All over the world seismic activity is increasing. In recent weeks we have seen a dramatic earthquake in Ecuador, more than 600 earthquakes have experts extremely alarmed about what is happening to Japan’s southern Island, and 37 volcanoes around the planet are erupting right now. Most of the large earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that we have witnessed lately have come along the Ring of Fire, which is an area of seismic instability which roughly encircles the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately the west coast of the United States has been spared so far, but scientists tell us that tension has been building up along the San Andreas fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone for decades, and they assure us that it is only a matter of time before we see a major event. What that day arrives, will you be prepared?
There were a couple of notable seismic events which took place on Monday. First of all, the largest volcano in Russia’s Far East known as Klyuchevskaya Sopka violently erupted. Steaming hot ash was shot more than three miles up into the air, but fortunately it is not a heavily populated area. This represents yet another major volcanic eruption along the Ring of Fire, and this has some scientists extremely concerned about what may be coming next.
More small earthquakes shook northwest Arizona Sunday adding to the list of temblors that have struck the area since March 29.
The Arizona Geological Survey said two quakes occurred, including a magnitude 2.6 quake at 12:07 a.m.
There has been a swarm of 21 quakes in an area along the Arizona-Nevada line south-southwest of Littlefield, AZ, which is also close to southwestern Utah and the frequency and span puzzles geologists.
The good news is that we have not had a truly historic earthquake in the U.S. for decades, and there have been no major volcanic eruptions since Mount St. Helens exploded back in 1980.
But scientists assure us that we are living on borrowed time, and there are three extremely dangerous volcanoes in North America that I am keeping a close watch on right now…
#1 Mt. Popocatepetl
Popocatepetl is an Aztec word that can be translated as “smoking mountain”, and more than 25 million people live within range of this extraordinarily dangerous mountain. Experts tell us that during the time of the Aztecs, entire cities were completely buried in super-heated mud from this volcano. In fact, the super-heated mud was so deep that it buried entire pyramids. In the event of a full-blown eruption, Mexico City’s 18 million residents probably wouldn’t be buried in super-heated mud, but it would still be absolutely devastating for Mexico’s largest city.
Many of us that are a bit older still remember the eruption of Mount St. Helens back in 1980. Well, scientists tell us that a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would have up to 2,000 times the power of that eruption. Salt Lake City would be toast, anything caught outside in Denver would probably be dead in pretty short order, and a layer of volcanic ash at least 10 feet deep would be dumped on everything even up to 1,000 miles away. Food production in America would be virtually wiped out, and a “volcanic winter” would cool global temperatures by up to 20 degrees for an extended period of time.
In other words, life as we know it would come to an end.
As always, we should never give in to fear. There are definitely going to be major earthquakes and historic volcanic eruptions in North America, and we are going to have to deal with them. Doing some common sense things in advance will give you and your family the best chance of calmly and smoothly making it through such a crisis.
Below, I have shared some tips that come directly from the CDC. This first set of tips suggests things that you and your family can do to get prepared for a major earthquake…
Gather Emergency Supplies
Stock up now on emergency supplies that can be used after an earthquake. These supplies should include a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, automobile, and workplace, and emergency water and food. Store enough supplies to last at least 3 days.
If an earthquake occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.
Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located.
Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned off, if possible.
Indicate the location of your family’s emergency outdoor meeting place.
Take time before an earthquake strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:
important items to be hand-carried by you
other items, in order of importance to you and your family
items to be removed by car or truck if one is available
things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the utilities, etc.
Write Down Important Information
Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location. Include on your list:
important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics, and medical centers
the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers
the telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies
the names and telephone numbers of neighbors
the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your automobile, boat, RV, etc.
your bank’s or credit union’s telephone number, account types, and numbers
radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information
Gather and Store Important Documents in a Fire-Proof Safe
Ownership certificates (automobiles, boats, etc.)
Social Security cards
Household inventory, including:
list of contents
photographs of contents of every room
photographs of items of high value, such as jewelry, paintings, collectors’ item
Preparing for a volcanic eruption requires a strategy that is a little bit different. Here are more tips from the CDC…
If you are told to evacuate
Follow authorities’ instructions if they tell you to leave the area. Though it may seem safe to stay at home and wait out an eruption, doing so could be very dangerous. Volcanoes spew hot, dangerous gases, ash, lava, and rock that are powerfully destructive.
Preparing to evacuate
Tune in the radio or television for volcano updates.
Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
Review your emergency plan and gather your emergency supplies. Be sure to pack at least a 1-week supply of prescription medications.
Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, a flashlight, batteries, etc.
Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation, or follow authorities’ instructions on where to obtain transportation.
Place vehicles under cover, if at all possible.
Put livestock in an enclosed area. Plan ahead to take pets with you, but be aware that many emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
Fill your clean water containers.
Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature. If the power goes out, food will stay cooler longer.
As you evacuate
Take only essential items with you, including at least a 1-week supply of prescription medications.
If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
Disconnect appliances to reduce the likelihood of electrical shock when power is restored.
Make sure your automobile’s emergency kit is ready.
Follow designated evacuation routes—others may be blocked—and expect heavy traffic and delays.
If you are told to take shelter where you are
Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local authorities may evacuate specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
Close and lock all windows and outside doors.
Turn off all heating and air conditioning systems and fans.
Close the fireplace damper.
Organize your emergency supplies and make sure household members know where the supplies are.
Make sure the radio is working.
Go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level.
Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
It is ideal to have a hard-wired (non-portable) telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact—a friend or family member who does not live near the volcano—and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Remember that telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.
In the end, you have got to do what you feel is best for you and your family.
Personally, I would be extremely hesitant to live in very high risk areas along the west coast or near the Yellowstone supervolcano. This is especially true considering how dramatically global seismic activity is increasing.
But others point to the fact that these “danger areas” have not seen any major events in decades, so they wonder what all of the fuss is about.
So what do you think? Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Over the past 48 hours, our planet has been hit by literally dozens of earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater, and scientists are acknowledging that what is taking place is highly unusual. This strange shaking began toward the end of last week when the globe was struck by five major earthquakes over the space of just two days, and over the weekend the seismic activity just continued to escalate. Very early on Saturday, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu was hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, and on Saturday night a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast. It was the worst earthquake that Ecuador had experienced since 1979, and it was followed by at least 163 aftershocks. Unfortunately, there are indications that what we have seen so far may be just the beginning.
Because the Ecuador earthquake was bigger, it is getting most of the headlines at the moment, but the truth is that what is going on in Japan is potentially far more dangerous.
Over the past week, Japan’s southern Island of Kyushu has been rocked by a series of devastating quakes, including two major ones in less than 48 hours. The following comes from the Guardian…
A second major earthquake in less than two days has shaken Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, with at least 34 people thought to have been killed, about 1,500 injured and more feared buried after building collapses and landslides.
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck at about 1.30am on Saturday, waking people across the island – including the thousands already in crisis centres. It caused widespread damage, with several landslides and a village evacuated over fears a dam might burst.
The mainstream media in the United States is using the term “landslides” to describe what has happened all over Kyushu, but the truth is that in many instances it would be far more accurate to say that “giant cracks” or “vast chasms” have formed. The geography of Japan’s southern island has been fundamentally transformed, and this is beginning to cause huge concerns. Here is more from the Guardian…
One major landslide tore open a mountainside in Minamiaso village in Kumamoto prefecture, destroying a key bridge that could cut off food and other relief transport to the worst-hit area.
Another landslide hit a road, collapsing a house that fell down a ravine. In another part of the village, houses were left hanging precariously at the edge of a huge hole.
I want to show you a map which comes directly from the U.S. Geological Survey. This map shows all of the earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater that have hit Japan’s southern island over the past week. As you look at this map, do you see a pattern?…
The dozens of earthquakes that have hit Japan’s southern island over the past week appear to form something of a straight line that divides the island in two. Many are now speculating that geological forces are beginning to tear Kyushu in half, and if that is true, the earthquake activity that we have seen in Japan so far is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
We could potentially be talking about an event that could ultimately have far more of an impact on Japan than the tsunami of 2011. By the time it is all said and done, entire cities could be wiped off the map and millions upon millions of Japanese citizens could be displaced.
Earlier today Toyota was one of many Japanese companies to announce that it will suspend most car production across Japan as a result of critical supply chain disruptions caused by the recent destructive earthquake and numerous aftershocks. All of the major assembly lines will be shut down across its four directly-run plants, and Toyota will be halting production in stages at other group companies as well.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, most of the Toyota group in Japan will be effectively shut down through at least the end of this upcoming week, with a production loss of as many as 50,000 vehicles, including brands such as Prius, Lexus, and Land Cruiser.
Our planet resembles something of a giant cracked egg, and the enormous tectonic plates that we are all living on are constantly in motion. So if Japan’s southern island is in the process of slowly splitting in half, that shouldn’t exactly be a surprise. After all, scientists assure us that Los Angeles and San Francisco will be directly next to one another someday.
And it isn’t just Japan that we need to be concerned about. All along the “Ring of Fire”, seismic activity is increasing, and this has many of the experts completely puzzled. The following comes from an excellent piece by Alvin Conway…
This has continued to baffle many of the world’s leading geologists, who still attest the rise in the number of large earthquakes is merely a random natural occurrence. For instance, the number of large earthquakes doubled in 2014. However, here’s what scientists had to say about it: “If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.
“We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.
If you are familiar with my work, then you already know that I believe that we have entered a period of time during which we will see seismic activity on a scale that none of us have ever experienced before.
This great shaking will combine with other factors such as financial collapse, geopolitical instability and civil unrest to produce what many have described as a “perfect storm”. Life as we know it is in the process of fundamentally changing, and right now we are only in the very early chapters of this change.
Unfortunately, most people are ignoring the warnings and will continue to ignore them until it is far too late.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
One of the epicenters of the global financial crisis that started during the second half of last year is Japan, and it looks like the markets in the land of the rising sun are entering yet another period of great turmoil. The Nikkei was down another 390 points last night, and it is now down more than 1,300 points since a week ago. Why this is so important for U.S. investors is because the Nikkei is often an early warning indicator of where the rest of the global markets are heading. For example, the Nikkei started crashing early last December about a month before U.S. markets started crashing really hard in early January. So the fact that the Nikkei has been falling very rapidly in recent days should be a huge red flag for investors in this country.
I want you to study the chart below very carefully. It shows the performance of the Nikkei over the past 12 months. As you can see, it kind of resembles a giant leaning “W”. You can see the stock crash that started last August, you can see the second wave of the crash that began last December, and now a third leg of the crash is currently forming…
The third largest economy on the entire planet is in a comatose state at this point, and Japanese authorities have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it in an attempt to revive it. Government stimulus programs have pushed the debt to GDP ratio to 229 percent, and the quantitative easing that the Bank of Japan has been engaged in has made the Federal Reserve look timid by comparison.
But none of those extraordinary measures has been successful in stimulating the Japanese economy, so now the Bank of Japan has been been trying negative interest rates. Unfortunately, these negative rates are also having some unintended consequences. According to the Wall Street Journal, the negative interest rate program is putting additional stress on the Japanese financial sector…
The Bank of Japan started imposing a minus 0.1% rate on some deposits held by commercial banks in February, meaning that those banks now have to pay a small fee when they add to their money parked at the central bank. The financial sector has suffered amid worries that banks can’t pass on negative interest rate to their depositors and therefore will take a hit to their profits.
I would keep a very close eye on the big banks in Japan. It is my conviction that there is a lot more brewing under the surface than we are being told about so far.
In addition, many analysts in Japan are complaining that all of this manipulation by the BOJ is essentially destroying normal market behavior. The following comes from Bloomberg…
Nobuyasu Atago, who also had worked at the BOJ and is now the chief economist at Okasan Securities Co., pointed out that instead of serving as a important source of cash for borrowers, the credit market has become a profit center for dealers looking to buy securities from investors and sell them to the central bank. While the strategy may be lucrative now, financial institutions face the risk of massive losses, he said.
“By making the trade with the BOJ the only source of profit, markets are exposed to unexpected volatility when that trade ends and the BOJ moves toward the exit,” Atago said. “Markets are being destroyed.”
The more global central banks try to “fix things”, the more they make our long-term imbalances even worse.
To me, it makes no sense to have a bunch of unelected, unaccountable central planners constantly monkeying with the financial system. In a true free market system, we would allow market forces to determine the course of events. But of course we don’t have a free market system anymore. Instead, what we have is a heavily socialized system that is greatly manipulated by the central planners.
That is why global financial markets gyrate wildly if Janet Yellen so much as sneezes. They know who holds all the power, and investors are constantly on edge as they wait for the latest pronouncement from our central banking overlords.
At this point, 99 percent of the global population lives in a country with a central bank. Our world is more deeply divided than ever, and yet somehow everyone in the world has agreed to adopt this insidious system.
It sure is quite a coincidence, isn’t it?
Getting back to Japan, things are so bad now that the Japanese government is actually considering giving gift certificates directly to low-income young people. The following originally comes from Bloomberg…
The Japanese government plans to include gift certificates for low-income young people in its fiscal 2016 supplementary budget, Sankei reports, without saying who provided the information.
Recipients would be able to use them for daily necessities.
The government sees gift certificates as more effective in stimulating consumption than cash handouts, which may be deposited.
This is what the end of democracy looks like.
When the government just starts handing out money like candy, you might as well turn out the lights because the party is over.
Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times and they have injected approximately 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs.
Has all of this monkeying around solved our problems?
Of course not.
Instead, our long-term problems have grown progressively worse and now a new financial crisis has begun.
Keep an eye on Japan, and also keep an eye on Europe. Huge problems are bubbling right under the surface, and when they come bursting into the open they will deeply affect the United States as well.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Should central banks create money out of thin air and give it directly to governments and average citizens? If you can believe it, this is now under serious consideration. Since 2008, global central banks have cut interest rates 637 times, they have injected 12.3 trillion dollars into the global financial system through various quantitative easing programs, and we have seen an explosion of government debt unlike anything we have ever witnessed before. But despite these unprecedented measures, the global economy is still deeply struggling. This is particularly true in Japan, in South America, and in Europe. In fact, there are 16 countries in Europe that are experiencing deflation right now. In a desperate attempt to spur economic activity, central banks in Europe and in Japan are playing around with negative interest rates, and so far they seem to only have had a limited effect.
So as they rapidly run out of ammunition, global central bankers are now openly discussing something that might sound kind of crazy. According to the Telegraph, central banks are becoming increasingly open to employing a tactic known as “helicopter money”…
Faced with political intransigence, central bankers are openly talking about the previously unthinkable: “helicopter money”.
A catch-all term, helicopter drops describe the process by which central banks can create money to transfer to the public or private sector to stimulate economic activity and spending.
Long considered one of the last policymaking taboos, debate around the merits of helicopter money has gained traction in recent weeks.
Do you understand what is being said there?
The idea is basically this – central banks would create money out of thin air and would just give it to national governments or ordinary citizens.
So who would decide who gets the money?
Well, they would.
If you are anything like me, this sounds very much like Pandora’s Box being opened.
But this just shows how much of a panic there is among central bankers right now. They know that we are plunging into a new global economic crisis, and they are desperate to find something that will stop it. And if that means printing giant gobs of money and dropping it from helicopters over the countryside, well then that is precisely what they are going to do.
In fact, the chief economist at the European Central Bank is quite adamant about the fact that the ECB can print money out of thin air and “distribute it to people” when the situation calls for it…
ECB chief Mario Draghi has refused to rule out the prospect, saying only that the bank had not yet “discussed” such matters due to their legal and accounting complexity. This week, his chief economist Peter Praet went further in hinting that helicopter drops were part of the ECB’s toolbox.
“All central banks can do it“, said Praet. “You can issue currency and you distribute it to people. The question is, if and when is it opportune to make recourse to that sort of instrument“.
Apparently memories of the Weimar Republic must have faded over in Europe, because this sounds very much like what they tried to do. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to risk going down that road again.
Here in the United States, the Federal Reserve is not openly talking about “helicopter money” just yet, but that is only because the stock market is doing okay for the moment.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but the primary reason why stocks are doing better in the U.S. than in the rest of the world is because of stock buybacks. According to Wolf Richter, corporations spent more than half a trillion dollars buying back their own stocks over the past 12 months…
During the November-January period, 378 of the S&P 500 companies bought back their own shares, according to FactSet. Total buybacks in the quarter rose 5.2% from a year ago, to $136.6 billion. Over the trailing 12 months (TTM), buybacks totaled $568.9 billion.
When corporations buy back their own stocks, that means that they are slowly liquidating themselves. Instead of pouring money into new good ideas, they are just returning money to investors. This is not how a healthy economy should work.
But corporate executives love stock buybacks, because it increases the value of their stock options. And big investors love them too, because they love to see the value of their stock holdings rise.
So we will continue to see big corporations cannibalize themselves, but there are a couple of reasons why this is starting to slow down.
Number one, corporate profits are starting to fall steadily as the economy slows down, so there will be less income to plow into these stock buybacks.
Number two, many corporations have used debt to fund buybacks, but now it is getting tougher for corporations to get new funding as corporate defaults rise.
As stock buybacks slow, this is going to put downward pressure on the market, and we will eventually catch up with the rest of the planet. At this point, many experts are still calling for stocks to fall by another 40, 50 or 60 percent from current levels. For example, the following comes from John Hussman…
From a long-term investment standpoint, the stock market remains obscenely overvalued, with the most historically-reliable measures we identify presently consistent with zero 10-12 year S&P 500 nominal total returns, and negative expected real returns on both horizons.
From a cyclical standpoint, I continue to expect that the completion of the current market cycle will likely take the S&P 500 down by about 40-55% from present levels; an outcome that would not be an outlier or worst-case scenario, but instead a rather run-of-the-mill cycle completion from present valuations. If you are a historically-informed investor who is optimistic enough to reject the idea that the financial markets are forever doomed to extreme valuations and dismal long-term returns, you should be rooting for this cycle to be completed. If you are a passive investor, you should at least align your current exposure with your investment horizon and your tolerance for cyclical risk, which we expect to be similar to what we anticipated in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009.
When the S&P 500 does fall that much eventually, the Federal Reserve will respond with emergency measures.
So yes, we may see “helicopter money” employed in Japan and in Europe first, but we will see it here someday too.
I know that a lot of people out there are feeling pretty good about things for the moment because U.S. stocks have rebounded quite a bit lately. But remember, the fundamental economic numbers just continue to get even worse. Just today we learned that existing home sales in the United States had fallen by the most in six years. That is definitely not a sign that things are “getting better”, and I keep trying to warn people that tumultuous times are dead ahead.
And if global central bankers did not agree with me, they would not be talking about the need for “helicopter money” and other emergency measures.
Stock markets around the world continue to collapse as this new global financial crisis picks up more steam. In the U.S., the Dow lost 254 more points on Thursday, and it has now fallen for five days in a row. European stocks continued to get obliterated, and financial institutions are leading the way. But this week what is happening in Japan has been the most sobering. After falling 918 points the other day, the Nikkei plunged another 760 points early on Friday. The Nikkei has now fallen for seven of the past eight days, and investors in Japan are in full panic mode. Overall, global stocks are well into bear market territory, and nearly 17 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
As panic rises, investors are seeking alternative investments. On Thursday, the price of gold hit $1,260 an ounce at one point before settling back a bit. But even with the fade at the end of the day, it was still the biggest daily gain in more than two years. Overall, gold is having its best quarterly performance in 30 years.
Whenever a financial crisis happens, investors seek out safe havens such as gold that can help them weather the storm. In particular, demand for physical gold is going through the roof all over the planet. Just check out the following excerpt from a Telegraph article entitled “Investors ‘go bananas’ for gold bars as global stock markets tumble“…
BullionByPost, Britain’s biggest online gold dealer, said it has already taken record-day sales of £5.6m as traders pile into gold following fears the world is on the brink of another financial crisis.
Rob Halliday-Stein, founder and managing director of the Birmingham-based company, said takings today had already surpassed the firm’s previous one-day record of £4.4m in October 2014.
BullionByPost, which takes orders of up to £25,000 on the website but takes higher amounts over the phone, explained it had received a few hundred orders overnight and frantic numbers of phone calls this morning.
Meanwhile, the price of oil continues to drop to stunning new depths. On Thursday U.S. oil dropped as low as $26.21, which was the lowest price in 13 years. Not even during the worst parts of the last financial crisis did oil ever go this low.
And remember, the price of oil was sitting at about $108 a barrel back in June 2014. Since that time it has fallen about 75 percent.
Needless to say, this crash is having some very serious consequences for the energy industry. Previously, I have reported that 42 North American energy companies have gone into bankruptcy since the beginning of last year.
But I just found out that the true number is much worse than that.
According to CNN, “67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015″…
Bankruptcy filings are flying in the American oil patch.
At least 67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to consulting firm Gavin/Solmonese.
That represents a 379% spike from the previous year when oil prices were substantially higher.
With oil prices crashing further in recent weeks, five more energy gas producers succumbed to bankruptcy in the first five weeks of this year, according to Houston law firm Haynes and Boone.
A lot of people tend to think that my writing is full of “doom and gloom”, but the truth is that I often understate how bad things really are. I’ll often report one number and find out later that an updated number is even worse than the one that I originally reported.
What we desperately need is for the price of oil to go back up.
Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency says that isn’t likely to happen any time soon…
The International Energy Agency said earlier this week that it expects the global oil glut to grow throughout the year.
“With the market already awash in oil, it is very hard to see how oil prices can rise significantly in the short term,” the IEA said in its monthly report.
And of course all of this is incredibly bad news for financial institutions all over the world.
During the boom times, the big banks showered energy companies with loans. Now those loans are going bad, and the big banks are feeling the pain. The following comes from CNN…
It’s never a good sign when the country’s financial lifelines are under stress. Large U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) that helped bankroll the energy boom are already setting aside billions to cover potential loan losses in the oil industry. Investors are worried about imploding energy loans for European banks like Deutsche Bank (DB). High yield bonds in your investing portfolio wont be looking good either — Standard & Poor’s warned that half of all energy junk bonds are at risk of defaulting.
Speaking of Deutsche Bank, their stock price continued to plummet on Thursday, as did the stock prices of most other European banks.
Things were particularly bad for France’s Societe Generale. Their stock price plunged 12 percent on Thursday alone.
This is what a global financial crisis looks like. It began during the second half of last year, and now it is making major headlines all over the planet.
At this point, things are already so bad that the elite are starting to freak out about what this could potentially mean for them. I want you to carefully consider the following two paragraphs from an editorial that I came across in the Telegraph earlier today…
We are too fragile, fiscally as well as psychologically. Our economies, cultures and polities are still paying a heavy price for the Great Recession; another collapse, especially were it to be accompanied by a fresh banking bailout by the taxpayer, would trigger a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash.
The public, whose faith in elites and the private sector was rattled after 2007-09, would simply not wear it. Its anger would be so explosive, so-all encompassing that it would threaten the very survival of free trade, of globalisation and of the market-based economy. There would be calls for wage and price controls, punitive, ultra-progressive taxes, a war on the City and arbitrary jail sentences.
I think that the author of this editorial is correct.
I do believe that another financial crisis on the scale of 2008 would trigger “a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash”.
In fact, I believe that is what we are steamrolling toward right now.
We can already see the anger of the American people toward the establishment being expressed in their support of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
But if the financial system completely collapses and it becomes exceedingly apparent that none of our problems from the last time around were ever fixed, the frustration is going to be off the charts.
Many people believed that this day of reckoning would never come, but now it is here.
The “coming nightmare” is now upon us, and this is just the start.
The rest of 2016 promises to be even more chaotic, and ultimately this new crisis is going to turn out to be far worse than what we experienced back in 2008.
On Tuesday junk bonds continued to crash, the price of oil briefly dipped below 28 dollars a barrel, Deutsche Bank was forced to deny that it is on the verge of collapse, but the biggest news was what happened in Japan. The Nikkei was down a staggering 918 points, but that stock crash made very few headlines in the western world. If the Dow had crashed 918 points today, that would have been the largest single day point crash in all of U.S. history. So what just happened in Japan is a really big deal. The Nikkei is now down 23.1 percent from the peak of the market, and that places it solidly in bear market territory. Overall, a total of 16.5 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out since the middle of 2015. As I stated yesterday, this is what a global financial crisis looks like.
Just as we saw during the last financial crisis, the big banks are playing a starring role, and this is definitely true in Japan. Right now, Japanese banking stocks are absolutely imploding, and this is what drove much of the panic last night. The following numbers come from Wolf Richter…
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group plunged 8.7%, down 47% from June 2015.
Mizuho Financial Group plunged 6.2%, down 38% since June 2015.
Sumitomo Mitsui plunged 6.2%, down 26% since May 2015
Nomura plunged a juicy 9.1%, down 42% since June 2015
A lot of analysts have been very focused on the downturn in China in recent months, but I think that it is much more important to watch Japan right now.
I have become fully convinced that the Japanese financial system is going to play a central role in the initial stages of this new global financial meltdown, and so I encourage everyone to keep a close eye on the Nikkei every single night.
Meanwhile, the stock price of German banking giant Deutsche Bank crashed to a record low on Tuesday. If you will recall, Deutsche Bank reported a loss of 7.6 billion dollars in 2015, and I wrote quite a bit about their ongoing problems yesterday.
Deutsche Bank co-CEO John Cryan moved to quell fears about the bank’s stability Tuesday with a surprise memo saying its balance sheet “remains absolutely rock-solid.”
The comments come as investors grow increasingly nervous about the health of European banks, which have taken a hit on the fall in energy prices and which face rising concerns over their cash levels.
Of course Lehman Brothers issued the same kind of denials just before they collapsed in 2008. Cryan’s comments did little to calm the markets, and even Jim Cramer saw right through them…
“You know, Deutsche Bank puts out a note saying, ‘listen, don’t worry, all good.’ Reminds me of JPMorgan saying if you have to say that you’re creditworthy then it’s already too late.”
Another thing that Lehman Brothers did just before they collapsed in 2008 was to lay off workers. We have seen a number of major banks do this lately, including Deutsche Bank…
Cryan, 55, has been seeking to boost capital buffers and profitability by cutting costs and eliminating thousands of jobs as volatile markets undermine revenue and outstanding regulatory probes raise the specter of fresh capital measures to help cover continued legal charges. The cost of protecting Deutsche Bank’s debt against default has more than doubled this year, while the shares have dropped about 42 percent.
The following chart comes from Zero Hedge. Nobody on the Internet does a better job with charts than Zero Hedge does. I would recommend visiting them right after you visit The Economic Collapse Blog each day (wink wink). This chart shows that Deutsche Bank stock has already fallen lower than it was during any point during the last financial crisis…
Deutsche Bank is the biggest and most important bank in the biggest and most important economy in the EU, and it has exposure to derivatives that is approximately 20 times Germany’s GDP.
If that doesn’t alarm you, I don’t know what will.
The biggest financial bubble in the history of the world has entered a terminal phase, and the parallels to the last financial crisis have become so apparent that just about anyone can see them at this point. Just consider some of the ominous warnings that we have seen recently…
Billionaire Carl Icahn, for example, recently raised a red flag on a national broadcast when he declared, “The public is walking into a trap again as they did in 2007.”
And the prophetic economist Andrew Smithers warns, “U.S. stocks are now about 80% overvalued.”
Smithers backs up his prediction using a ratio which proves that the only time in history stocks were this risky was 1929 and 1999. And we all know what happened next. Stocks fell by 89% and 50%, respectively.
Even the Royal Bank of Scotland says the markets are flashing stress alerts akin to the 2008 crisis. They told their clients to “Sell Everything” because “in a crowded hall, the exit doors are small.”
And let’s not forget that famous billionaire retail magnate Hugo Salinas Price has warned that the global economy “is going into a depression“.
The chaos that we have seen this week is simply a logical progression of the crisis that began during the second half of last year. If you were to create a checklist of all the things that you would expect to see during the initial stages of a new financial crisis, all of the boxes would be checked.
In the days ahead, keep your eyes on Germany and Japan.
Yes, the Italian banking system is completely collapsing right now, but I believe that what is happening in Germany is going to be the key to the meltdown of Europe, and I am convinced that Deutsche Bank is going to be the star of the show.
Meanwhile, don’t underestimate what is taking place in Japan.
The Japanese still have the third largest economy on the entire planet, and their financial system is essentially a Ponzi scheme built on top of a house of cards that has a rapidly aging population as the foundation.
As Japan falls, that will be a signal that financial Armageddon is now upon us.
And after last night, it appears that moment is a lot closer than a lot of us may have thought.
On Monday, the price of U.S. oil dropped below 38 dollars a barrel for the first time in six years. The last time the price of oil was this low, the global financial system was melting down and the U.S. economy was experiencing the worst recession that it had seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. As I write this article, the price of U.S. oil is sitting at $37.65. For months, I have been warning that the crash in the price of oil would be extremely deflationary and would have severe consequences for the global economy. Nations such as Japan, Canada, Brazil and Russia have already plunged into recession, and more than half of all major global stock market indexes are down at least 10 percent year to date. The first major global financial crisis since 2009 has begun, and things are only going to get worse as we head into 2016.
The global head of oil research at Societe Generale, Mike Wittner, says that his “head is spinning” after the stunning drop in the price of oil on Monday. Just like during the last financial crisis, we have broken the psychologically important 40 dollar barrier, and there are concerns that we could go much lower from here…
One analyst told CNBC that he believes that we could soon see the price of U.S. oil go all the way down to 32 dollars a barrel…
“We’re in a tug-of-war between a heavily shorted market and a glut of oil in the U.S. and globally, as Saudi Arabia continues to produce oil at elevated levels to maintain market share,” said Chris Jarvis at Caprock Risk Management, an energy markets consultancy in Frederick, Maryland.
“Couple this with a strengthening dollar as the market anticipates a U.S. rate hike this month, oil is heading lower with a near term target of $32 for WTI.”
Analysts at Goldman Sachs are even more pessimistic than that. According to Business Insider, they are saying that we could eventually see the price of oil go below 20 dollars a barrel…
At OPEC’s meeting on Friday, member countries decided to set its production level at 31.5 million barrels per day, and did not agree on what the new limit should be.
After OPEC’s meeting, commodity strategists at Goldman put out a note saying that oil prices could plunge another 50% in the coming months, as the oil market tries to rebalance the supply and demand situation.
That may sound really good to you, especially if you fill up your gas tank frequently. But the truth is that plunging oil prices are exceedingly bad for the U.S. economy as a whole. In recent years, the energy industry has been the primary engine for the creation of good jobs in this country, and now those firms are having to lay off people at a frightening pace. Not only that, CNBC’s Jim Cramer is warning that many of these firms may actually start going under if the price of oil doesn’t start going back up soon…
“This is not ‘longer and lower;’ this is ‘longer and much lower.’ There’s companies that are not going to be able to fund with futures; there’re companies that are not going to be able to get credit,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”
“This was a devastating blow for the U.S. oil industry,” Cramer said.
On Monday, we witnessed another benchmark that we have not seen since the last financial crisis.
I watch a high yield bond ETF known as JNK very closely. On Monday, JNK broke below 35 for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008. Just like 40 dollar oil, this is a key psychological barrier.
So why is this important?
As I discussed last week, junk bonds crashed before stocks did in 2008, and now it is happening again. If form holds true, we should expect U.S. stocks to start tumbling significantly very shortly.
Meanwhile, another notable expert has come forward with a troubling forecast for the global economy in 2016. Just like Citigroup, Raoul Pal believes that there is a very significant chance that we will see a recession next year…
Former global macro fund manager Raoul Pal says there’s now a 65% chance of a global recession.
In July, Pal predicted that the Institute of Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing index would break the key level of 50 late in 2015.
On December 1, the ISM broke the 50 level for the first time since the 2008 recession, reaching 48.6.
“I use the ISM as a guide to the global business cycle, not just the US cycle,” Pal told Business Insider.
What amazes me is that so many people out there cannot see what is happening even though the next great crisis has already started. The evidence is all around us, and yet so many choose to be willingly blind.
Instead of fixing our problems after the last crisis, we just papered them over with lots of money printing and lots more debt. And of course all of this manipulation just made our long-term problems even worse. I really like how Peter Schiff put it recently…
What’s happening is pretty much what we would anticipate. I don’t see from the data any real economic recovery, certainly not in the United States.
We’re spending more money, but it’s not because we’re generating more wealth. We’re generating more debt. We’re using that borrowed money to consume and so temporarily it feels that we’re wealthier because we get to spend all that money… but we have to come to terms with paying the bill.
The bills are going to come due. Right now interest rates are being kept at zero which makes it possible to service the debt even though it’s impossible to repay it… at least we can service it. But once interest rates go up then we can’t even service it let alone repay it.
And then the party is going to come to an end.
Indeed – the party is coming to an end, and a new financial crisis is playing out in textbook fashion right in front of our eyes.
Hopefully you are already prepared for what is coming next, because it is going to be extremely painful for the U.S. economy.
Economic activity is slowing down all over the planet, and a whole host of signs are indicating that we are essentially exactly where we were just prior to the great stock market crash of 2008. Yesterday, I explained that the economies of Japan, Brazil, Canada and Russia are all in recession. Today, I am mainly going to focus on the United States. We are seeing so many things happen right now that we have not seen since 2008 and 2009. In so many ways, it is almost as if we are watching an eerie replay of what happened the last time around, and yet most of the “experts” still appear to be oblivious to what is going on. If you were to make up a checklist of all of the things that you would expect to see just before a major stock market crash, virtually all of them are happening right now. The following are 11 critical indicators that are absolutely screaming that the global economic crisis is getting deeper…
#1 On Tuesday, the price of oil closed below 40 dollars a barrel. Back in 2008, the price of oil crashed below 40 dollars a barrel just before the stock market collapsed, and now it has happened again.
#2 The price of copper has plunged all the way down to $2.04. The last time it was this low was just before the stock market crash of 2008.
#3 The Business Roundtable’s forecast for business investment in 2016 has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since the last recession.
#9 In 2008, commodity prices crashed just before the stock market did, and late last month the Bloomberg Commodity Index hit a 16 year low.
#10 In the past, stocks have tended to crash about 12-18 months after a peak in corporate profit margins. At this point, we are 15 months after the most recent peak.
#11 If you look back at 2008, you will see that junk bonds crashed horribly. Why this is important is because junk bonds started crashing before stocks did, and right now they have dropped to the lowest point that they have been since the last financial crisis.
If just one or two of these indicators were flashing red, that would be bad enough.
The fact that all of them seem to be saying the exact same thing tells us that big trouble is ahead.
And I am not the only one saying this. Just today, a Reuters article discussed the fact that Citigroup analysts are projecting that there is a 65 percent chance that the U.S. economy will plunge into recession in 2016…
The outlook for the global economy next year is darkening, with a U.S. recession and China becoming the first major emerging market to slash interest rates to zero both potential scenarios, according to Citi.
As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.
Personally, I am convinced that we are already in a recession. There is a lag in the official numbers, so often we don’t know that we are officially in one until it is well underway. For example, we now know that a recession started in early 2008, but in the summer of 2008 Ben Bernanke and our top politicians were still insisting that there was not going to be a recession. They were denying what was actually happening right in front of their eyes, and the same thing is happening now.
And of course if the government was actually using honest numbers, we would all be talking about the recession that never seems to end. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, honest numbers would show that the U.S. economy has continually been in recession since 2005.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled Wednesday that the Fed is all but certain to raise interest rates this month for the first time in nearly a decade, saying that gains in the economy and labor market have met the central bank’s goals.
Her comments at the Economic Club of Washington amount to the strongest indication the Fed has provided so far that it will take action at a December 15-16 meeting.
This is the exact same kind of mistake that the Federal Reserve made back in the late 1930s. They thought that the U.S. economy was finally recovering, and so interest rates were raised. That turned out to be a tragic mistake.
Many people are waiting for “the big crash”, but the truth is that almost everything has crashed already.
Oil has crashed.
Commodities have crashed.
Gold and silver have crashed.
Junk bonds have crashed.
Chinese stocks have crashed.
Dozens of other stock markets around the world have already crashed.
But the “big event” that many are waiting for is the crash of U.S. stocks. And just like in 2008, it is inevitable that a U.S. stock crash will follow all of the other crashes that I just mentioned.
Sometimes I get criticized for issuing these kinds of alarms. But just think of how many people could have been helped if they would have known that the financial crisis of 2008 was going to happen ahead of time.
The exact same patterns that we experienced back then are playing out once again right in front of our eyes, and the more people that we can warn in advance the better.