On Monday, we learned that a “possible Ebola patient” was being treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. We are being told that this individual recently returned from a country in Africa where there have been confirmed cases of Ebola. So that would narrow it down to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. The patient is being described as a male “with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms“. The hospital says that “necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff“. But could you imagine the panic that is going to be created if there actually is a confirmed case of Ebola in the heart of New York City? There is nothing in the post-World War II era that would even be comparable. Certainly 9/11 created fear for a short period of time, but a full-blown Ebola outbreak would create a panic that could potentially last for months or even years.
And this comes on the heels of another Ebola scare in the United Kingdom. According to a British news source, a seriously ill 72-year-old woman “collapsed and died” after getting off a plane from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport…
Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick.
Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic.
The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board. She died in hospital on Saturday.
Officials tell us that the plane was rapidly quarantined and that they were tracking down anyone that had been in contact with that woman.
I don’t know about you, but all of this is starting to remind me of some of the really bad Hollywood disaster movies that I have seen.
In my article yesterday, I included the following chart which shows how this Ebola outbreak is beginning to grow at an exponential pace…
Well, today the World Health Organization says that the total number of cases has risen to 1,663 and the total number of deaths has risen to 887. So just imagine what that chart would look like now. Yes, it is definitely not an exaggeration to use the word “exponential” to describe what is happening.
If Ebola does start spreading inside the United States, it would be incredibly disruptive to our way of life.
In areas where there were confirmed cases of Ebola, it is inevitable that schools would be shut down and large gatherings of people such as concerts and sporting events would be cancelled. In addition, due to fear of catching the virus, foot traffic at grocery stores and shopping malls would drop off dramatically. If the panic lasted for multiple months, our economy would essentially grind to a halt. Most economic activity still involves face to face interaction, and if people are afraid that if they go out in public they might catch a disease that will kill them, it would create an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions.
And what happens if strict travel restrictions (to prevent the spread of the disease) or plain old fear cause massive interruptions in our transportation system? Almost all economic activity involves moving something from one location to another, and if we are not able to move stuff around because of an Ebola pandemic, that would create nightmarish problems almost immediately. For example, the following is an excerpt from a report released by the American Trucker Associations that I discussed in a previous article…
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage
The first 24 hours
• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.
Within one day
• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.
Within two to three days
• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.
Within a week
• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.
Within two weeks
• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.
Within four weeks
• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.
This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.
Are you starting to get the picture?
A major transportation disruption would not just result in an economic downturn. Many Americans would start running out of food and basic supplies very rapidly. Without the ability to constantly resupply at the grocery store, a lot of people would start giving in to panic in just a matter of days.
And needless to say, a full-blown Ebola outbreak would wreak havoc on our financial system. The stock market would almost certainly collapse and we would witness a credit crunch that would be absolutely unprecedented. Nobody would want to lend to anybody in the midst of an Ebola pandemic. The flow of money through our system would come to a screeching halt, and we would be facing an economic nightmare that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
So let us hope and pray that this crisis goes away and that Ebola does not start spreading across the country.
Because if it does, it could potentially kill millions of people, destroy our economy and plunge this nation into utter madness.
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.
#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?
#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.
#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…
What does it look like when a 30 year bull market ends abruptly? What happens when bond yields start doing things that they haven’t done in 50 years? If your answer to those questions involves the word “slaughter”, you are probably on the right track. Right now, bonds are being absolutely slaughtered, and this is only just the beginning. Over the last several years, reckless bond buying by the Federal Reserve has forced yields down to absolutely ridiculous levels. For example, it simply is not rational to lend the U.S. government money at less than 3 percent when the real rate of inflation is somewhere up around 8 to 10 percent. But when he originally announced the quantitative easing program, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that he intended to force interest rates to go down, and lots of bond investors made a lot of money riding the bubble that Bernanke created. But now that Bernanke has indicated that the bond buying will be coming to an end, investors are going into panic mode and the bond bubble is starting to burst. One hedge fund executive told CNBC that the “feeling you are getting out there is that people are selling first and asking questions later”. And the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries just keeps going up. Today it closed at 2.59 percent, and many believe that it is going to go much higher unless the Fed intervenes. If the Fed does not intervene and allows the bubble that it has created to burst, we are going to see unprecedented carnage.
Over the last two months, and particularly over the last two weeks, investors have been exiting their bond investments with unexpected ferocity, moves that continued through Monday.
A bond sell-off has been anticipated for years, given the long run of popularity that corporate and government bonds have enjoyed. But most strategists expected that investors would slowly transfer out of bonds, allowing interest rates to slowly drift up.
Instead, since the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, recently suggested that the strength of the economic recovery might allow the Fed to slow down its bond-buying program, waves of selling have convulsed the markets.
In particular, junk bonds are getting absolutely hammered. Money is flowing out of high risk corporate debt at an astounding pace…
The SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond exchange-traded fund has declined 5 percent over the past month, though it rose in Tuesday trading. The fund has seen $2.7 billion in outflows year to date, according to IndexUniverse.
Another popular junk ETF, the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond, has seen nearly $2 billion in outflows this year and is off 3.4 percent over the past five days alone.
Investors pulled $333 million from high-yield funds last week, according to Lipper.
While correlating to the general trend in fixed income, the slowdown in the junk bond business bodes especially troubling signs for investment banks, which have relied on the debt markets for fully one-third of their business this year, the highest percentage in 10 years.
The chart posted below comes from the Federal Reserve, and it “represents the effective yield of the BofA Merrill Lynch US High Yield Master II Index, which tracks the performance of US dollar denominated below investment grade rated corporate debt publically issued in the US domestic market.” In other words, it is a measure of the yield on junk bonds. As you can see, the yield on junk bonds sank to ridiculous lows in May, but since then it has been absolutely skyrocketing…
So why should the average American care about this?
Well, if the era of “cheap money” is over and businesses have to pay more to borrow, that is going to cause economic activity to slow down.
There won’t be as many jobs, part-time workers will get less hours, and raises will become more infrequent.
Those are just some of the reasons why you should care about this stuff.
Municipal bonds are being absolutely crushed right now too. You see, when yields on U.S. government debt rise, they also rise on state and local government debt.
In fact, things have been so bad that hundreds of millions of dollars of municipal bond sales have been postponed in recent days…
With yields on the U.S. municipal bond market rising, local issuers on Monday postponed another six bond sales, totaling $331 million, that were originally scheduled to price later this week.
Since mid-June, on the prospect that the Federal Reserve could change course on its easy monetary policy as the economy improves, the municipal bond market has seen a total of $2.6 billion in sales either canceled or delayed.
If borrowing costs for state and local governments rise, they won’t be able to spend as much money, they won’t be able to hire as many workers, they will need to find more revenue (tax increases), and more of them will go bankrupt.
Thus, there is only one direction for rates: UP, with muni bonds leading the decline, given that the financial structures of many municipalities are teetering. There is absolutely no good reason to be in municipal bonds now. And muni ETFs will be a worse place to be, given this is relatively HOT money that will try to get out of the exit door all at once.
But, as I wrote about yesterday, the worst part of the slaughter is going to be when the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives time bomb starts exploding. If bond yields continue to soar, eventually it will take down some very large financial institutions. The following is from a recent article by Bill Holter…
Please understand how many of these interest rate derivatives work. When the rates go against you, “margin” must be posted. By “margin” I mean collateral. Collateral must be shifted from the losing institution to the one on the winning side. When the loser “runs out” of collateral…that is when you get a situation similar to MF Global or Lehman Bros., they are forced to shut down and the vultures then come in and pick the bones clean…normally. Now it is no longer “normal,” now a Lehman Bros will take the whole tent down.
Most people have no idea how vulnerable our financial system is. It is a house of cards of risk, debt and leverage. Wall Street has become the largest casino in the history of the planet, and the wheels could come off literally at any time.
And it certainly does not help that a whole host of cyclical trends appear to be working against us. Posted below is an extended excerpt from a recent article by Taki Tsaklanos and GE Christenson…
Stocks should peak in mid-2013 and fall until about 2020. Similarly, bonds should peak in the summer of 2013 and fall thereafter for 20 years. He bases his conclusions entirely on cycle research. He expects the Dow to fall to around 5,000 by 2018 – 2020.
He sees a 36 year cycle in stock markets that is peaking in mid-2013 and down 2013 – 2016. “… the controlling energy wave is scheduled to flip back to negative on July 19 of this year.” Equity markets should drop 25 – 50%.
His economic confidence model projects a peak in confidence in August 2013, a bottom in September 2014, and another peak in October 2015. The decline into January 2020 should be severe. He expects a world-wide crash and contraction in economies from 2015 – 2020.
He discusses four long-term cycles that bottom roughly in the 2010 – 2020 period. They are: Credit expansion/contraction cycle; Price inflation/wage cycle; Generational cycle; and Peak oil extraction cycle.
Stock prices should drop, on average for the balance of this decade. Demographic cycles in the United States (and elsewhere) indicate a contraction in real terms for most of this decade.
I was stunned when I originally read through that list.
Is it just a coincidence that so many researchers have come to such a similar conclusion?
The central banks of the world could attempt to “kick the can down the road” by buying up lots and lots of bonds, but it does not appear that is going to happen.
The Federal Reserve may not listen to the American people, but there is one institution that the Fed listens to very carefully – the Bank for International Settlements. It is the central bank of central banks, and today 58 global central banks belong to the BIS. Every two months, the central bankers of the world (including Bernanke) gather in Basel, Switzerland for a “Global Economy Meeting”. At those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet.
And the BIS has just come out with its annual report. In that annual report, the BIS says that central banks “cannot do more without compounding the risks they have already created”, and that central banks should “encourage needed adjustments” in the financial markets. In other words, the BIS is saying that it is time to end the bond buying…
The Basel-based BIS – known as the central bank of central banks – said in its annual report that using current monetary policy employed in the euro zone, the U.K., Japan and the U.S. will not bring about much-needed labor and product market reforms and is a recipe for failure.
“Central banks cannot do more without compounding the risks they have already created,” it said in its latest annual report released on Sunday. “[They must] encourage needed adjustments rather than retard them with near-zero interest rates and purchases of ever-larger quantities of government securities.”
So expect central banks to start scaling back their intervention in the marketplace.
Yes, this is probably going to cause interest rates to rise dramatically and cause all sorts of chaos as the bubble that they created implodes.
It could even potentially cause a worse financial crisis than we saw back in 2008.
If that happens, the central banks of the world can swoop in and try to save us with their bond buying once again.
Can you smell that? It is the smell of panic in the air. As I have noted before, when financial markets catch up to economic reality they tend to do so very rapidly. Normally we don’t see virtually all asset classes get slammed at the same time, but the bucket of cold water that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threw on global financial markets on Wednesday has set off an epic temper tantrum. On Thursday, U.S. stocks, European stocks, Asian stocks, gold, silver and government bonds all over the planet all got absolutely shredded. This is not normal market activity. Unfortunately, there is nothing “normal” about our financial markets anymore. Over the past several years they have been grossly twisted and distorted by the Federal Reserve and by the other major central banks around the globe. Did the central bankers really believe that there wouldn’t be a great price to pay for messing with the markets? The behavior that we have been watching this week is the kind of behavior that one would expect at the beginning of a financial panic. Dick Bove, the vice president of equity research at Rafferty Capital Markets, told CNBC that what we are witnessing right now “is not normal. It is not normal for all markets to move in the same direction at the same point in time due to the same development.” The overriding emotion in the financial world right now is fear. And fear can cause investors to do some crazy things. So will global financial markets continue to drop, or will things stabilize for now? That is a very good question. But even if there is a respite for a while, it will only be temporary. More carnage is coming at some point.
What we have witnessed this week very much has the feeling of a turning point. The euphoria that drove the Dow well over the 15,000 mark is now gone, and investors all over the planet are going into crisis mode. The following is a summary of the damage that was done on Thursday…
-U.S. stocks had their worst day of the year by a good margin. The Dow fell 354 points, and that was the biggest one day drop that we have seen since November 2011. Overall, the Dow has lost more than 550 points over the past two days.
-Thursday was the eighth trading day in a row that we have seen a triple digit move in the Dow either up or down. That is the longest such streak since October 2011.
-The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries went as high as 2.47% before settling back to 2.42%. That was a level that we have not seen since August 2011, and the 10 year yield is now a full point above the all-time low of 1.4% that we saw back in July 2012.
– The yield on 30 year U.S. Treasuries hit 3.53 percent on Thursday. That was the first time it had been that high since September 2011.
-The CBOE Volatility Index jumped 28 percent on Thursday. It hit 20.49, and this was the first time in 2013 that it has risen above 20. When volatility rises, that means that the markets are getting stressed.
-European stocks got slammed too. The Bloomberg Europe 500 index fell more than 3 percent on Thursday. It was the worst day for European stocks in 20 months.
-In London, the FTSE fell about 3 percent. In Germany, the DAX fell 3.3 percent. In France, the CAC-40 fell 3.7 percent.
-Things continue to get even worse in Japan. The Nikkei has fallen close to 17 percent over the past month.
-Brazilian stocks have fallen by about 15 percent over the past month.
-On Thursday the price of gold got absolutely hammered. Gold was down nearly $100 an ounce. As I am writing this, it is trading at $1273.60.
-Silver got slammed even more than gold did. It fell more than 8 percent. At the moment it is trading at $19.57. That is ridiculously low. I have a feeling that anyone that gets into silver now is going to be extremely happy in the long-term if they are able to handle the wild fluctuations in the short-term.
-For the week ending June 15th, initial claims for unemployment benefits in the United States rose by about 18,000 from the previous week to 354,000. This is a number that investors are going to be watching closely in the months ahead.
Needless to say, Thursday was the type of day that investors don’t see too often. The following is what one stock trader told CNBC…
“It’s freaking, crazy now,” said one stock trader during the 3 p.m. ET hour as the Dow sunk more than 350 points. “Even defensive sectors are getting smoked. The super broad-based sell off between commodities, bonds, equities – I wouldn’t say it’s panic, but we’ve seen aggressive selling on the lows.”
Unfortunately, this may just be the beginning.
In fact, Mark J. Grant has suggested that we may see even more panic in the short-term…
Yesterday was the first day of the reversal. There will be more days to come.
What you are seeing, in the first instance, is leverage coming off the table. With short term interest rates right off of Kelvin’s absolute Zero there was been massive leverage utilized in both the bond and equity markets. While it cannot be quantified I can tell you, dealing with so many institutional investors, that the amount of leverage on the books is giant and is now going to get covered. It will not be pretty and it will be a rush through the exit doors as the fire alarm has been pulled by the Fed and the alarms are ringing. There is also an additional problem here.
The Street is not what it was. There is not enough liquidity in the major Wall Street banks, any longer, to deal with the amount of securities that will be thrown at them and I expect the down cycle to get exacerbated by this very real issue. Bernanke is no longer at the gate and the Barbarians are going to be out in force.
If we see global interest rates start to shift in a major way, that is going to be huge.
The interest rate derivatives market is the largest derivatives market in the world. The Bank for International Settlements estimates that the notional amount outstanding in June 2009 were US$437 trillion for OTC interest rate contracts, and US$342 trillion for OTC interest rate swaps. According to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, 80% of the world’s top 500 companies as of April 2003 used interest rate derivatives to control their cashflows. This compares with 75% for foreign exchange options, 25% for commodity options and 10% for stock options.
And when that house of cards starts falling, we are going to see panic that is going to absolutely dwarf anything that we have seen this week.
So keep watching interest rates, and keep listening for any mention of a problem with “derivatives” in the mainstream media.
When the next great financial crash comes, global credit markets are going to freeze up just like they did in 2008. That will cause economic activity to grind to a standstill and a period of deflation will be upon us. Yes, the way that the Federal Reserve and the federal government respond to such a crisis will ultimately cause tremendous inflation, but as I have written about before, deflation will come first.
It would be wise to build up your emergency fund while you still can. When the next great financial crisis fully erupts a lot of people are going to lose their jobs and for a while it will seem like hardly anyone has any extra money. If you have stashed some cash away, you will be in better shape than most people.
European officials are openly admitting that the two largest banks in Cyprus are “insolvent“, and it is now being reported that Cyprus Popular Bank only has “enough liquidity to cover the next few hours“. Of course all banks in Cyprus are officially closed until Tuesday at the earliest, but there have been long lines at ATMs all over Cyprus as people scramble to get whatever money they can out of the banks. Unfortunately, some ATMs appear to be “malfunctioning” and others appear to have already run out of cash. You can see some photos of huge lines at one ATM in Cyprus right here. Some businesses are now even refusing to take credit card payments. This is creating an atmosphere of panic on the streets of Cyprus. Meanwhile, the EU is holding a gun to the head of the Cyprus financial system. Either Cyprus meets EU demands by Monday, or liquidity for the banks will be totally cut off and Cyprus will be forced out of the euro. It is being reported that European officials believe that the “economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what“, and that it would be okay to let the financial system of Cyprus crash and burn if politicians in Cyprus are not willing to do what they have been ordered to do. Apparently European officials are very confident that the situation in Cyprus can be contained and that it will not spread to other European nations.
Unfortunately, European officials are losing sight of the bigger picture. If the largest banks in Cyprus are allowed to fail, it will be another “Lehman Brothers moment“. The faith that people have in banks all over Europe will be called into question, and everyone will be wondering what major European banks will be allowed to fail next.
Meanwhile, European officials have already completely shattered confidence in deposit insurance at this point. Everyone now knows that when there is a major bank failure that depositors will be expected to share in the pain. Expect to see “bank jogs” all over southern Europe over the coming weeks.
The banks in Cyprus had been scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, but very few people expect that to actually happen at this point. In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that EU officials are actually thinking about shutting down the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freezing their assets…
Finance ministers for the 17 euro countries are considering a plan to shutter the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freeze the assets of uninsured depositors, said the four officials, who asked not to be named because the talks are ongoing. The ministers are holding a teleconference tonight.
Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl (CPB) and the Bank of Cyprus Plc would be split to create a so-called bad bank, one of the officials said. Insured deposits — below the European Union ceiling of 100,000 euros ($129,000) — would go into a so-called good bank and not sustain any losses, while uninsured deposits would go into the bad bank and be frozen until assets could be sold, said the four officials.
Losses to unsecured creditors, including uninsured depositors, could reach 40 percent under the plan, which has support from the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The proposal, a version of which was rejected last week, is considered a better option than taxing insured deposits or allowing Cypriot banks to collapse in a disorderly fashion if they lose access to ECB aid, the officials said.
Such a scenario would be an utter disaster.
How would you feel if you woke up someday and 40 percent of your life savings was suddenly gone?
According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, European officials are also openly discussing the possibility of a Cyprus exit from the eurozone if a suitable bailout agreement is not worked out…
The possibility of Cyprus exiting the eurozone was discussed during teleconference involving technocrats from the Euro Working Group on Wednesday, Kathimerini understands.
A reliable source told Kathimerini that the technical implications of a euro exit, as well as the adoption of capital controls were debated by the Euro Working Group officials during the teleconference.
As I mentioned above, European officials seemed resigned to the fact that there will be an economic collapse in Cyprus “no matter what”, and so letting Cyprus leave the euro would not make that much of a difference. Either way, the banks are going to have to be “reorganized” and capital controls will be imposed…
In detailed notes of the call seen by Reuters, the group’s chair Austria’s Thomas Wieser said: “The economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what. Restrictions on capital will probably be imposed.”
Never before have we seen European officials impose such a harsh ultimatum with such a short deadline. It is almost as if they want to boot Cyprus out of the euro. The following comes from a recent CNBC report…
In stark twin warnings on Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would cut off liquidity to Cypriot banks and a senior EU official made clear to Reuters that the bloc was ready to see the bankrupt island banished from the euro in the belief it could then contain damage to the wider European economy.
And European officials are even publicly talking about the possibility that Cyprus will soon need to start using “their own currency”…
In Brussels, a senior European Union official told Reuters that an ECB withdrawal would mean Cyprus’s biggest banks being wound up, wiping out the large deposits it has sought to protect, and probably forcing the country to abandon the euro.
“If the financial sector collapses, then they simply have to face a very significant devaluation and faced with that situation, they would have no other way but to start having their own currency,” the EU official said.
This is absolutely shocking. Everyone always thought that Greece would be the first to leave the euro, but now it looks like it might be Cyprus.
However, there is still a chance that Cyprus may find a way to comply with EU demands. Politicians in Cyprus are frantically searching for a way to raise the needed cash without raiding private bank accounts. The following is what CNN is saying about the latest efforts…
Leaders of Cyprus’ political parties agreed Thursday to create an “investment solidarity fund,” which would issue bonds backed by state and church assets.
The plan was due to be discussed by the Cypriot government and parliament on Thursday evening, but few details were available and it was not clear how much the fund would be worth.
According to Reuters, other proposals have been under consideration as well…
The government said a “Plan B” was in the works.
Officials said it could include: an option to nationalize pension funds of semi-government corporations, which hold between 2 billion and 3 billion euros; issuing an emergency bond linked to future natural gas revenues; and possibly reviving the levy on bank deposits, though at a lower level than originally planned and maybe excluding savers with less than 100,000 euros.
At this point it is unclear whether any of those proposals will turn out to be acceptable to European officials.
In fact, the tone of European officials has noticeably changed from previous bailout efforts. They now seem much more willing to play hardball. For example, just check out what German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is saying about the situation in Cyprus…
German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the ZDF public broadcaster on Tuesday night (19 March) he “took note with regret” of the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the bailout deal, but insisted that the terms will stay the same.
Asked if the eurozone was willing to let Cyprus go bust, he answered: “Well, we are much more stable in the eurozone – we took measures to protect ourselves from the risks of contagion … but I don’t want to have any of this.”
He added: “It is a serious situation, but this cannot lead to a decision that makes absolutely no sense, to rescue a business model that has failed. Cyprus has a banking sector that is totally oversized and this made Cyprus insolvent. And nobody outside Cyprus is to blame for it.”
Schaeuble knows that the EU is holding all of the cards and that Cyprus is doomed without their help…
“The Cypriot state cannot fund itself on the markets. Its two largest banks are insolvent and are being kept afloat with emergency funding from the ECB, but only on the condition that there will be a long-term rescue programme. If this condition is no longer met, Cyprus will no longer be solvent and this is something Cypriot decision makers must know”
But the truth is that the EU can’t really afford to allow major banks to fail or for a single member to leave the eurozone. If either of those things happen, the confidence game that has been holding the European financial system together will begin to rapidly evaporate.
If the EU thinks that they can abandon Cyprus without the crisis spreading to the rest of southern Europe they are just being delusional.
At least there are a few politicians in Europe that understand what is happening. Nigel Farage, a very outspoken member of the European Parliament, is telling people to get their money out of banks in southern Europe as quickly as they can. He is warning that a great collapse of the European financial system is coming and that people need to get prepared for it…
So what do you think?
Do you believe that we are on the verge of a major financial collapse in Europe?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
Is the financial collapse of Italy going to be the final blow that breaks the back of Europe financially? Most people don’t realize this, but Italy is actually the third largest debtor in the entire world after the United States and Japan. Italy currently has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 120 percent, and Italy has a bigger national debt than anyone else in Europe does. That is why it is such a big deal that Italian voters have just overwhelmingly rejected austerity. The political parties led by anti-austerity candidates Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo did far better than anticipated. When you combine their totals, they got more than 50 percent of the vote. Italian voters have seen what austerity has done to Greece and Spain and they want no part of it. Unfortunately for Italian voters, it has been the promise of austerity that has kept the Italian financial system stable in recent months. Now that Italian voters have clearly rejected austerity, investors are fearing that austerity programs all over Europe may start falling apart. This is creating quite a bit of panic in European financial markets right now. On Tuesday, Italian stocks had their worst day in 10 months, Italian bond yields rose by the most that we have seen in 19 months, and the stocks of the two largest banks in Italy both fell by more than 8 percent. Italy is already experiencing its fourth recession since 2001, and unemployment has been steadily rising. If Italy is now “ungovernable”, as many are saying, then what does that mean for the future of Italy? Will Italy be the spark that sets off financial armageddon in Europe?
All of Europe was totally shocked by the election results in Italy. As you can see from the following excerpt from a Bloomberg article, the vote was very divided and the anti-austerity parties did much better than had been projected…
The results showed pre-election favorite Pier Luigi Bersani won the lower house with 29.5 percent, less than a half a percentage point ahead of Silvio Berlusconi, the ex-premier fighting a tax-fraud conviction. Beppe Grillo, a former comedian, got 25.6 percent, while Monti scored 10.6 percent. Bersani and his allies got 31.6 percent of votes in the Senate, compared with 30.7 percent for Berlusconi and 23.79 percent for Grillo, according to final figures from the Interior Ministry.
So what do those election results mean for Italy and for the rest of Europe?
Right now, there is a lot of panic about those results. There is fear that what just happened in Italy could result in a rejection of austerity all over Europe…
“I think the election results (or lack thereof) are a negative for the euro, which will likely keep the currency pressured for some time,” Omer Esiner, chief market analyst for Commonwealth Foreign Exchange, told me. But it’s not just the political uncertainty in Italy, he adds. “The shocking gains made by anti-establishment parties in Italy signal a broad-based frustration with austerity among voters and a decisive rejection of the policies pushed by Germany in nations across the euro zone’s periphery. That theme revives unresolved debt crisis issues and could threaten the continuity of reforms across other countries in the euro zone.”
And the financial markets have clearly interpreted the election results in Europe as a very bad sign. Zero Hedge summarized some of the bad news out of Europe that we saw on Tuesday…
Swiss 2Y rates turned negative once again for the first time in a month; EURUSD relatively flatlined around 1.3050 (250 pips lower than pre-Italy); Europe’s VIX exploded to almost 26% (from under 19% yesterday); and 3-month EUR-USD basis swaps plunged to their most liquidity-demanding level since 12/28. Spain and Italy (and Portugal) were the most hurt in bonds today as 2Y Italian spreads broke back above 200bps (surging over 50bps casting doubt on OMT support) and 3Y Spain yields broke above 3% once again. The Italian equity market suffered its equal biggest drop in 6 months falling back to 10 week lows (and down 14% from its end-Jan highs). Italian bond yields (and spreads) smashed higher – the biggest jump in 19 months as BTP futures volume exploded in the last two days.
Not that things in Europe were going well before all this.
In Spain, a major real estate company, Reyal Urbis, collapsed last week, leaving already battered banks on the hook for millions of euros in losses. Meanwhile, the government faces a corruption scandal and a steady stream of anti-austerity demonstrations. Thousands of people took to the streets again on Saturday, protesting deep cuts to health and other services, as well as hefty bank bailouts.
Life is no better in a large swath of the broader EU. In Britain, Moody’s cited the continuing economic weakness and the resulting risks to the government’s tight fiscal policy for its rating cut. In Bulgaria, where the government fell last week and the economy is in a shambles, rightists who joined mass demonstrations across the country burned a European Union flag and waved anti-EU banners. Other austerity-minded governments in the EU face similar murky political futures.
At this point, Europe is a complete and total economic mess and things are rapidly getting worse.
And that is really bad news because Europe is already in the midst of a recession. In fact, according to the BBC, the recession in the eurozone got even deeper during the fourth quarter of 2012…
The eurozone recession deepened in the final three months of 2012, official figures show.
The economy of the 17 nations in the euro shrank by 0.6% in the fourth quarter, which was worse than forecast.
It is the sharpest contraction since the beginning of 2009 and marks the first time the region failed to grow in any quarter during a calendar year.
But this is just the beginning.
The truth is that government debt is not even the greatest danger that Europe is facing. In reality, a collapse of the European banking system is of much greater concern.
Why is that?
Well, how would you feel if you woke up someday and every penny that you had in the bank was gone?
In the U.S. we don’t have to worry about that so much because all deposits are insured by the FDIC, but in many European countries things work much differently.
For example, just check out what Graham Summers recently had to say about the banking system in Spain…
It’s a little known fact about the Spanish crisis is that when the Spanish Government merges troubled banks, it typically swaps out depositors’ savings for shares in the new bank.
So… when the newly formed bank goes bust, “poof” your savings are GONE. Not gone as in some Spanish version of the FDIC will eventually get you your money, but gone as in gone forever (see the above article for proof).
This is why Bankia’s collapse is so significant: in one move, former depositors at seven banks just lost virtually everything.
And this in a nutshell is Europe’s financial system today: a totally insolvent sewer of garbage debt, run by corrupt career politicians who have no clue how to fix it or their economies… and which results in a big fat ZERO for those who are nuts enough to invest in it.
Be warned. There are many many more Bankias coming to light in the coming months. So if you have not already taken steps to prepare for systemic failure, you NEED to do so NOW. We’re literally at most a few months, and very likely just a few weeks from Europe’s banks imploding, potentially taking down the financial system with them. Think I’m joking? The Fed is pumping hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars into EU banks right now trying to stop this from happening.
Like Graham Summers, I am extremely concerned about the European banking system. Europe actually has a much larger banking system than the U.S. does, and if the European banking system implodes that is going to send huge shockwaves to the farthest corners of the globe.
But if you want to believe that the “experts” in Europe and in the United States have “everything under control”, then you might as well stop reading now.
After all, they are very highly educated and they know what they are doing, right?
But if you want to listen to some common sense, you might want to check out this very ominous warning from Karl Denninger…
I hope you’re ready.
Congress has wasted the time it was given by the Europeans getting things “temporarily” under control. But they didn’t actually get anything under control, as the Italian elections just showed.
Now, with the budget over there at risk of being abandoned, and fiscal restraint being abandoned (note: exactly what the US has been doing) the markets are recognizing exactly the risk that never in fact went away over the last couple of years.
It was hidden by lies, just as it has been hidden by lies here.
Bernanke’s machinations and other games “gave” the Congress four years to do the right thing. They didn’t, because that same “gift” also destroyed all market signals of urgency.
As such you have people like Krugman and others claiming that it’s all ok and that we can spend with wild abandon, taking our fiscal medicine never.
They were wrong. Congress was wrong. The Republicans were wrong, the Democrats were wrong, and the Administration was wrong.
Congress is out of time; as I noted the deficit spending must stop now, irrespective of the fact that it will cause significant economic damage.
For the past couple of years, authorities in the U.S. and in Europe have been trying to delay the coming crisis by kicking the can down the road.
By doing so, they have been making the eventual collapse even worse.
The victory by Barack Obama on election night has resulted in a huge wave of firings and layoffs all over America. A large number of businesses seem to have suddenly shifted into panic mode. The number of layoff announcements that we have seen in the last 48 hours has been absolutely shocking. So why is this happening? Well, the truth is that the federal government is absolutely suffocating small businesses all over America with rules, regulations and taxes. If you have never tried to run a small business, then you have no idea how oppressive this system actually is for people that are trying to run small businesses successfully. It has steadily gotten worse over the years no matter who has been in the White House and no matter who has controlled Congress. So we shouldn’t put 100% of the blame on Obama. Bush massively expanded government and made things harder on small business people too. But what many small business people were looking for on this election day was just a little bit of help. Many were desperately holding out hope that Obamacare would be repealed so that they would not have to get rid of some of their employees. Many were hoping to get a little bit of relief from the crippling regulations and taxes that are absolutely crushing them. But now that Barack Obama has been given another four years, they understand that there is no hope on the horizon and that things are only going to get worse. So they are making the hard decisions that they feel are necessary in order to survive in this economic environment.
And I certainly don’t blame them. You only want to have employees if you can make a profit on them. And in this environment it is getting harder than ever to make a profit on an employee. You see, the truth is that what you cost your employer goes far beyond your salary or your hourly wage. I think many of you would be absolutely shocked if you learned how much it actually costs your employer to employ you. And now thanks to Obamacare, that cost is going to go up even more.
Many businesses are not even feasible at all in this economic environment. Many small businesses had been holding out hope that somehow this election might turn things around and make it possible for them to keep going, but when Obama won it was kind of like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
You can’t do what the federal government and the state governments are doing to us and expect to have a thriving economy. They are choking the life out of us.
New businesses and small businesses are supposed to be at the heart of our economic system. Unfortunately, the environment that has been created is absolutely killing them. This is a recipe for disaster.
In a previous article, I noted that the number of jobs created at new businesses in 2010 in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
Now we can expect that number to get even worse and we can expect large numbers of small businesses to shrink in size or close their doors completely.
The following is a list of some of the post-election firings and layoffs that we have seen since Tuesday night…
A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.
The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.
The layoffs are necessary because of the president’s “war on coal,” the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down “204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014″ and for drastically reducing the market for coal.
I work for the oldest and largest health insurer in the state of Ohio in the underwriting department. At 9 a.m.this morning, my department (about 50) were called into a meeting in the executive boardroom. We were informed that due to a provision in the healthcare ‘reform’ effective 2014 called guarantee issue, our services would no longer be needed, and we were offered severance So Obama got to keep his job, and we lost ours. It is maddening that some tyrant 400 miles away can have such a ruinous effect on peoples lives.
A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.
“David” (he asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) told Host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT that “elections have consequences” and that “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”
Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Click the audio tab below to hear even more from this compelling conversation:
“I’ve done my share of educating my employees. I never tell them which way to vote. I believe in the free system we have, I believe in the right to choose who they want to be president, but I did explain as a business owner that I have always put my employees first. I always made sure that when I went without a paycheck that [I] made sure they were paid. And I explained that I always put them first and unfortunately I’m at a point where I’m being forced to have to worry about me and my family now and a business that I built from just me to 114 employees.
#4 Posted below is a list of layoff headlines from the past few days that was posted on AmericanThinker.com…
Obama was “fired up” and so were the voters, and so now, the mass firings begin. Here’s a collection of today’s headlines. Please say a prayer for the families who will be suffering. Had Romney won, many of these companies would now be hiring.
Teco Coal officials announce layoffs
Momentive Inc plans temporary layoffs for 150
Wilkes-Barre officials to announce mandatory layoffs
600 layoffs at Groupon
More layoffs announced at Aniston Weapons Incinerator
Murray Energy confirms 150 layoffs at 3 subsidiaries
130 laid off in Minnesota dairy plant closure
Stanford brake plant to lay off 75
Turbocare, Oce to lay off more than 220 workers
ATI plans to lay off 172 workers in North Richland Hills
SpaceX claims its first victims as Rocketdyne lays off 100
Providence Journal lays off 23 full-time employees
CVPH lays off 17
New Energy lays off 40 employees
102 Utah miners laid off because of ‘war on coal’, company says
US Cellular drops Chicago, cuts 640 jobs
Career Education to cut 900 jobs, close 23 campuses
Vestas to cut 3,000 more jobs
First Energy to cut 400 jobs by 2016
Mine owner blames Obama for layoffs (54 fired last night)
Canceled program costs 115 jobs at Ohio air base
AMD trims Austin workforce – 400 jobs slashed
100 workers lose jobs as Caterpillar closes plant in Minnesota
Exide to lay off 150 workers
TE Connectivity to close Guilford plant, lay off 620
More Layoffs for Major Wind Company (3,000 jobs cut)
Cigna to lay off 1,300 workers worldwide
Ameridose to lay off hundreds of workers
#5 According to the Blaze, the following major corporations have all announced layoffs in just the past two days…
#6 The following is a list of companies that will be laying off workers just because of Obamacare that was compiled by FreedomWorks…
Dana Holding Corp.
As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”. After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come. The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.
One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December. Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.
In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company. Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.
In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs. That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.
A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:
Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs
Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs
Covidien – 595 layoffs
Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs
St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs
Hill Rom – 200 layoffs
A lot of other businesses are going to reduce the number of employees they have or reduce the average work week in order to avoid the Obamacare insurance coverage mandate that will soon be implemented.
This is how CNSNews.com describes the choice that many employers will be facing…
That section, known as the employer mandate, requires any business with 50 or more full-time employees to provide at least the minimum level of government-defined health coverage to those employees. In other words, a business must provide insurance if it has 50 or more employees working an average of just 30 hours per week, which is 10 hours per week fewer than the traditional 40-hour work week.
Thus, by cutting employees’ hours to ensure they average less than the 30 per week, employers could potentially avoid the cost of providing the minimum insurance levels mandated by Obamacare.
So if your company trims the number of workers to just under 50 or starts going to “29 hour work weeks”, then you will know who to blame.
All of this is complete and utter insanity. We are committing national economic suicide.
But perhaps we deserve this. After all, Americans willingly chose their leaders on election day. It is getting harder and harder to deny that our politicians are truly a reflection of who we are as a nation.
The American people chose this path, and now we get to see where it leads us.
Summer vacation is over and things are about to get very interesting in Europe. Most Americans don’t realize this, but much of Europe shuts down for the entire month of August. I wish we had something similar in the United States. But now millions of Europeans are returning from their extended family vacations and the fun is about to begin. During August economic conditions continued to degenerate in Europe, but I figured that it wouldn’t be until after August that the European debt crisis would take center stage once again. And as I wrote about last week, if there is going to be a financial panic, it typically happens in the fall. The stock market has seen quite a nice rally over the summer, and many investors are nervous that we could see a significant “correction” very soon. The month of September has been the absolute worst month for stock performance over the past 50 years, and it has also been the absolute worst month for stock performance over the past 100 years as well. Of course that does not guarantee that anything is going to happen this year. But things in Europe continue to get worse. Unemployment rates are spiking, manufacturing activity is slowing down, housing prices are crashing and major financial institutions are failing. What is happening in Europe right now appears to be an even worse version of what happened to the United States back in 2008.
But most Americans aren’t too concerned about what is happening in Europe.
In fact, most Americans don’t believe that a European financial collapse would be much of a problem for us.
Well, just remember what happened back in 2008. When the U.S. financial system started coming apart at the seams it sparked a devastating worldwide recession which was felt in every corner of the globe.
If the European financial system implodes, the consequences could be even worse.
Europe has a larger population than the United States does.
Europe has a larger economy than the United States does.
Europe has a much, much larger banking system than the United States does.
If Europe experiences a financial collapse, the entire globe will feel the pain.
And considering how weak the U.S. economy already is, it would not take much to push us over the edge.
What is going on in Europe right now is a very, very big deal and people need to pay attention.
The following are 18 indications that Europe has become an economic black hole which is going to suck the life out of the global economy….
#1 The unemployment rate in France is up to 10 percent, and the French media is buzzing about the fact that the number of unemployed French workers has now hit the 3 million mark.
#2 The French government has just announced the nationalization of its second largest mortgage lender. Additional bailouts are likely on the way.
#3 French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced that it will be cutting more than 10,000 jobs. But of course major layoff announcements like this are coming out of Europe almost every day now.
#4 Home prices in France are falling rapidly and the recent election of a socialist president has created a bit of a panic in the French housing market….
British people with homes in France were today warned that the property market is in ‘free fall’.
A combination of factors including the election of a tax-and-spend Socialist government means that prices are tumbling.
It means an end to the boom years, when thousands of Britons poured money into rental or retirement investments across the Channel.
#5 A slow-motion bank run is happening in Spain. The amount of money being pulled out of the Spanish banking system is absolutely unprecedented. The following is from a recent Zero Hedge article….
The central bank of Spain just released the net capital outflow numbers and they are disastrous. During the month of June alone $70.90 billion left the Spanish banks and in July it was worse at $92.88 billion which is 4.7% of total bank deposits in Spain. For the first seven months of the year the outflow adds up to $368.80 billion or 17.7% of the total bank deposits of Spain and the trajectory of the outflow is increasing dramatically. Reality is reality and Spain is experiencing a full-fledged run on its banks whether anyone in Europe wants to admit it or not.
If this pace keeps up, more than 600 billion dollars will be pulled out of Spanish banks by the end of the year.
Keep in mind that the GDP of Spain for all of 2011 was just 1.49 trillion dollars.
So by the end of this year we could see the equivalent of more than 40 percent of Spanish GDP pulled out of Spanish banks and sent out of the country.
In case you were wondering, yes, that is a nightmare scenario.
#6 The unemployment rate in Spain is over 25 percent. The youth unemployment rate in Spain is well over 50 percent. Spain is a tinderbox that could be set ablaze at any moment.
#7 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds is up to 6.85 percent. This is an unsustainable level, and if rates don’t come down on Spanish debt soon it is inevitable that Spain will end up just like Greece.
#8 On Monday it was announced that Spanish banking giant Bankia will be getting an emergency “cash injection” of between 4 and 5 billion euros. Apparently “cash injection” sounds better to the politicians than “a bailout” does.
#9 The housing crash in Spain just continues to get worse. It is being reported that some homes in Spain are being sold at a 70% discount from where they were at the peak of the market back in 2006. At this point there are approximately 2 million unsold homes in Spain.
#10 There are persistent rumors that the government of Spain will soon be forced to officially ask for a bailout from the rest of Europe. But who is going to bail them out? Most of the other governments of the eurozone are on the verge of bankruptcy themselves.
#11 Manufacturing activity in Europe has contracted for 13 months in a row. The following is from a recent Reuters report….
The downturn that began in the smaller periphery members of the 17-nation bloc is now sweeping through Germany and France and the situation remained dire in the region’s third and fourth biggest economies of Italy and Spain.
“Larger nations like France and Germany remain in reverse gear… the (manufacturing) sector is on course to act as a drag on gross domestic product in the third quarter,” said Rob Dobson, senior economist at data collator Markit.
Markit’s final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell from an earlier flash reading of 45.3 to 45.1, above July’s three-year low of 44.0, but notching its 13th month below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
#12 Chinese exports to the EU declined by 16.2 percent in July. U.S. exports to Europe have been steadily falling as well.
#13 Slovenia and Cyprus are two other eurozone members that are in desperate need of bailout money. The dominoes just keep falling and nobody seems to be able to come up with a plan to “fix” Europe.
#14 Even the “strong” economies in Europe are being dragged down now. For example, unemployment in Germany has risen for five months in a row.
#15 According to one recent poll, only about one-fourth of all Germans want Greece to remain a part of the eurozone. The odds of a breakup of the euro seem to rise with each passing day.
#16 It is now estimated that bad loans make up approximately 20 percent of all domestic loans in the Greek banking system at this point.
#18 Large U.S. companies have been rapidly getting prepared for a Greek exit from the eurozone. The following is from a recent New York Times article….
Even as Greece desperately tries to avoid defaulting on its debt, American companies are preparing for what was once unthinkable: that Greece could soon be forced to leave the euro zone.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has looked into filling trucks with cash and sending them over the Greek border so clients can continue to pay local employees and suppliers in the event money is unavailable. Ford has configured its computer systems so they will be able to immediately handle a new Greek currency.
Every time European leaders get together they declare that they have “a plan” that will solve the problems that Europe is experiencing, but as we have seen things in Europe just continue to get worse with no end in sight.
A key date is coming up in the middle of this month. On September 12th, Germany’s Constitutional Court will determine the fate of the recent fiscal pact and the ESM. According to UniCredit global chief economist Erik Nielsen, if the court rules against the fiscal pact and the ESM the fallout will be catastrophic….
“If they were to surprise us by striking down Germany’s participation, I would think it’d be an utter bloodbath in markets”
But that is not the only thing that could set off a full-blown panic in the financial markets.
The truth is that Europe is teetering on the edge.
One wrong move and it is going to be 1929 all over again.
As I have maintained all along, the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and this time the epicenter for the crisis is going to be in Europe.
But that does not mean that things are going to be easier for the United States than last time. We have never even come close to recovering from the last recession. Most Americans families are just barely getting by. In fact, 77 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
Right now there are millions of Americans that have lost their jobs and their homes in recent years and that feel forsaken by society.
After this next wave hits us there will be tens of millions of Americans feeling the pain of economic desperation.
The last wave of the economic collapse hurt us.
This next wave is going to absolutely devastate us.
Watch what is happening in Europe very carefully. What Greece, Spain, Italy and France are experiencing right now is going to hit us soon enough.