Has the next Lehman Brothers moment arrived? Late Thursday night we learned that the British people had voted to leave the European Union, and this could be the “trigger event” that unleashes great financial panic all over the planet. Of course stocks have already been crashing all over the globe over the past year, but up until now we had not seen the kind of stark fear that the crash of 2008 created following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The British people are certainly to be congratulated for choosing to leave the tyrannical EU, and if I could have voted I would have voted to “leave” as well. But just as I warned 10 days ago, choosing to leave will “throw the entire continent into a state of economic and financial chaos”. And “Black Friday” was just the beginning – the pain from this event is going to continue to be felt for months to come.
The shocking outcome of the Brexit vote caught financial markets completely off guard, and the carnage that we witnessed on Friday was absolutely staggering…
-The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 610 points, and this represented the 9th largest one day stock market crash in the history of the Dow.
-The Nasdaq was hit even harder than the Dow. It declined 4.12 percent which was the biggest one day decline since 2011.
-Overall, Black Friday erased approximately 800 billion dollars of stock market wealth in the United States.
-Thursday was the worst day ever for the British pound, and investors were stunned to see it collapse to a 31 year low.
-Friday was the worst day ever for European banking stocks.
-Friday was the worst day for Italian stocks since 1997.
-Friday was the worst day for Spanish stocks since 1987.
-Japan experienced tremendous chaos as well. The Nikkei fell an astounding 1286 points, and this was the biggest drop that we have seen in more than 16 years.
-Banking stocks all over the planet got absolutely pummeled on Black Friday. The following comes from USA Today…
Stocks of some British-based banks suffered double-digit losses in heavy U.S. trading. Barclays (BCS) shares plunged 20.48% to close at $8.89. HSBC (HSBC) shares closed down 9.04% at $30.68. And shares of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) plummeted 27.5% to a $5.43 close.
Top U.S. banks also suffered from the Brexit fallout, although not as badly as their British counterparts.
-Friday was the best day for gold since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
-George Soros made a killing on Black Friday because he had already positioned his company to greatly benefit from the Brexit vote ahead of time.
But please don’t think that “Black Friday” was just a one day thing. As I warned before, the Brexit vote “could be the trigger that changes everything“. And if you don’t believe me on this, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. This is what he told CNBC on Friday…
“This is the worst period, I recall since I’ve been in public service,” Greenspan said on “Squawk on the Street.”
“There’s nothing like it, including the crisis — remember October 19th, 1987, when the Dow went down by a record amount 23 percent? That I thought was the bottom of all potential problems. This has a corrosive effect that will not go away.”
I completely agree with Greenspan on this point. This “corrosive effect” on global markets is not going to go away any time soon. Sure there will be days when the markets are green just like there were after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but overall the trend will be down.
Important British trading partners — including India and China — indicated they were worried that an exit would create regulatory and political volatility that could harm the economies of everyone involved.
The U.K.’s Treasury itself reported that its analysis showed the nation “would be permanently poorer” if it left the EU and adopted any of a number of likely alternatives. “Productivity and GDP per person would be lower in all these alternative scenarios, as the costs would substantially outweigh any potential benefit of leaving the EU,” a summary of the report said.
This threat even extends to the United States. CNN just published an article that lists four ways the U.S. could be significantly affected by all of this…
1. Fears that the EU may be falling apart
2. Volatile markets slow down the engine of U.S. growth
3. Brexit triggers a strong dollar, which hurts U.S. trade
4. Brexit forces the Fed to rewrite its rate hike playbook
Fortunately we are now heading into the weekend, and that might have a calming effect on the markets.
Or it might just cause financial tension to build up to an extremely high level which will subsequently be released on Monday morning.
Strategies designed to mitigate risk will actually add to downward pressure in the S&P 500 over the next week as computerized selling ramps up to keep pace with falling prices. It reminds Cheong of the rapid stock selling that roiled markets in August, when the S&P 500 fell 11 percent to a 10-month low while facing similar behavior from algorithmic traders.
“The bigger the down move today, the more they have to sell, which would basically create a vicious cycle,” Cheong, head of Americas equity derivatives strategy at UBS, said in a phone interview. “We’ll see front-loaded selling in the range of $100 billion to $150 billion over the next two to three days. It could be very similar to August in terms of model-based selling.”
Personally, I am hoping for calm when the markets open on Monday. But without a doubt, something has now shifted as a result of this Brexit vote, and things have suddenly become a whole lot more serious.
So what do you believe we will see happen next week?
Please feel free to tell us what you think 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 12 months, stock market investors around the planet have lost trillions of dollars. Since this time last June, stocks have crashed in 6 of the world’s 8 largest economies, and stocks in the other two are down as well. The charts that you are about to see are absolutely stunning, and they are clear evidence that a new global financial crisis has already begun. Of course it is true that we are still in the early chapters of this new crisis and that there is much, much more damage to be done, but let us not minimize the carnage that we have already witnessed.
In general, there have been three major waves of financial panic over the past 12 months. Late last August we saw the biggest financial shaking since the financial crisis of 2008, then in January and February there was an even bigger shaking, and now a third “wave” has begun in June. Not all areas around the globe have been affected equally by each wave, but without a doubt this new financial crisis is a global phenomenon.
The charts that I am about to show you come from Trading Economics. It is an absolutely indispensable website that is packed full of useful data, and I encourage everyone to check it out.
Let’s talk about China first. The Chinese economy is the second largest on the entire planet, and since this time last year Chinese stocks are down an astounding 40 percent…
As things have started to unravel in China, the Chinese have been selling off U.S. debt and U.S. stocks like crazy. The following comes from Bloomberg…
For the past year, Chinese selling of Treasuries has vexed investors and served as a gauge of the health of the world’s second-largest economy.
The People’s Bank of China, owner of the world’s biggest foreign-exchange reserves, burnt through 20 percent of its war chest since 2014, dumping about $250 billion of U.S. government debt and using the funds to support the yuan and stem capital outflows.
While China’s sales of Treasuries have slowed, its holdings of U.S. equities are now showing steep declines.
Japan has the third largest economy in the world, and over the past year Japanese stocks are down a total of 26 percent from the peak…
Personally, I have been extremely alarmed by what has been happening in Japan lately. Japanese stocks were down almost 500 points last night, and overall the Nikkei is down a whopping 1,800 points so far in June.
Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world, and over the past year their stocks have fallen 19 percent from the peak of the market…
The key thing to watch for in Germany are serious troubles at their biggest bank. I wrote a long article about the slow-motion implosion of Deutsche Bank last month, and just this week Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low.
The fifth largest economy on the planet belongs to the United Kingdom, and since last June their stocks have fallen about 13 percent…
France has the sixth largest economy in the world, and over the past year French stocks are down 20 percent from the peak of the market…
The French economy is really struggling these days, and we have not heard much about it in the U.S. media, but there have been tremendous riots in major cities in France in recent weeks.
The seventh largest economy on our planet belongs to India. Even though India is facing some very serious economic problems, their stocks are doing okay for the moment. Even though stocks in India are down over the past 12 months, we have not seen a major financial crisis over there just yet.
But there is definitely a major crisis in the eighth largest economy in the world. Italian stocks are down a staggering 32 percent from the peak of the market. That means approximately a third of all stock market wealth in Italy is already gone…
Earlier this year, I wrote about the horrifying collapse of the Italian banking system that has greatly accelerated since the start of 2016. It looks like virtually all of their big banks will ultimately need to be bailed out, and this threatens to become a far bigger crisis than the crisis in Greece ever was.
And let us not leave off the ninth largest economy in the world. Not too long ago, CNN ran an article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared“. So not only are they admitting that the ninth largest economy on the globe is collapsing, they are also admitting that it is even worse than what the experts had anticipated.
So did I leave anyone off the list?
Ah yes, I haven’t even addressed what has been going on in the United States yet.
U.S. stocks did crash last August, but then they recovered.
Then they crashed again in January, but then they recovered again.
Now U.S. stocks have been taking another tumble here in June, but we are being assured that there is nothing to worry about.
Hopefully this article will clear a lot of things up. In this piece, I have presented undeniable evidence that a new global financial crisis has begun over the past 12 months. We have not seen global stock declines of this nature since the great financial crisis of 2008, but much worse is still to come.
I would love to be wrong about that last part.
It would be wonderful if the worst was now behind us and good times for the global financial system were ahead.
Unfortunately, every single indicator that I am watching is telling me just the opposite.
*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.*
Why is George Soros selling stocks, buying gold and making “a series of big, bearish investments”? If things stay relatively stable like they are right now, these moves will likely cost George Soros a tremendous amount of money. But if a major financial crisis is imminent, he stands to make obscene returns. So does George Soros know something that the rest of us do not? Could it be possible that he has spent too much time reading websites such as The Economic Collapse Blog? What are we to make of all of this?
The recent trading moves that Soros has made are so big and so bearish that they have even gotten the attention of the Wall Street Journal…
Worried about the outlook for the global economy and concerned that large market shifts may be at hand, the billionaire hedge-fund founder and philanthropist recently directed a series of big, bearish investments, according to people close to the matter.
Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages $30 billion for Mr. Soros and his family, sold stocks and bought gold and shares of gold miners, anticipating weakness in various markets. Investors often view gold as a haven during times of turmoil.
Hmmm – it sounds suspiciously like George Soros and Michael Snyder are on the exact same page as far as what is about to happen to the global economy.
You know that it is very late in the game when that starts happening…
One thing that George Soros is particularly concerned about that I haven’t been talking a lot about yet is the upcoming Brexit vote. If the United Kingdom leaves the EU (and hopefully they will), the short-term consequences for the European economy could potentially be absolutely catastrophic…
Mr. Soros also argues that there remains a good chance the European Union will collapse under the weight of the migration crisis, continuing challenges in Greece and a potential exit by the United Kingdom from the EU.
“If Britain leaves, it could unleash a general exodus, and the disintegration of the European Union will become practically unavoidable,” he said.
The Brexit vote will be held two weeks from today on June 23rd, and we shall be watching to see what happens.
But Soros is not just concerned about a potential Brexit. The economic slowdown in China also has him very worried, and so he has directed his firm to make extremely bearish wagers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the last time Soros made these kinds of bearish moves was back in 2007, and it resulted in more than a billion dollars of gains for his company.
After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285k from April and down 552k from a year ago.
That may seem counterintuitive in an industry that has been rapidly shedding workers, with more than 350,000 people laid off in the oil and gas industry worldwide.
Texas is one place feeling the pain. Around 99,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Lone Star state have been eliminated since prices collapsed two years ago, or about one third of the entire industry. In April alone there were about 6,300 people in oil and gas and supporting services that were handed pink slips. Employment in Texas’ oil sector is close to levels not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009. “We’re still losing big chunks of jobs with each passing month,” Karr Ingham, an Amarillo-based economist, told The Houston Chronicle.
At this point it is so obvious that we have entered a new economic downturn that I don’t know how anyone can possibly deny it any longer.
Unfortunately, the reality of what is happening has not sunk in with the general population yet.
American taxpayers are quick to criticize the federal government for its ever-increasing national debt, but a new study released Wednesday found taxpayers are also saddled with debt, and are likely to end 2016 with a record high $1 trillion in outstanding balances.
Wallethub, a site that recommends credit cards based on consumers’ needs, said that will be the highest amount of credit card debt on record, surpassing even the years during and before the Great Recession. The site said the record high was in 2008, when people owed $984.2 billion on their credit cards.
Will we ever learn?
This has got to be one of the worst possible times to be going into credit card debt.
Sadly, the “dumb money” will continue to act dumb and the “smart money” (such as George Soros) will continue to quietly position themselves to take advantage of the crisis that is already starting to unfold.
We can’t change what is happening to the economy, but we do have control over the choices that we make.
So I urge you to please make your choices wisely.
*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.*
You are about to see a chart that is undeniable evidence that we have already entered a major economic slowdown. In the “real economy”, stuff is bought and sold and shipped around the country by trucks, railroads and planes. When more stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, the “real economy” is growing, and when less stuff is being bought and sold and shipped around the country, the “real economy” is shrinking. I know that might sound really basic, but I want everyone to be on the same page as we proceed in this article. Just because stock prices are artificially high right now does not mean that the U.S. economy is in good shape. In fact, there was a stock rally at this exact time of the year in 2008 even though the underlying economic fundamentals were rapidly deteriorating. We all remember what happened later that year, so we should not exactly be rejoicing that precisely the same pattern that we witnessed in 2008 is happening again right in front of our eyes.
During the month of April, the Cass Transportation Index was down 4.9 percent on a year over year basis. What this means is that a lot less stuff was bought and sold and shipped around the country in April 2016 when compared to April 2015. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
Freight shipments by truck and rail in the US fell 4.9% in April from the beaten-down levels of April 2015, according to the Cass Transportation Index, released on Friday. It was the worst April since 2010, which followed the worst March since 2010. In fact, shipment volume over the four months this year was the worst since 2010.
This is no longer statistical “noise” that can easily be brushed off.
Of course this was not just a one month fluke. The reality is that we have now seen the Cass Shipping Index decline on a year over year basis for 14 consecutive months. Here is more commentary and a chart from Wolf Richter…
The Cass Freight Index is not seasonally adjusted. Hence the strong seasonal patterns in the chart. Note the beaten-down first four months of 2016 (red line):
This is undeniable evidence that the “real economy” has been slowing down for more than a year. In 2007-2008 we saw a similar thing happen, but the Federal Reserve and most of the “experts” boldly assured us that there was not going to be a recession.
Of course then we immediately proceeded to plunge into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Traditionally, railroad activity has been a key indicator of where the U.S. economy is heading next. Just a few days ago, I wrote about how U.S. rail traffic was down more than 11 percent from a year ago during the month of April, and I included a photo that showed 292 Union Pacific engines sitting in the middle of the Arizona desert doing absolutely nothing.
Well, just yesterday one of my readers sent me a photograph of a news article from North Dakota about how a similar thing is happening up there. Hundreds of rail workers are being laid off, and engines are just sitting idle on the tracks because there is literally nothing for them to do…
Intuitively, does it seem like this should be happening in a “healthy” economy?
Of course not.
The reason why this is happening is because businesses have been selling less stuff. Total business sales have now been declining for almost two years, and they are now close to 15 percent lower than they were in late 2014.
Because sales are way down, unsold inventories are really starting to pile up. The inventory to sales ratio is now close to the level it was at during the worst moments of the last recession, and many analysts expect it to continue to keep going up.
Why can’t people understand what is happening? So far this year, job cut announcements are up 24 percent and the number of commercial bankruptcies is shooting through the roof. Signs that we are in the early chapters of a new economic downturn are all around us, and yet denial is everywhere.
Treasury yields are behaving as if they are signaling a recession, but strategists say this time it’s more likely a sign of something else.
The market has been buzzing about the flattening yield curve, or the fact that yields on longer duration Treasurys are getting closer to yields on shorter duration securities.
In the case of 10-year notes and two-year notes, that spread was the flattest Friday than it has been on a closing basis since late 2007. The yield curve had turned negative in 2006 and stayed there for months in 2007 before turning higher ahead of the Great Recession. The spread was at 95 at Friday’s curve but widened Monday to more than 96.
Treasury yields are very, very clearly telling us that a new recession is here, but because the “experts” don’t want to believe it they are telling us that the signal is “broken”.
For many Americans, all that seems to matter is that the stock market has recovered from the horrible crashes last August and earlier this year. But in the end, I am convinced that those crashes will simply be regarded as “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in our not too distant future.
But if you don’t want to believe me, perhaps you will listen to Goldman Sachs. They just came out with six reasons why stocks are about to tumble.
Or perhaps you will believe Bank of America. They just came out with nine reasons why a big stock market decline is on the horizon.
To me, one of the big developments has been the fact that stock buybacks are really starting to dry up. In fact, announced stock buybacks have declined 38 percent so far this year…
After snapping up trillions of dollars of their own stock in a five-year shopping binge that dwarfed every other buyer, U.S. companies from Apple Inc. to IBM Corp. just put on the brakes. Announced repurchases dropped 38 percent to $244 billion in the last four months, the biggest decline since 2009, data compiled by Birinyi Associates and Bloomberg show. “If the only meaningful source of demand in the market is companies buying their own shares back, then what happens if that goes away?” asked Brad McMillan, CIO of Commonwealth “We should be concerned.”
Stock buybacks have been one of the key factors keeping stock prices at artificially inflated levels even though underlying economic conditions have been deteriorating. Now that stock buybacks are drying up, it is going to be difficult for stocks to stay disconnected from economic reality.
A lot of people have been asking me recently when the next crisis is going to arrive.
I always tell them that it is already here.
Just like in early 2008, economic conditions are rapidly deteriorating, but the stock market has not gotten the memo quite yet.
And just like in 2008, when the financial markets do finally start catching up with reality it will likely happen very quickly.
So don’t take your eyes off of the deteriorating economic fundamentals, because it is inevitable that the financial markets will follow eventually.
Has the U.S. economy gotten better over the past six months or has it gotten worse? In this article, you will find solid proof that the U.S. economy has continued to get worse over the past six months. Unfortunately, most people seem to think that since the stock market has rebounded significantly in recent weeks that everything must be okay, but of course that is not true at all. If you look at a chart of the Dow, a very ominous head and shoulders pattern is forming, and all of the economic fundamentals are screaming that big trouble is ahead. When Donald Trump told the Washington Post that we are heading for a “very massive recession“, he wasn’t just making stuff up. We are already seeing lots of things happen that never take place outside of a recession, and the U.S. economy has already been sliding downhill fairly rapidly over the past several months. With all that being said, the following are 19 facts that prove things in America are worse than they were six months ago…
#1 U.S. factory orders have now declined on a year over year basis for 16 months in a row. As Zero Hedge has noted, in the post-World War II era this has never happened outside of a recession…
In 60 years, the US economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the US economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month
#3 It is being projected that corporate earnings will be down 8.5 percent for the first quarter of 2016 compared to one year ago. This will be the fourth quarter in a row that we have seen year over year declines, and the last time that happened was during the last recession.
#4 Total business sales have fallen 5 percent since the peak in mid-2014.
#5 S&P 500 earnings have now fallen a total of 18.5 percent from their peak in late 2014.
#6 Corporate debt defaults have soared to the highest level that we have seen since 2009.
#9 51 oil and gas drillers in North America have filed for bankruptcy since the beginning of last year, and according to CNN we could be on the verge of seeing the biggest one yet…
Shale oil driller SandRidge Energy (SD) warned there was “substantial doubt” it would survive the oil downturn. The Oklahoma City company said this week it is exploring a potential Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Based on its $3.6 billion of debt, SandRidge would be the biggest North American oil-focused company to go bust during the current downturn, according to a CNNMoney analysis of stats compiled by law firm Haynes and Boone.
#10 According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, job cut announcements by major firms in the United States were up 32 percent during the first quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015.
#11 Consumers in the United States accumulated more new credit card debt during the 4th quarter of 2015 than they did during the entire years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined.
#12 Existing home sales in the U.S. were down 7.1 percent during the month of February, and this was the biggest decline that we have witnessed in six years.
#14 The Restaurant Performance Index in the U.S. recently dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.
#15 Major retailers all over the country are shutting down hundreds of stores as the “retail apocalypse” accelerates.
#16 If you take the number of working age Americans that are officially unemployed (8.1 million) and add that number to the number of working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force” (93.9 million), that gives us a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now
#17 Since peaking during the 3rd quarter of 2014, U.S. exports of goods and services have been steadily declining. This is something that we never see outside of a recession…
#18 The cost of everything related to medical care just continues to skyrocket even though our wages are stagnating. According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year, and yet the cost of medical care just hit a brand new all-time high…
#19 Our government debt continues to spiral out of control. At this point it is sitting at a staggering total of $19,218,516,838,306.52, but when Barack Obama first entered the White House it was only 10.6 trillion dollars. That means that our government has been stealing an average of more than 100 million dollars an hour from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day since Barack Obama was inaugurated…
How in the world can anyone look at those numbers and suggest that everything is okay?
I simply do not understand how that could be possible.
Part of the problem is that Americans have been trained to be irrationally optimistic. It is fine to have an optimistic outlook on life, but when it causes you to throw logic and reason out the window that is not good.
For example, you can be “optimistic” about your ability to fly all you want, but if you step off a 10 story building you are going to take a very hard fall to the ground.
Similarly, you can ignore all of the facts and pretend that our economic prosperity is sustainable all you want, but it won’t change the fundamental laws of economics.
On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone that has helped make my new book the #1 new release in Christian eschatology on Amazon.com. I understand that a lot of my secular readers are not going to understand my fascination with Bible prophecy, and that is okay. I felt that I needed to write this book to address some very serious errors that are being taught in churches all over America today, and I also wanted to inspire believers to face the great hardships and persecution that are coming.
Just because very difficult times are approaching does not mean that it will be time to run and hide. My wife and I always live our lives with no fear, and when things get crazy we believe that it will be an opportunity to do even more good. We believe that the greatest chapters of our lives are still ahead of us, and we want people to understand why they can look forward to the future even though great darkness is rising all around us.
So yes, I definitely carry a message of warning.
But I also bring a message of hope.
As we look toward the future, there is much to be concerned about, but there are also things happening that are worth getting extremely excited about.
It is when times are the darkest that the light is needed the most, and very soon light will be greatly, greatly needed in the United States of America.
Guess what Donald Trump is saying now? Last week, I discussed how Robert Kiyosaki and Harry Dent are warning that a major crisis is inevitable, but I didn’t expect Donald Trump to come out and say essentially the exact same thing. On Saturday, the Washington Post released a stunning interview with Donald Trump in which he boldly declared that we heading for a “very massive recession”. He also warned that we are currently in “a financial bubble” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to be investing in stocks. These are things that you may be accustomed to hearing on The Economic Collapse Blog, but to hear them from the frontrunner for the Republican nomination is another thing altogether.
Whether you plan to vote for Donald Trump or not, at least we can all appreciate that he doesn’t talk like a politician. He tells it like he sees it, and he told the Washington Post that he considers the official unemployment rate that is put out by the Obama administration to be completely fraudulent…
“First of all, we’re not at 5 percent unemployment. We’re at a number that’s probably into the twenties if you look at the real number,” Trump said. “That was a number that was devised, statistically devised to make politicians — and, in particular, presidents — look good. And I wouldn’t be getting the kind of massive crowds that I’m getting if the number was a real number.”
And before you dismiss this, perhaps you should consider that the Federal Reserve also considers the government unemployment number to be so inaccurate that they secretly have been calculating the unemployment rate on their own…
Because it distrusted the Labor Department’s unemployment statistics, the Federal Reserve — without any fanfare — started calculating its own jobless rate two years ago.
And the Fed’s calculation, called the Labor Market Conditions Index, or LMCI, shows that the US unemployment rate in February was 5.8 percent. That’s much higher than the 4.9 percent official jobless rate reported by the Labor Department.
Of course if truly honest numbers were being used, the unemployment rate would not be anywhere close to this range. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, the broadest measure of unemployment is currently sitting at 22.9 percent.
And just last week I showed my readers that 23.2 percent of all Americans in their prime working years do not have a job right now, and that inactivity rates for both men and women in the U.S. are currently far higher than they were during the last recession.
So when Donald Trump says that we are at an unemployment number “that’s probably into the twenties”, I would have to rate that statement as mostly true.
Of course things are about to get a whole lot worse. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, job cut announcements by major firms were up 32 percent during the first quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015.
When big corporations are doing well, they tend to hire more people. But when their earnings start to go down, one of the very first things they tend to do is to lay people off.
Sadly, that is what we are starting to see right now. According to Wolf Richter, it is being projected that corporate earnings per share for the first quarter will decline a whopping 8.5 percent compared to one year ago…
Even analysts who estimate pro-forma, ex-bad-items, non-GAAP earnings that S&P 500 companies propagate to look better and that these analysts use to inflate their stock-price targets, just threw in the towel on the quarter.
They expect these inflated earnings per share for the first quarter to plunge 8.5% from a year ago, according to FactSet. If this holds after S&P 500 companies report their ex-bad-items earnings, it would be the worst EPS decline since Q3 2009.
It would also be the fourth quarter in a row of year-over-year earnings declines, a phenomenon that last happened during the Great Recession from Q4 2008 through Q3 2009.
In the past, we have almost always seen corporate profit margins peak and start declining before a recession hits. The following chart comes from Jesse Felder, and it shows that this has happened prior to almost every recession in the post-World War II era, and now it is happening again…
Why can’t more people see this?
For months, I have been pointing out to my readers how history is repeating. The exact same patterns that have happened just prior to previous recessions are happening again, but most people just refuse to see the truth.
Yes, U.S. stocks rebounded substantially in March, but that was not based on the economic fundamentals. Just look at the following chart from Zero Hedge. At some point stock prices and corporate earnings will start converging once again. There is simply no way in the world that stock prices can stay disconnected from reality indefinitely…
So when Donald Trump says that we are in “a financial bubble” and that “it’s a terrible time right now” to be investing in stocks, I would have to rate those statements as absolutely true.
I would also have to rate his statement that we are heading toward a “very massive recession” as absolutely true as well, and legendary investor Jim Rogers agrees with me. In fact, he recently told Bloomberg that there is “a 100 percent probability that the U.S. economy would be in a downturn within one year“.
For a legendary investor such as Jim, that is quite a bold statement to make. And of course most American families already feel like they are in an economic downturn. This is something that my wife and I talked about during our most recent show…
The truth is that the U.S. economy has never even gotten close to recovering to the level it was at just prior to the last recession, and now the next major crisis is upon us.
But this new crisis is not going to be like the last one. It is going to be much, much worse before it is all said and done, and what is coming is going to bring America to her knees. This is something that I discuss in my new book. The economic devastation that is coming is going to be unlike anything that any of us have ever known, and it is going to shake America to the very core.
So enjoy the remaining days of “normal life in America” while you still can.
A lot of people are using this time to party, but if you are wise you are using it to prepare.
The Italian banking system is a “leaning tower” that truly could completely collapse at literally any moment. And as Italy’s banks begin to go down like dominoes, it is going to set off financial panic all over Europe unlike anything we have ever seen before. I wrote about the troubles in Italy back in January, but since that time the crisis has escalated. At this point, Italian banking stocks have declined a whopping 28 percent since the beginning of 2016, and when you look at some of the biggest Italian banks the numbers become even more frightening. On Monday, shares of Monte dei Paschi were down 4.7 percent, and they have now plummeted 56 percent since the start of the year. Shares of Carige were down 8 percent, and they have now plunged a total of 58 percent since the start of the year. This is what a financial crisis looks like, and just like we are seeing in South America, the problems in Italy appear to be significantly accelerating.
So what makes Italy so important?
Well, we all saw how difficult it was for the rest of Europe to come up with a plan to rescue Greece. But Greece is relatively small – they only have the 44th largest economy in the world.
The Italian economy is far larger. Italy has the 8th largest economy in the world, and their government debt to GDP ratio is currently sitting at about 132 percent.
There is no way that Europe has the resources or the ability to handle a full meltdown of the Italian financial system. Unfortunately, that is precisely what is happening. Italian banks are absolutely drowning in non-performing loans, and as Jeffrey Moore has noted, this potentially represents “the greatest threat to the world’s already burdened financial system”…
Shares of Italy’s largest financial institutions have plummeted in the opening months of 2016 as piles of bad debt on their balance sheets become too high to ignore. Amid all of the risks facing EU members in 2016, the risk of contagion from Italy’s troubled banks poses the greatest threat to the world’s already burdened financial system.
At the core of the issue is the concerning level of Non-Performing Loans (NPL’s) on banks’ books, with estimates ranging from 17% to 21% of total lending. This amounts to approximately €200 billion of NPL’s, or 12% of Italy’s GDP. Moreover, in some cases, bad loans make up an alarming 30% of individual banks’ balance sheets.
Things have already gotten so bad that the European Central Bank is now monitoring liquidity levels at Monte dei Paschi and Carige on a daily basis. The following comes from Reuters…
The European Central Bank is checking liquidity levels at a number of Italian banks, including Banca Carige and Monte dei Paschi di Siena , on a daily basis, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.
Italian banking shares have fallen sharply since the start of the year amid market concerns about some 360 billion euros of bad loans on their books and weak capital levels.
The ECB has been putting pressure on several Italian banks to improve their capital position. The regulator can decide to monitor liquidity levels at any bank it supervises on a weekly or daily basis if it has any concern about deposits or funding.
A run on the big Italian banks has already begun. Italians have already been quietly pulling billions of euros out of the banking system, and if these banks continue to crumble this “stealth run” could quickly become a stampede.
And of course panic in Italy would quickly spread to other financially troubled members of the eurozone such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and France. Here is some additional analysis from Jeffrey Moore…
A deteriorating financial crisis in Italy could risk repercussions across the EU exponentially greater than those spurred by Greece. The ripple effects of market turmoil and the potential for dangerous precedents being set by EU authorities in panicked response to that turmoil, could ignite yet more latent financial vulnerabilities in fragile EU members such as Spain and Portugal.
Unfortunately, most Americans are completely blinded to what is going on in the rest of the world because stocks in the U.S. have had a really good run for the past couple of weeks. Headlines are declaring that the risk of a new recession “has passed” and that the crisis “is over”. Meanwhile, South America is plunging into a full-blown depression, the Italian banking system is melting down, global manufacturing numbers are the worst that we have seen since the last recession, and global trade is absolutely imploding.
Other than that, things are pretty good.
Seriously, it is absolutely critical that we don’t allow ourselves to be fooled by every little wave of momentum in the stock market.
It is a fact that sales and profits for U.S. corporations are declining. This is a trend that began all the way back in mid-2014 and that has accelerated during the early stages of 2016. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
Total US business sales – not just sales by S&P 500 companies but also sales by small caps and all other businesses, even those that are not publicly traded – peaked in July 2014 at $1.365 trillion, according to the Census Bureau. By December 2015, total business sales were down 4.6% from that peak. A bad 18 months for sales! They’re back where they’d first been in January 2013!
Sales by S&P 500 companies dropped 3.8% in 2015, according to FactSet, the worst year since the Financial Crisis.
I know that a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating a complete and total global economic collapse for a long time, and many of them just want to “get it over with”.
Well, the truth is that nobody should want to see what is coming. Personally, I rejoice for every extra day, week or month we are given. Every extra day is another day to prepare, and every extra day is another day to enjoy the extremely comfortable standard of living that our debt-fueled prosperity has produced for us.
Most Americans have absolutely no idea how spoiled we really are. Even just fifty years ago, life was so much harder in this country. If we had to go back and live the way that Americans did 100 or 150 years ago, there are very few of us that would be able to successfully do that.
So enjoy the remaining days of debt-fueled prosperity while you still can, because great change is coming, and it is going to be extremely bitter for most of the population.
We haven’t seen numbers like these since the last global recession. I recently wrote about how global trade is imploding all over the planet, and the same thing is true when it comes to manufacturing. We just learned that manufacturing in China has now been contracting for seven months in a row, and as you will see below, U.S. manufacturing is facing “its toughest period since the global financial crisis”. Yes, global stocks have bounced back a bit after experiencing dramatic declines during January and the first part of February, and this is something that investors are very happy about. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. All bear markets have their ups and downs, and this one will not be any different. Meanwhile, the cold, hard economic numbers that keep coming in are absolutely screaming that a new global recession is here.
Just consider what is happening in China. Manufacturing activity continues to implode, and factories are shedding jobs at the fastest pace since the last financial crisis…
Chinese manufacturing suffered a seventh straight month of contraction in February.
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 49.0 in February, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.4 and below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
A private survey also showed China’s factories shed jobs at the fastest rate in seven years in February, raising doubts about the government’s ability to reduce industry overcapacity this year without triggering a sharp jump in unemployment.
For years, the expansion of the Chinese economy has helped fuel global economic growth. But now things have shifted dramatically.
At this point, things are already so bad that the Chinese government is admitting that millions of workers are going to lose their jobs at state-controlled industries in China…
China’s premier told visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Monday his government is pressing ahead with painful reforms to shrink bloated coal and steel industries that are a drag on its slowing economy and ruled out devaluing its currency as a short-cut to boosting exports.
Premier Li Keqiang’s comments to Lew on Monday were in line with a joint declaration by financial officials from the Group of 20 biggest rich and developing economies who met over the weekend in Shanghai. They pledged to avoid devaluations to boost sagging trade and urged governments to speed up reforms to boost slowing global growth.
Across all state-controlled industries, as many as six million workers could be out of a job, with almost two million in the coal industry alone.
But it isn’t just China. Right now manufacturing activity is slowing down literally all over the planet, and this is exactly what we would expect to see if a new global recession had begun. The following chart and analysis come from Zero Hedge…
As the below table shows, 28 regions have reported so far. Seven saw improvements in their manufacturing sectors in February, twenty recorded a weakening, and India was unchanged. This means that over 70% of the world saw manufacturing sentiment deteriorate in February compared to January.
In terms of actual expansion, there were 21 countries in positive territory and 7 in negative. In particular, Greece moved from neutral to contraction territory, while Taiwan dropped below breakeven from expansion.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t really pay much attention to what is going on in the rest of the world. For most of us, what really matters is what is happening inside the good ole USA.
And of course the news is not good. There were more signs of trouble for U.S. manufacturing in the February numbers, and this continues a trend that stretches back well into last year. The following is what Chris Williamson, the chief economist at Markit, had to say about these numbers…
“The February data add to signs of distress in the US manufacturing economy. Production and order book growth continues to worsen, led by falling exports. Jobs are being added at a slower pace and output prices are dropping at a rate not seen since mid-2012.
“The deterioration in the manufacturing sector’s performance since mid-2014 has broadly tracked the dollar’s rise, which makes US goods more expensive in overseas markets and leads US consumers to favour cheaper imported goods.
“With other headwinds including the downturn in the oil sector, heightened uncertainty due to financial market volatility, global growth worries and growing concerns about the presidential election, it’s no surprise that the manufacturing sector is facing its toughest period since the global financial crisis.“
Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. economy has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities. We desperately need a manufacturing renaissance – not another manufacturing decline.
As good paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas, they have been replaced by low paying service jobs. As a result, the middle class is shrinking and the ranks of the poor are exploding.
And no matter what Obama may say, unemployment remains a major problem in the United States as well. At this point, unemployment rates in 36 states are higher than they were just before the last recession hit in 2008.
Of course a lot of people are going to look at this article and will point to the stock market gains of the past couple of weeks as evidence that “things are getting better”. It is this kind of clueless approach that is keeping the American people from coming together on solutions to our problems.
The truth is that the United States has been experiencing economic decline for decades. Our economic infrastructure has been gutted, the middle class is steadily deteriorating, and we have amassed the biggest pile of debt in the history of the world.
Anyone that believes that things are “just fine” is in a massive state of denial. Consuming far more wealth than we produce is not a formula for a sustainable economy, and it is just a matter of time before we find this out the hard way.