Shanghai on Tuesday.
“The sides intend to take new steps to increase the level and expansion of spheres of Russian-Chinese practical cooperation, in particular to establish close cooperation in the financial sphere, including an increase in direct payments in the Russian and Chinese national currencies in trade, investments and loan services,” the statement said.
In my recent article entitled “De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar“, I warned about what could happen if the petrodollar monopoly ends. In the United States, our current standard of living is extremely dependent on the rest of the world continuing to use our currency to trade with one another. If Russia starts selling natural gas to China without the U.S. dollar being involved, that would be a monumental blow to the petrodollar. And if other nations started following the lead of Russia and China, that could result in an avalanche from which the petrodollar may never recover.
And it isn’t just the national governments of Russia and China that are discussing moving away from the U.S. dollar. For example, the second largest bank in Russia just signed a deal with the Bank of China “to pay each other in domestic currencies”…
VTB, Russia’s second biggest lender, has signed a deal with Bank of China, which includes an agreement to pay each other in domestic currencies.
“Under the agreement, the banks plan to develop their partnership in a number of areas, including cooperation on ruble and renminbi settlements, investment banking, inter-bank lending, trade finance and capital-markets transactions,” says the official VTB statement.
The deal underlines VTB Group’s growing interest in Asian markets and will help grow trade between Russia and China that are already close trading partners, said VTB Bank Management Board Vasily Titov.
You can almost feel the power of the U.S. dollar fading.
A few months ago, when I wrote about how China had announced that it no longer planned to stockpile more U.S. dollars, I speculated that it may be evidence that China planned to start making a big move away from the U.S. dollar.
Well, now China’s intentions have become even more clear.
The Chinese do not plan to allow the United States to indefinitely dominate the globe financially. In the long run, the Chinese plan to be the ones calling the shots, and that means that the power of the U.S. dollar must decline.
These days, instead of piling up mountains of U.S. currency, China has started accumulating hard assets instead. In the past, I have written about how China is rapidly stockpiling gold, and it turns out that the Chinese have also been very busy stockpiling oil as well…
China is stockpiling oil for its strategic petroleum reserve at a record pace, intervening on a scale large enough to send a powerful pulse through the world crude market.
The move comes as tensions mount in the South China Sea and the West prepares possible oil sanctions against Russia over the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Analysts believe China is quietly building up buffers against a possible spike in oil prices or disruptions in supply.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest monthly report that China imported 6.81m barrels per day (bpd) in April, an all-time high.
Once upon a time, China was extremely dependent on the United States economically. The same was true with most of the rest of the world.
But now economic power has shifted so dramatically that nations such as Russia and China are realizing that they don’t really need to be dependent on the United States any longer.
And with each passing year, the relationship between Russia and China is becoming stronger. As Pepe Escobar recently observed, this emerging alliance is causing quite a bit of consternation in Washington…
And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety of ways: through the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Asian counterweight to NATO; inside the G20; and via the 120-member-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Trade and commerce are just part of the future bargain. Synergies in the development of new military technologies beckon as well. After Russia’s Star Wars-style, ultra-sophisticated S-500 air defense anti-missile system comes online in 2018, Beijing is sure to want a version of it. Meanwhile, Russia is about to sell dozens of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to the Chinese as Beijing and Moscow move to seal an aviation-industrial partnership.
Meanwhile, the relationship that the U.S. has with both nations is quickly going sour. The crisis in Ukraine has caused relations with Russia to drop to the lowest point since the end of the Cold War, and now China is deeply offended by charges that Chinese military officers have been involved in cyberspying on the United States…
China on Tuesday warned the United States was jeopardizing military ties by charging five Chinese officers with cyberspying and tried to turn the tables on Washington by calling it “the biggest attacker of China’s cyberspace.”
China announced it was suspending cooperation with the United States in a joint cybersecurity task force over Monday’s charges that officers stole trade secrets from major American companies. The Foreign Ministry demanded Washington withdraw the indictment.
The testy exchange marked an escalation in tensions over U.S. complaints that China’s military uses its cyber warfare skills to steal foreign trade secrets to help the country’s vast state-owned industrial sector.
The divide between the East and the West is growing.
But the Obama administration has not figured out that we need the East more than they need us.
Right now, the number one U.S. export is U.S. dollars. Our massively inflated standard of living is very heavily dependent on the rest of the world using our currency to trade with one another and lending it to us at super low interest rates.
If the rest of the world quits playing our game, our debt-based financial system will quickly fall apart.
Unfortunately, nobody in the Obama administration seems to have much understanding of global economics, and they will probably continue to antagonize Russia and China.
In the end, the consequences for antagonizing them could end up being far greater than any of us ever imagined.
Did you know that financial institutions all over the world are warning that we could see a “mega default” on a very prominent high-yield investment product in China on January 31st? We are being told that this could lead to a cascading collapse of the shadow banking system in China which could potentially result in “sky-high interest rates” and “a precipitous plunge in credit“. In other words, it could be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for Asia. And since the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, that would be very bad news for the United States as well. Since Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, the level of private domestic credit in China has risen from $9 trillion to an astounding $23 trillion. That is an increase of $14 trillion in just a little bit more than 5 years. Much of that “hot money” has flowed into stocks, bonds and real estate in the United States. So what do you think is going to happen when that bubble collapses?
The bubble of private debt that we have seen inflate in China since the Lehman crisis is unlike anything that the world has ever seen. Never before has so much private debt been accumulated in such a short period of time. All of this debt has helped fuel tremendous economic growth in China, but now a whole bunch of Chinese companies are realizing that they have gotten in way, way over their heads. In fact, it is being projected that Chinese companies will pay out the equivalent of approximately a trillion dollars in interest payments this year alone. That is more than twice the amount that the U.S. government will pay in interest in 2014.
Over the past several years, the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England have all been criticized for creating too much money. But the truth is that what has been happening in China surpasses all of their efforts combined. You can see an incredible chart which graphically illustrates this point right here. As the Telegraph pointed out a while back, the Chinese have essentially “replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system” in just five years…
Overall credit has jumped from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since the Lehman crisis. “They have replicated the entire U.S. commercial banking system in five years,” she said.
The ratio of credit to GDP has jumped by 75 percentage points to 200pc of GDP, compared to roughly 40 points in the US over five years leading up to the subprime bubble, or in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990. “This is beyond anything we have ever seen before in a large economy. We don’t know how this will play out. The next six months will be crucial,” she said.
As with all other things in the financial world, what goes up must eventually come down.
And right now January 31st is shaping up to be a particularly important day for the Chinese financial system. The following is from a Reuters article…
The trust firm responsible for a troubled high-yield investment product sold through China’s largest banks has warned investors they may not be repaid when the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million)product matures on Jan. 31, state media reported on Friday.
Investors are closely watching the case to see if it will shatter assumptions that the government and state-owned banks will always protect investors from losses on risky off-balance-sheet investment products sold through a murky shadow banking system.
If there is a major default on January 31st, the effects could ripple throughout the entire Chinese financial system very rapidly. A recent Forbes article explained why this is the case…
A WMP default, whether relating to Liansheng or Zhenfu, could devastate the Chinese banking system and the larger economy as well. In short, China’s growth since the end of 2008 has been dependent on ultra-loose credit first channeled through state banks, like ICBC and Construction Bank, and then through the WMPs, which permitted the state banks to avoid credit risk. Any disruption in the flow of cash from investors to dodgy borrowers through WMPs would rock China with sky-high interest rates or a precipitous plunge in credit, probably both. The result? The best outcome would be decades of misery, what we saw in Japan after its bubble burst in the early 1990s.
The big underlying problem is the fact that private debt and the money supply have both been growing far too rapidly in China. According to Forbes, M2 in China increased by 13.6 percent last year…
And at the same time China’s money supply and credit are still expanding. Last year, the closely watched M2 increased by only 13.6%, down from 2012’s 13.8% growth. Optimists say China is getting its credit addiction under control, but that’s not correct. In fact, credit expanded by at least 20% last year as money poured into new channels not measured by traditional statistics.
Overall, M2 in China is up by about 1000 percent since 1999. That is absolutely insane.
And of course China is not the only place in the world where financial trouble signs are erupting. Things in Europe just keep getting worse, and we have just learned that the largest bank in Germany just suffered ” a surprise fourth-quarter loss”…
Deutsche Bank shares tumbled on Monday following a surprise fourth-quarter loss due to a steep drop in debt trading revenues and heavy litigation and restructuring costs that prompted the bank to warn of a challenging 2014.
Germany’s biggest bank said revenue at its important debt-trading division, fell 31 percent in the quarter, a much bigger drop than at U.S. rivals, which have also suffered from sluggish fixed-income trading.
If current trends continue, many other big banks will soon be experiencing a “bond headache” as well. At this point, Treasury Bond sentiment is about the lowest that it has been in about 20 years. Investors overwhelmingly believe that yields are heading higher.
If that does indeed turn out to be the case, interest rates throughout our economy are going to be rising, economic activity will start slowing down significantly and it could set up the “nightmare scenario” that I keep talking about.
But I am not the only one talking about it.
In fact, the World Economic Forum is warning about the exact same thing…
Fiscal crises triggered by ballooning debt levels in advanced economies pose the biggest threat to the global economy in 2014, a report by the World Economic Forum has warned.
Ahead of next week’s WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the forum’s annual assessment of global dangers said high levels of debt in advanced economies, including Japan and America, could lead to an investor backlash.
This would create a “vicious cycle” of ballooning interest payments, rising debt piles and investor doubt that would force interest rates up further.
So will a default event in China on January 31st be the next “Lehman Brothers moment” or will it be something else?
In the end, it doesn’t really matter. The truth is that what has been going on in the global financial system is completely and totally unsustainable, and it is inevitable that it is all going to come horribly crashing down at some point during the next few years.
It is just a matter of time.
Is the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year? There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression. Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally. As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine. Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine. The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008. Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days. They don’t have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. And the coming economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. Rather, it is like watching a very, very slow-motion train wreck happen. The coming economic nightmare is going to unfold over a number of years. Yes, there will be moments of great panic, but mostly it will be a steady decline into economic oblivion. And there are a lot of indications that the second half of this year is not going to be as good as the first half was. The following are 19 reasons to be deeply concerned about the global economy as we head into the second half of 2013…
#1 The velocity of money in the United States has plunged to an all-time low. It is extremely difficult to have an “economic recovery” if banks are not lending money and people are not spending it…
#2 The fall of the Egyptian government threatens to bring even more instability to the Middle East. In response to the events in Egypt, the price of oil rose to more than 101 dollars a barrel on Wednesday.
#3 Every time the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen over $3.80 in the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.
#4 As the world becomes increasingly unstable, massive citizen protest movements have been rising all over the globe…
The protests have many different origins. In Brazil people rose up against bus fares, in Turkey against a building project. Indonesians have rejected higher fuel prices, Bulgarians the government’s cronyism.
In the euro zone they march against austerity, and the Arab spring has become a perma-protest against pretty much everything. Each angry demonstration is angry in its own way.
#5 The European sovereign debt crisis is flaring up once again. This time it is Portugal’s turn to take center stage…
From Greece to Cyprus, Slovenia to Spain and Italy, and now most pressingly Portugal, where the finance and foreign ministers resigned in the space of two days, a host of problems is stirring after 10 months of relative calm imposed by the European Central Bank.
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho told the nation in an address late on Tuesday that he did not accept the foreign minister’s resignation and would try to go on governing.
If his government does end up collapsing, as is now more likely, it will raise immediate questions about Lisbon’s ability to meet the terms of the 78-billion-euro bailout it agreed with the EU and International Monetary Fund in 2011.
#6 It is being projected that Italy will need a major EU bailout within six months.
#7 Bond investors are starting to panic. In fact, even prominent firms such as Pimco are seeing investors pull massive amounts of money out right now…
In June, investors pulled $9.6bn from Bill Gross’s flagship fund at Pimco, the largest single month of outflows at the fund since Morningstar records began in 1993, the investment research firm said.
The outflows came after investors pulled $1.3bn from the fund in May, which marked the first outflows since December 2011.
Overall, a whopping 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during June.
#8 Central banks are selling off staggering amounts of U.S. Treasury bonds right now.
#9 U.S. mortgage bonds just suffered their largest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years.
#10 We continue to buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. The U.S. trade deficit for the month of May was 45.0 billion dollars.
#11 The severe drought that the western half of the United States is suffering never seems to end. What will it do to food prices if ranchers and farmers out west have to go through another summer like they did last year?
#12 European car sales have fallen to a 20 year low.
#13 Unemployment in the eurozone is at an all-time high.
#14 Could the paper gold Ponzi scheme be on the verge of crumbling? There are reports that there is now a 100 day delay for gold owners to take physical delivery of their gold from some warehouses owned by the London Metal Exchange…
We’re told that bullion-buyers in London must now wait more than 100 days to take delivery of the bullion for which they have already paid.
The comedic drones at Bloomberg, and officials of the London Metal Exchange itself would have us believe this is due to “warehouse queues.” While precious metals bulls undoubtedly appreciate the imagery implied of a 100-day line-up of armored cars waiting to load their bullion – in the middle of this “bear market” – the implication is fallacious.
In an era of just-in-time inventories; the notion that there can be a 100-day backlog to load bullion into armored cars with the metal already sitting in the warehouse is ludicrous. Clearly what the LME is really reporting here is a greater-than-three-month delay to refine the gold (or silver) being purchased here – and then ship it to their warehouse.
In other words, the “bullion” which traders believe they are purchasing today is in fact merely ore which hasn’t even been dug out of the ground yet.
#15 The number of mortgage applications in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 3 years.
#16 Real disposable income in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 4 years.
#17 The percentage of companies issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter is at a level that we have never seen before.
#18 Is the dark side of derivatives trading about to be exposed? EU officials claim that 13 major international banks have been colluding to control the trading of derivatives…
The European Commission says many of the world’s largest investment banks appear to have colluded to block attempts by exchanges to trade and offer more transparent prices for financial products known as credit derivatives.
The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said Monday it has informed 13 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley — as well as the industry association for derivatives itself, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, ISDA, of the preliminary conclusions of an investigation that began in March.
#19 There are 441 trillion dollars of interest rate derivatives sitting out there and interest rates have risen rapidly over the past few weeks. What is going to happen to those derivatives if interest rates keep going higher?
So what do you think?
Are there any items that are missing that you would add to this list?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
Do you want to know the primary reason why rapidly rising interest rates could take down the entire global financial system? Most people might think that it would be because the U.S. government would have to pay much more interest on the national debt. And yes, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose to just 6 percent (and it has actually been much higher in the past), the federal government would be paying out about a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt. But that isn’t it. Nor does the primary reason have to do with the fact that rapidly rising interest rates would impose massive losses on bond investors. At this point, it is being projected that if U.S. bond yields rise by an average of 3 percentage points, it will cause investors to lose a trillion dollars. Yes, that is a 1 with 12 zeroes after it ($1,000,000,000,000). But that is not the number one danger posed by rapidly rising interest rates either. Rather, the number one reason why rapidly rising interest rates could cause the entire global financial system to crash is because there are more than 441 TRILLION dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there. This number comes directly from the Bank for International Settlements – the central bank of central banks. In other words, more than $441,000,000,000,000 has been bet on the movement of interest rates. Normally these bets do not cause a major problem because rates tend to move very slowly and the system stays balanced. But now rates are starting to skyrocket, and the sophisticated financial models used by derivatives traders do not account for this kind of movement.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that the global financial system is potentially heading for massive amounts of trouble if interest rates continue to soar.
Today, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasury bonds rocketed up to 2.66% before settling back to 2.55%. The chart posted below shows how dramatically the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has moved in recent days…
Right now, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is about 30 percent above its 50 day moving average. That is the most that it has been above its 50 day moving average in 50 years.
Like I mentioned above, we are moving into uncharted territory and this data doesn’t really fit into the models used by derivatives traders.
The yield on 5 year U.S. Treasuries has been moving even more dramatically…
Last week, the yield on 5 year U.S. Treasuries rose by an astounding 37 percent. That was the largest increase in 50 years.
Once again, this is uncharted territory.
If rates continue to shoot up, there are going to be some financial institutions out there that are going to start losing absolutely massive amounts of money on interest rate derivative contracts.
So exactly what is an interest rate derivative?
The following is how Investopedia defines interest rate derivatives…
A financial instrument based on an underlying financial security whose value is affected by changes in interest rates. Interest-rate derivatives are hedges used by institutional investors such as banks to combat the changes in market interest rates. Individual investors are more likely to use interest-rate derivatives as a speculative tool – they hope to profit from their guesses about which direction market interest rates will move.
They can be very complicated, but I prefer to think of them in very simple terms. Just imagine walking into a casino and placing a bet that the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries will hit 2.75% in July. If it does reach that level, you win. If it doesn’t, you lose. That is a very simplistic example, but I think that it is a helpful one. At the heart of it, the 441 TRILLION dollar derivatives market is just a bunch of people making bets about which way interest rates will go.
And normally the betting stays very balanced and our financial system is not threatened. The people that run this betting use models that are far more sophisticated than anything that Las Vegas uses. But all models are based on human assumptions, and wild swings in interest rates could break their models and potentially start causing financial losses on a scale that our financial system has never seen before.
We are potentially talking about a financial collapse far worse than anything that we saw back in 2008.
Remember, the U.S. national debt is just now approaching 17 trillion dollars. So when you are talking about 441 trillion dollars you are talking about an amount of money that is almost unimaginable.
Meanwhile, China appears to be on the verge of another financial crisis as well. The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers…
China is on the verge of a “Lehman” moment as its shadow banking system implodes. China had pumped roughly $1.6 trillion in new credit (that’s 21% of GDP) into its economy in the last two quarters… and China GDP growth is in fact slowing.
This is what a credit bubble bursting looks like: the pumping becomes more and more frantic with less and less returns.
And Chinese stocks just experienced their largest decline since 2009. The second largest economy on earth is starting to have significant financial problems at the same time that our markets are starting to crumble.
And don’t forget about Europe. European stocks have had a very, very rough month so far…
The narrow EuroStoxx 50 index is now at its lowest in over seven months (-5.4% year-to-date and -12.5% from its highs in May) and the broader EuroStoxx 600 is also flailing lower. The European bank stocks pushed down to their lowest in almost 10 months and are now in bear market territory – down 22.5% from their highs. Spain and Italy are now testing their lowest level in 9 months.
So are the central banks of the world going to swoop in and rescue the financial markets from the brink of disaster?
At this point it does not appear likely.
As I have written about previously, the Bank for International Settlements is the central bank for central banks, and it has a tremendous amount of influence over central bank policy all over the planet.
The other day, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, Jaime Caruana, gave a speech entitled “Making the most of borrowed time“. In that speech, he made it clear that the era of extraordinary central bank intervention was coming to an end. The following is one short excerpt from that speech…
“Ours is a call for acting responsibly now to strengthen growth and avoid even costlier adjustment down the road. And it is a call for recognizing that returning to stability and prosperity is a shared responsibility. Monetary policy has done its part. Recovery now calls for a different policy mix – with more emphasis on strengthening economic flexibility and dynamism and stabilizing public finances.”
Monetary policy has done its part?
That sounds pretty firm.
And if you read the entire speech, you will see that Caruana makes it clear that he believes that it is time for the financial markets to stand on their own.
But will they be able to?
As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. financial system is a massive Ponzi scheme that is on the verge of imploding. Unprecedented intervention by the Federal Reserve has helped to prop it up for the last couple of years, and there is a lot of fear in the financial world about what is going to happen once that unprecedented intervention is gone.
So what happens next?
Well, nobody knows for sure, but one thing seems certain. The last half of 2013 is shaping up to be very, very interesting.
According to a study that was just released by Boston Consulting Group, the wealthiest one percent now own 39 percent of all the wealth in the world. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent only own 1 percent of all the wealth in the world combined. The global financial system has been designed to funnel wealth to the very top, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand at a frightening pace. The global elite continue to hoard wealth and heap together enormous mountains of treasure in these troubled days even though the economic suffering around the planet continues to grow. So exactly how have the global elite accumulated so much wealth? Well, one of the primary ways is through the use of debt. As I have written about previously, there is about 190 trillion dollars of debt in the world but global GDP is only about 70 trillion dollars. Our debt-based global financial system systematically transfers wealth from us and our governments into the hands of the global elite. And of course the gigantic banks and corporations that the elite control are constantly gobbling up everything of value that they can find: natural resources, profitable small businesses, real estate, politicians, etc. Money, power, ownership and control are becoming very, very tightly concentrated at the top of the food chain, and that is a very dangerous thing for humanity. When too much money and power gets into too few hands, it almost always results in tyranny.
What will eventually happen when the global elite have ALL the wealth?
Will the rest of us work as serfs in a system that they have iron-fisted control over?
And what if they decide that they don’t really need billions of people working for them? Will they decide to implement population control measures in order to reduce the number of “useless eaters”? It is already happening in China and other highly centralized societies.
When all of the economic rewards of a society go to a very small handful of people, it tends to be very destabilizing. We have seen this again and again throughout history.
When people have everything taken away from them and they have nothing left to lose, they tend to become very desperate. And right now we are rapidly hurtling toward a time of great global instability. Anger and frustration are growing all over the globe, and the rate at which the gap between the wealthy and the poor is widening seems to be accelerating. Just check out these numbers…
-The wealthiest 1 percent of the global population now owns 39 percent of all the wealth on the planet.
-According to a report that was released last summer, the global elite have up to 32 TRILLION dollars stashed in offshore banks around the planet.
-According to a study conducted by Credit Suisse, the bottom two-thirds of the global population owns just 3.3% of all the 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.
-It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa only owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.
-Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry each night.
-If you can believe it, more than 3 billion people currently live on less than 2 dollar a day.
In the world that we live in, money equals power. And the more money that the top one percent accumulate, the more power they will accumulate as well.
So exactly who are the top one percent? I discussed this at length in my previous article entitled “Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings“. The global elite are absolutely obsessed with power and control and they have been working to implement their agenda for a very long time. In the end, they hope to unite the entire planet under a monolithic global system that they control. They are actually quite open about this – it is just that most people do not want to believe it.
The gap between the wealthy and the poor is rapidly growing in the United States as well. Sadly, this means that the middle class is steadily disappearing as the ranks of those that are living in poverty continues to increase.
But of course not everyone is doing badly in the U.S. right now. In fact, those that own stocks have had lots of reasons to celebrate in recent months.
So who owns stocks?
Well, the wealthy do of course. In fact, approximately 60 percent of all individually held stocks are owned by the top 5 percent of all Americans.
During the last recession, Americans lost 16 trillion dollars of wealth. Since then, about 45 percent of that wealth has been “recovered”, but the vast majority of that “recovery” has been due to rising stock prices. The following comes from a recent Washington Post article…
From the peak of the boom to the bottom of the bust, households watched a total of $16 trillion in wealth disappear amid sinking stock prices and the rubble of the real estate market. Since then, Americans have only been able to recapture 45 percent of that amount on average, after adjusting for inflation and population growth, according to the report from the St. Louis Fed released Thursday.
In addition, the report showed most of the improvement was due to gains in the stock market, which primarily benefit wealthy families. That means the recovery for other households has been even weaker.
“A conclusion that the financial damage of the crisis and recession largely has been repaired is not justified,” the report stated.
Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most thriving middle class in the history of the world. That was a great thing. But now the middle class is being destroyed and government dependence has surged to an all-time high.
The following are some of the incredible statistics that show how wide the gap between the wealthy and the poor in America is becoming…
-The wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.
-In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
-According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
-The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.
-On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.
-Between 2009 and 2011, the wealth of the bottom 93 percent of all Americans declined by 4 percent, while the wealth of the top 7 percent of all Americans increased by 28 percent.
-The poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
-The top 0.01% of all Americans make an average of $27,342,212. The bottom 90% make an average of $31,244.
For much more on how poverty is rising and the middle class is being destroyed, please see my recent article entitled “22 Facts That Prove That The Bottom 90 Percent Of America Is Systematically Getting Poorer“.
Obviously we have a huge problem here.
With each passing day, poverty is rising and more people are becoming dependent on the government.
So what is the solution to this mess?
Please feel free to voice your opinion by posting a comment below…
A new set of regulations that most people have never even heard of that was developed by an immensely powerful central banking organization that most people do not even know exists is going to have a dramatic effect on the global financial system over the next several years. The new set of regulations is known as “Basel III”, and it was developed by the Bank for International Settlements. The Bank for International Settlements has been called “the central bank for central banks”, and it is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. 58 major central banks (including the Federal Reserve) belong to the Bank for International Settlements, and the decisions made in Basel often have more of an impact on the direction of the global economy than anything the president of the United States or the U.S. Congress are doing. All you have to do is to look back at the last financial crisis to see an example of this. Basel II and Basel 2.5 played a major role in precipitating the subprime mortgage meltdown. Now a new set of regulations known as “Basel III” are being rolled out. The implementation of these new regulations is beginning this year, and they will be completely phased in by 2019. These new regulations dramatically increase capital requirements and significantly restrict the use of leverage. Those certainly sound like good goals, the problem is that the entire global financial system is based on credit at this point, and these new regulations are going to substantially reduce the flow of credit. The only way that the giant debt bubble that we are all living in can continue to persist is if it continues to expand. By restricting the flow of credit, these new regulations threaten to burst the debt bubble and bring down the entire global economy.
Not that the current global financial system is sustainable by any means. Anyone with half a brain can see that the global financial system is a pyramid scheme that is destined to collapse. But Basel III may cause it to collapse faster than it might otherwise have.
So precisely what is Basel III? The following is a definition from the official website of the Bank for International Settlements…
“Basel III” is a comprehensive set of reform measures, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector. These measures aim to:
- improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, whatever the source
- improve risk management and governance
- strengthen banks’ transparency and disclosures.
All of that looks good at first glance. But when you start looking into the details you start realizing what it is going to mean for the global financial system. Banks are going to be required to have higher reserve ratios and use less leverage. Banks are going to have to be more careful with their money, which is a good thing, but it is also going to mean that credit will not flow as freely. Unfortunately, the only way for a debt bubble to survive is if it keeps expanding. Anything that restricts the flow of easy money threatens to bring a debt bubble to an end.
These new regulations are going to be phased in between 2013 and 2019. You can see a chart which shows the implementation schedule for the Basel III regulations right here.
So why is bringing the debt bubble to an end a bad thing?
Well, because it will cause the false prosperity that we have been enjoying to disappear, and that will be an exceedingly painful adjustment.
Sadly, most people have no idea what is happening. Most people have never even heard of “Basel III” or “the Bank for International Settlements”. Most people just assume that the people they voted into office know what they are doing and have everything under control.
Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that an unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers is making decisions which deeply affect us all, and there is not much that we can do about it.
This unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers played a major role in bringing about the last financial crisis. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Before It’s News…
If you have any questions about the power of these Basel Banking Regulations you can also see the effects that Basel II and 2.5, mark to market accounting, had on the Housing Markets in the United States of America in 2008. There were many causes for that housing bubble, then housing crisis, but Basel II and 2.5 was most assuredly the pin that popped the housing bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008-09.
But do most people know about this?
Of course not. Most people want to blame the Republicans or the Democrats or Bush or Obama, and they have no idea about the financial strings that are being pulled at the highest levels.
It is so important that we get people educated about how the global financial system actually works. The following is a summary of how the Bank for International Settlements works from one of my previous articles entitled “Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does“…
An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.” The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”. During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.
Even though most people have never even heard of the BIS, the truth is that the global elite have had big plans for it for a very long time. In another article I included a quote from a book that Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley wrote many years ago entitled “Tragedy & Hope”…
[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.
Today we have such a system, and most of the public does not even know that it exists.
And when the next great financial crisis strikes, there will probably be very little ever said about the Bank for International Settlements in the mainstream media.
But right now the BIS is helping set the stage for the great credit crunch that is coming.
Get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.
Somebody out there is sure getting prepared for something really big. We have just witnessed a takedown of gold and silver unlike anything that we have witnessed in decades. On Monday, the price of gold had fallen by more than 10 percent at one point. It shocked investors all over the globe, and overall what we have just seen was the largest two day decline in the price of gold in 30 years. The price of silver dropped even more rapidly on Monday. It was down more than 14 percent at one point. There was an atmosphere of “panic selling” as investors and financial institutions raced to liquidate their holdings of silver and gold. But was this exactly what someone out there wanted? As I wrote about the other day, big banks and news outlets all over the world have been boldly proclaiming for weeks that gold is entering a “bear market” and that now is the time for all of us to sell our gold. In particular, Goldman Sachs reportedly told their clients earlier this month that they “recommend initiating a short COMEX gold position“. Was that just a “good guess” on their part, or was something else going on? Were they actually trying to help create a “selling frenzy” that would drive the price of gold much lower?
What we witnessed on Monday was absolutely jaw-dropping. Just check out this chart of the price of gold over the past 10 years. The takedown of gold on Monday sticks out like a sore thumb…
And that chart does not even show the full extent of the collapse. As I write this, the price of gold is sitting at $1355.20.
But this is just the beginning for gold and silver. As I have warned repeatedly, the price of gold and the price of silver will experience wild swings in the years ahead.
For example, the following is what I wrote about gold and silver on August 7th, 2012…
I like precious metals myself, but if you are going to invest you need to get educated so that you know what you are doing. If you go in blindly you are likely to get burned at some point.
In addition, you need to be prepared for wild fluctuations in price over the coming years. There will be times when gold and silver absolutely soar and there will be times when they drop like a rock.
So if you are going to play the game you need to be able to handle the ride.
Monday was an example of what I meant when I said that “you need to be able to handle the ride”. There are going to be a lot more days like Monday (both up and down) for gold and silver in the years ahead.
The foolish people are those that are scared out of their wits and that are selling off all of their gold and silver right now.
Sadly, there was reportedly a tremendous amount of panic selling of gold and silver during this collapse. The following is what Dennis Gartman told CNBC on Monday…
“There are a lot of people throwing up their hands. Throwing positions overboard. Panic is everywhere,” Gartman said in a “Squawk Box” interview on Monday. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean it.”
It just shows that there are a lot of stupid people out there. The following is an excerpt from another CNBC report about the panic selling that was happening on Monday…
“I think the last $20 has been margin selling. The market is falling like a knife. People are saying, ‘Get me out now,’ ” Phoenix Futures President Kevin Grady said. “You’re also seeing people selling energy profits to pay for metals losses. You’re seeing a tremendous amount of gold liquidation today.”
According to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, all of this panic selling is the result of an orchestrated takedown of gold and silver…
This is an orchestration (the smash in gold). It’s been going on now from the beginning of April. Brokerage houses told their individual clients the word was out that hedge funds and institutional investors were going to be dumping gold and that they should get out in advance.
Then, a couple of days ago, Goldman Sachs announced there would be further departures from gold. So what they are trying to do is scare the individual investor out of bullion. Clearly there is something desperate going on…
So who is behind all of this orchestration? Well, according to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, it is actually the Federal Reserve…
The Federal Reserve began its April Fool’s assault on gold by sending the word to brokerage houses, which quickly went out to clients, that hedge funds and other large investors were going to unload their gold positions and that clients should get out of the precious metal market prior to these sales. As this inside information was the government’s own strategy, individuals cannot be prosecuted for acting on it. By this operation, the Federal Reserve, a totally corrupt entity, was able to combine individual flight with institutional flight. Bullion prices took a big hit, and bullishness departed from the gold and silver markets. The flow of dollars into bullion, which threatened to become a torrent, was stopped.
In fact, Dr. Roberts says that former Goldman Sachs trader Andrew Maguire is reporting that the Fed orchestrated the dumping of 500 tons of naked gold shorts into the market on Friday…
According to Andrew Maguire, on Friday, April 12, the Fed’s agents hit the market with 500 tons of naked shorts. Normally, a short is when an investor thinks the price of a stock or commodity is going to fall. He wants to sell the item in advance of the fall, pocket the money, and then buy the item back after it falls in price, thus making money on the short sale. If he doesn’t have the item, he borrows it from someone who does, putting up cash collateral equal to the current market price. Then he sells the item, waits for it to fall in price, buys it back at the lower price and returns it to the owner who returns his collateral. If enough shorts are sold, the result can be to drive down the market price.
If any of the allegations above are even remotely true, then a whole lot of people need to be criminally investigated.
Meanwhile, many are considering this takedown of gold to be an ominous sign that another major financial crisis may be heading our way.
Just remember what happened back in 2008. As Zero Hedge noted on Monday, the price of gold suddenly plunged 21 percent in July 2008. That was just a couple of months before the U.S. stock market crashed in the fall…
The rapidity of gold’s drop is impressive, concerning, and disorderly. We have seen two other such instances of disorderly ‘hurried’ selling in the last five years. In July 2008, gold quickly dropped 21% – seemingly pre-empting the Lehman debacle and the collapse of the western banking system.
Is this collapse in the price of gold a harbinger of another major stock market crash?
Time will tell.
Meanwhile, many average Americans are wondering if they should dump their gold and silver while they still can.
As I mentioned above, gold and silver are going to experience wild fluctuations over the next few years. When the next stock market crash comes, gold and silver are probably going to go even lower than they are today for a short time. But in the long run gold and silver are going to soar to unprecedented heights.
Investing in gold and silver is not for the faint of heart. If you cannot handle the ride, you should sit on the sidelines. We are entering a period of tremendous financial instability, and holding gold and silver is going to be like riding a roller coaster. The ups and downs are going to shake a lot of people up, but the rewards are going to be great for those that stick with it the entire time.