The higher financial markets rise, the harder they fall. By any objective measurement, the stock market is currently well into bubble territory. Anyone should be able to see this – all you have to do is look at the charts. Sadly, most of us never seem to learn from history. Most of us want to believe that somehow “things are different this time”. Well, about the only thing that is different this time is that our economy is in far worse shape than it was just prior to the last major financial crisis. That means that we are more vulnerable and will almost certainly endure even more damage this time around. It would be one thing if stocks were soaring because the U.S. economy as a whole was doing extremely well. But we all know that isn’t true. Instead, what we have been experiencing is clearly artificial market behavior that has nothing to do with economic reality. In other words, we are dealing with an irrational financial bubble, and all irrational financial bubbles eventually burst. And as I wrote about yesterday, the way that stocks have moved so far this year is eerily reminiscent of the way that stocks moved in early 2008. The warning signs are there – if you are willing to look at them.
The first chart that I want to share with you today comes from Doug Short. It is a chart that shows that the ratio of corporate equities (stocks) to GDP is the second highest that it has been since 1950. The only other time it has been higher was just before the dotcom bubble burst…
Does that look like a bubble to you?
It sure looks like a bubble to me.
In order for the corporate equities to GDP ratio to get back to the mean (average) level, stock prices would have to fall nearly 50 percent.
If that happens, people will be calling it a crash, but in truth it would just be a return to normalcy.
This next chart comes from Phoenix Capital Research. The CAPE ratio (cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio) is considered to be an extremely accurate measure of the true value of stocks…
As I’ve noted before, the single best predictor of stock market performance is the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio or CAPE ratio.
Corporate earnings are heavily influenced by the business cycle. Typically the US experiences a boom and bust once every ten years or so. As such, companies will naturally have higher P/E’s at some points and lower P/E’s at other. This is based solely on the business cycle and nothing else.
CAPE adjusts for this by measuring the price of stocks against the average of ten years’ worth of earnings, adjusted for inflation. By doing this, it presents you with a clearer, more objective picture of a company’s ability to produce cash in any economic environment.
Based on a study completed Vanguard, CAPE was the single best metric for measuring future stock returns.
When the CAPE ratio is too high, that means that stocks are overpriced and are not a good value. And right now the CAPE ratio is the 3rd highest that it has been since 1890. That only times it has been higher than this were in 1929 (we all remember what happened then) and just before the dotcom bubble burst…
The funny thing is that stocks have continued to rise even as corporate revenues have begun to fall.
According to Wolf Richter, in the first quarter of 2015 corporate revenues are projected to decline at the fastest pace that we have seen since the depths of the last recession…
Week after week, corporations and analysts have been whittling down their estimates. By now, revenues of the S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 2.8% in Q1 from a year ago – the worst year-over-year decline since Q3 of crisis year 2009.
This next chart I want to share with you shows how the Nasdaq has performed over the past decade. Looking at this chart alone, you would think that the U.S. economy must have been absolutely roaring since the end of the last recession. But what is really going on is rampant speculation. Some of the tech companies that make up the Nasdaq are not making any profits at all and yet they are supposedly worth billions of dollars. If you cannot see a bubble in this chart, you need to get your vision checked…
And this kind of irrational euphoria is not just happening in the United States.
For example, Chinese stocks are up nearly 80 percent over the past nine months.
Meanwhile, the overall Chinese economy is growing at the slowest pace that we have seen in about 20 years.
Right now, we are in the calm before the storm. We are right at the door of the next great financial crisis, and most of the people that work in the industry know this.
And once in a while they let the cat out of the bag.
For example, consider what Hans-Jörg Vetter, the CEO of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in Germany, had to say during one recent press conference…
“Risk is no longer priced in,” he said. And these investors aren’t paid for the risks they’re taking. This applies to all asset classes, he said. The stock and the bond markets, he said, are now both seeing “the mother of all bubbles.”
This can’t go on forever. Or for very long. But he couldn’t see the future either and pin down a date, which is what everyone wants to know so that they can all get out in time. “I cannot tell you when it will rumble,” he said, “but eventually it will rumble again.”
By “again” he meant the sort of thing that had taken the bank down last time, the Financial Crisis. It had been triggered by horrendous risk-taking, where risks hadn’t been priced into all kinds of securities. When those securities – mortgage-backed securities, for example, that were hiding the inherent risks under a triple-A rating – blew up, banks toppled.
What Vetter is telling us is what I have been warning about for a long time.
Another great stock market crash is coming.
It is just a matter of time.
The stock market continues to flirt with new record highs, but the signs that we could be on the precipice of the next major financial crisis continue to mount. A couple of days ago, I discussed the fact that the U.S. dollar is experiencing a tremendous surge in value just like it did in the months prior to the financial crisis of 2008. And previously, I have detailed how the price of oil has collapsed, prices for industrial commodities are tanking and market behavior is becoming extremely choppy. All of these are things that we witnessed just before the last market crash as well. It is also important to note that orders for durable goods are declining and the Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level on record. So does all of this mean that the stock market is guaranteed to crash in 2015? No, of course not. But what we are looking for are probabilities. We are looking for patterns. There are multiple warning signs that have popped up repeatedly just prior to previous financial crashes, and many of those same warning signs are now appearing once again.
One of these warning signs that I have not discussed previously is the wholesale inventories to sales ratio. When economic activity starts to slow down, inventory tends to get backed up. And that is precisely what is happening right now. In fact, as Wolf Richter recently wrote about, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio has now hit a level that we have not seen since the last recession…
In December, the wholesale inventory/sales ratio reached 1.22, after rising consistently since July last year, when it was 1.17. It is now at the highest – and worst – level since September 2009, as the financial crisis was winding down:
Rising sales gives merchants the optimism to stock more. But because sales are rising in that rosy scenario, the inventory/sales ratio, depicting rising inventories and rising sales, would not suddenly jump. But in the current scenario, sales are not keeping up with inventory growth.
Another sign that I find extremely interesting is the behavior of the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasury notes. As Jeff Clark recently explained, we usually see a spike in the 10 year Treasury yield about the time the market is peaking before a crash…
The 10-year Treasury note yield bottomed on January 30 at 1.65%. Today, it’s at 2%. That’s a 35-basis-point spike – a jump of 21% – in less than two weeks.
And it’s the first sign of an impending stock market crash.
As I explained last September, the 10-year Treasury note yield has ALWAYS spiked higher prior to an important top in the stock market.
For example, the 10-year yield was just 4.5% in January 1999. One year later, it was 6.75% – a spike of 50%. The dot-com bubble popped two months later.
In 2007, rates bottomed in March at 4.5%. By July, they had risen to 5.5% – a 22% increase. The stock market peaked in September.
Let’s be clear… not every spike in Treasury rates leads to an important top in the stock market. But there has always been a sharp spike in rates a few months before the top.
Once again, just because something has happened in the past does not mean that it will happen in the future.
But the fact that so many red flags are appearing all at once has got to give any rational person reason for concern.
Yes, the Dow gained more than 100 points on Thursday. But on Thursday we also learned that retail sales dropped again in January. Overall, this has been the worst two month drop in retail sales since 2009…
Following last month’s narrative-crushing drop in retail sales, despite all that low interest rate low gas price stimulus, January was more of the same as hopeful expectations for a modest rebound were denied. Falling 0.8% (against a 0.9% drop in Dec), missing expectations of -0.4%, this is the worst back-to-back drop in retail sales since Oct 2009. Retail sales declined in 6 of the 13 categories.
And economic activity is rapidly slowing down on the other side of the planet as well.
For example, Chinese imports and exports both fell dramatically in January…
Chinese imports collapsed 19.9% YoY in January, missing expectations of a modest 3.2% drop by the most since Lehman. This is the biggest YoY drop since May 2009 and worst January since the peak of the financial crisis. Exports tumbled 3.3% YoY (missing expectations of 5.9% surge) for the worst January since 2009. Combined this led to a $60.03 billion trade surplus in January – the largest ever. But apart from these massive imbalances, everything is awesome in the global economy (oh apart from The Baltic Dry at record lows, Iron Ore near record lows, oil prices crashed, and the other engine of the world economy – USA USA USA – imploding).
In light of so much bad economic data, it boggles my mind that stocks have been doing so well.
But this is typical bubble behavior. Financial bubbles tend to be very irrational and they tend to go on a lot longer than most people think they will. When they do finally burst, the consequences are often quite horrifying.
It may not seem like it to most people, but we are right on track for a major financial catastrophe. It is playing out right in front of our eyes in textbook fashion. But it is going to take a little while to unfold.
Unfortunately, most people these days do not have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. Instead, we have been trained by the mainstream media to have the attention spans of toddlers. We bounce from one 48-hour news cycle to the next, eagerly looking forward to the next “scandal” that is going to break.
And when the next financial crash does strike, the mainstream media is going to talk about what a “surprise” it is. But for those that are watching the long-term trends, it is not going to be a surprise at all. We will have seen it coming a mile away.
The signs of the times are everywhere – all you have to do is open up your eyes and look at them. When a pregnant woman first goes into labor, the birth pangs are usually fairly moderate and are not that close together. But as the time for delivery approaches, they become much more frequent and much more intense. Economically, what we are experiencing right now are birth pangs of the coming Great Depression. As we get closer to the crisis that is looming on the horizon, they will become even more powerful. This week, we learned that the Baltic Dry Index has fallen to the lowest level that we have seen in 29 years. The Baltic Dry Index also crashed during the financial collapse of 2008, but right now it is already lower than it was at any point during the last financial crisis. In addition, “Dr. Copper” and other industrial commodities continue to plunge. This almost always happens before we enter an economic downturn. Meanwhile, as I mentioned the other day, orders for durable goods are declining. This is also a traditional indicator that a recession is approaching. The warning signs are there – we just have to be open to what they are telling us.
And of course there are so many more parallels between past economic downturns and what is happening right now.
For example, volatility has returned to the markets in a big way. On Tuesday the Dow was down about 300 points, on Wednesday it was down another couple hundred points, and then on Thursday it was up a couple hundred points.
This is precisely how markets behave just before they crash. When markets are calm, they tend to go up. When markets get really choppy and start behaving erratically, that tells us that a big move down is usually coming.
At the same time, almost every major global currency is imploding. For much more on this, see the amazing charts in this article.
In particular, I am greatly concerned about the collapse of the euro. The Swiss would not have decoupled their currency from the euro if it was healthy. And political events in Greece are certainly not going to help things either. Economic conditions across Europe just continue to get worse, and the future of the eurozone itself is very much in doubt at this point. And if the eurozone does break up, a European economic depression is almost virtually assured – at least in the short term.
And I haven’t even mentioned the oil crash yet.
There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil collapsed by more than 60 dollars, and that was just prior to the horrific financial crisis of 2008.
Since the last financial crisis, the oil industry has been a huge source for job growth in this country. The following is an excerpt from a recent CNN article…
The oil sector has added over a half million jobs — many of them high paying — since the recession ended in June 2009. That’s 13% of all US job growth over that period.
Now energy companies and related sectors are laying off thousands. Expect that trend to continue, bears say.
But losing good jobs is just the tip of the iceberg of this oil crisis.
At this point, the price of oil has already dropped to a catastrophically low level. The longer it stays at this level, the more damage that it is going to do. If the price of oil stays at this level for all of 2015, we are going to have a complete and total financial nightmare on our hands…
For the first time in 18 years, oil exporters are pulling liquidity out of world markets rather than putting money in. The world is now fast approaching a world reserve currency shift. If we see 8 to 12 months at these oil prices; U.S. shale industry will be wiped out. The effect on junk bonds will cascade to the rest of the stock market and U.S. economy.
…and this time there will be nothing left to catch the falling knife before it hits the American economy right in the heart. Not the FED nor the U.S. government can stop what’s coming. Liquidity will freeze up, our credit will be downgraded, the stock market will start to collapse, and then we can expect the FED to come in and hyper-inflate the dollar. This will cause the world to finish abandoning the world reserve currency in the last rungs of trade. This will be the end of the petrodollar.
Something that I have not discussed so far this year is the looming crisis in emerging market debt.
As economic problems spread around the world, a number of “emerging markets” are in danger of having their debt downgraded. And many investment funds have rules that prohibit them from holding any debt that is not “investment grade”. Therefore, we could potentially see some of these giant funds dumping massive amounts of emerging market debt if downgrades happen.
This is a really big deal. As a Business Insider article recently detailed, we could be talking about hundreds of billions of dollars…
Russia this week became the first of the major economies to lose its investment grade status from Standard & Poor’s, falling out off the top ratings category for credits deemed to have a low risk of default for the first time in a decade.
If Moody’s and Fitch follow, conservative investors barred from owning junk securities must sell their holdings. JPMorgan estimates this means they may ditch $6 billion in Russian government rouble and dollar debt.
Russia may have company. Almost $260 billion worth of sovereign and corporate bonds – nearly a tenth of outstanding emerging market (EM) debt – is in danger of being relegated to junk, according to David Spegel, head of emerging debt at BNP Paribas, who calls such credits “falling angels”.
And no article of this nature would be complete without mentioning derivatives.
I could not possibly overemphasize the danger that the 700 trillion dollar derivatives bubble poses to the global financial system.
As we enter the coming Great Depression, derivatives are going to play a starring role. Wall Street has been pumped full of funny money by global central banks, and our financial markets have been transformed into the greatest casino in the history of the world. When this house of cards comes crashing down, and it will, it is going to be a financial disaster unlike anything that the planet has ever seen.
And yes, global central banks are very much responsible for setting the stage for what we are about to experience.
I really like the way that David Stockman put it the other day…
The global financial system is literally booby-trapped with accidents waiting to happen owing to six consecutive years of massive money printing by nearly every central bank in the world.
Over that span, the collective balance sheet of the major central banks has soared by nearly $11 trillion, meaning that honest price discovery has been virtually destroyed. This massive “bid” for existing financial assets based on credit confected from thin air drove long-term bond yields to rock bottom levels not seen in 600 years since the Black Plague; and pinned money market costs at zero—-for 73 months running.
What is the consequence of this drastic financial repression along the entire yield curve? The answer is bond prices which keep rising regardless of credit risk, inflation or taxes; and rampant carry trade speculation that can’t get out of its own way because central banks have made the financial gamblers’ cost of goods—the “funding” cost of their trades—-essentially zero.
Of course I am not the only one warning that a new Great Depression is coming. For instance, just consider what British hedge fund manager Crispin Odey is saying…
British hedge fund manager Crispin Odey thinks we’ve entered an economic downturn that is “likely to be remembered in a hundred years,” and central banks won’t be able to stop it.
In his Odey Asset Management investor letter dated Dec. 31, Odey writes that the shorting opportunity “looks as great as it was in 07/09.”
“My point is that we used all our monetary firepower to avoid the first downturn in 2007-09,” he writes, “so we are really at a dangerous point to try to counter the effects of a slowing China, falling commodities and EM incomes, and the ultimate First World Effects. This is the heart of the message. If economic activity far from picks up, but falters, then there will be a painful round of debt default.”
Even though most average citizens are completely oblivious to what is happening, many among the elite are heeding the warning signs and are feverishly getting prepared. As Robert Johnson told a stunned audience at the World Economic Forum the other day, they are “buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand“. They can see the horrifying storm forming on the horizon and they are preparing to get out while the getting is good.
It can be very frustrating to write about economics, because things in the financial world can take an extended period of time to play out. Sadly, most people these days have extremely short attention spans. We live in a world of iPhones, iPads, YouTube videos, Facebook updates and 48 hour news cycles. People no longer are accustomed to thinking in long-term time frames, and if something does not happen right away we tend to get bored with it.
But the economic world is not like a game of “Angry Birds”. Rather, it is very much like a game of chess.
And unfortunately for us, checkmate is right around the corner.
If you believe that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction, you really need to read this article. As we look toward the second half of 2014, there are economic red flags all over the place. Industrial production is down. Home sales are way down. Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. U.S. household debt is up substantially, and in 20 percent of all U.S. families everyone is unemployed. In so many ways, what we are witnessing right now is so similar to what we experienced during the build up to the last great financial crisis. We are making so many of the very same mistakes that we made the last time, and yet our “leaders” seem completely oblivious to what is happening. But the warning signs are very clear. All you have to do is open your eyes and look at them. The following are 27 huge red flags for the U.S. economy…
#1 Despite endless assurances from the Obama administration that we are in an “economic recovery”, the number one concern for U.S. voters is “Unemployment/Jobs” according to a recent Gallup survey.
#2 Historically, sales for construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar have been a pretty good indicator of where the global economy is heading next. Unfortunately, sales were down 13 percent last month and have now experienced year over year declines for 17 months in a row.
#3 During the first quarter of 2014, profits at office supply giant Staples fell by 43.5 percent.
#4 Foot traffic at Wal-Mart stores fell by 1.4 percent during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts seem puzzled as to why Wal-Mart is “underperforming“. Perhaps it is because the U.S. middle class is being steadily destroyed and U.S. consumers are tapped out at this point.
#5 It is being projected that Sears will soon close hundreds more stores and will eventually go out of business altogether…
The company said this week that it may sell its 51% stake in Sears Canada, which operates nearly 20% of the company’s stores worldwide. It has quietly closed nearly 100 U.S. stores in the last year. Next week, it’s expected to announce dismal fiscal first quarter results and possibly yet more store closings.
“They have too many stores and they’re losing a lot of money, burning cash,” said John Kernan, an analyst with Cowen.
Kernan expects the company to close 500 of its 1,980 U.S. stores in a few years and, ultimately, to go out of business.
“The lights are going off at Sears and Kmart,” he said. “There are tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lots at Kmart. They’re basically completely irrelevant.”
The “retail apocalypse” just continues to roll on, but the mainstream media is treating this like it is not really a big deal.
#6 The labor force participation rate for Americans from the age of 25 to the age of 29 has fallen to an all-time record low.
#7 According to official government numbers, everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all American families.
#8 As families struggle to pay their bills, many of them are increasingly turning to debt in order to make ends meet. Earlier this month we learned that total U.S. household debt has increased for three quarters in a row. And as I noted in one recent article, total consumer credit in the United States has increased by 22 percent over the past three years, and 56 percent of all Americans have “subprime credit” at this point.
#9 Interest rates on student loans are scheduled to increase substantially on July 1st…
As of July 1, federal student loan rates will edge up. Rates overall will be up 0.8% compared to current rates.
Federal Stafford Loans for undergraduate students will be 4.66% — up from 3.86%. Federal Stafford Loans for graduate students will be 6.21% — up from 5.41%.
Federal Grad PLUS and Federal Parent PLUS Loans will be at 7.21% — up from 6.41%.
This is going to put even more pressure on the growing student loan debt bubble.
#10 U.S. industrial production fell by 0.6 percent in April. This should not be happening if the economy truly was “recovering”.
#11 Manufacturing job openings in the United States have declined for four months in a row.
#12 Existing home sales have fallen for seven of the last eight months and seem to be repeating a pattern that we witnessed back in 2007 prior to the last financial crash.
#13 In the real estate bubble market of Phoenix, sales in April were down 12 percent year over year, and active inventory was up 49 percent year over year. In other words, there are tons of homes on the market, but sales are going down.
#14 The homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.
#15 Trading revenue at big banks all over the western world is way down…
Late Friday, it was JPMorgan who said trading revenues will be down 20 percent this quarter. Now Barclays says trading revenues in the first three months were down 41 percent. The company cited “challenging trading conditions resulting in subdued client activity.” Like JPMorgan, Barclays also warned they were seeing no improvement in trading in the second quarter.
#16 Jan Loeys, JPMorgan’s head of global asset allocation, is warning that the Federal Reserve is creating a huge financial bubble which could “push us into a credit crisis“…
Where do we go from here? To this analyst, still very subdued economic growth, both at the US and global level, implies continued easy monetary policy. The risk is that bond yields rise no faster than the forwards. Financial overheating (asset inflation) proceeds much faster than economic overheating (CPI inflation). Before CPI inflation has a chance to emerge, and before monetary policy is truly above neutral, a financial bubble will have popped up somewhere and will have corrected, pushing the economy down. That is what has happened in the past 25 years. The behavior of central banks gives us no confidence that this time will be different: Central banks talk about financial instability, but appear to define this mostly in term of bank leverage. Each successive boom and bust is always in another place. A bubble can emerge without leverage. It is not possible to project exactly where this boom and bust cycle will take place as knowing where it will be would induce evasive actions that should prevent it from occurring. One possible ending, among many, is that ultra-easy rates having induced credit markets to grow much faster than equity markets, combines with reduced market making by banks (many of whom have become like brokers) to create a liquidity crisis when the Fed starts the first set of rate hikes. This could then be bad enough to close primary markets, and thus push us into a credit crisis.
#17 Peter Boockvar, the chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, is warning that the U.S. stock market could experience a 20 percent decline once quantitative easing completely ends.
#18 A lot of other big names are telling CNBC that they expect a significant stock market “correction” very soon as well…
A bevy of high-profile names have warned lately that the market is on the doorstep of a major move lower. From long-term market bulls such as Piper Jaffray to short-term traders such as Dennis Gartman, expectations are high that the major averages are poised for a big dip, with calls varying from 10 percent or so all the way up to 25 percent.
#19 The number of Americans enrolled in the Social Security disability program exceeds the entire population of the nation of Greece and has just hit another brand new record high.
#20 Poverty continues to grow all over the country, and right now there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.
#21 According to Pew Charitable Trusts, tax revenue in 26 U.S. states is still lower than it was back in 2008 even though tax rates have gone up in many areas since then.
#22 Barack Obama is doing his best to keep his promise to destroy the U.S. coal industry…
The EPA is about to impose a new regulation that will reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants starting June 2 and will become permanent in 2015. The new regulation, according to Politico, is the “most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation.” Because the new regulation will further cripple the coal industry, as coal-burning plants will be severely affected, American power will become more dependent on natural gas, solar and wind.
#23 Climatologists are now saying that the state of Texas is going through the worst period of drought that it has experienced in 500 years.
#24 It is being reported that “dozens of Texas communities” are less than 90 days away from being completely out of water.
#25 It is being projected that the drought in California will cost the agricultural industry 1.7 billion dollars and that approximately 14,500 agricultural workers will lose their jobs.
#26 Due in part to the drought, the price of meat rose at the fastest pace in more than 10 years last month.
#27 According to recent surveys, only about a quarter of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction.
Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and China? If you are like most Americans, you have not been. Most Americans don’t seem to really care too much about what is happening in the rest of the world, but they should. In major cities all over the globe right now, there is looting, violence, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks. We are not at a “global crisis” stage yet, but things are getting worse with each passing day. For a while, I have felt that 2014 would turn out to be a major “turning point” for the global economy, and so far that is exactly what it is turning out to be. The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown…
#1 The looting, violence and economic chaos that is happening in Argentina right now is a perfect example of what can happen when you print too much money…
For Dominga Kanaza, it wasn’t just the soaring inflation or the weeklong blackouts or even the looting that frayed her nerves.
It was all of them combined.
At one point last month, the 37-year-old shop owner refused to open the metal shutters protecting her corner grocery in downtown Buenos Aires more than a few inches — just enough to sell soda to passersby on a sweltering summer day.
#2 The value of the Argentine Peso is absolutely collapsing.
#3 Widespread shortages, looting and accelerating inflation are also causing huge problems in Venezuela…
Economic mismanagement in Venezuela has reached such a level that it risks inciting a violent popular reaction. Venezuela is experiencing declining export revenues, accelerating inflation and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods. At the same time, the Maduro administration has foreclosed peaceful options for Venezuelans to bring about a change in its current policies.
President Maduro, who came to power in a highly-contested election last April, has reacted to the economic crisis with interventionist and increasingly authoritarian measures. His recent orders to slash prices of goods sold in private businesses resulted in episodes of looting, which suggests a latent potential for violence. He has put the armed forces on the street to enforce his economic decrees, exposing them to popular discontent.
#4 In a stunning decision, the Venezuelan government has just announced that it has devalued the Bolivar by more than 40 percent.
#5 Brazilian stocks declined sharply on Thursday. There is a tremendous amount of concern that the economic meltdown that is happening in Argentina is going to spill over into Brazil.
#6 Ukraine is rapidly coming apart at the seams…
A tense ceasefire was announced in Kiev on the fifth day of violence, with radical protesters and riot police holding their position. Opposition leaders are negotiating with the government, but doubts remain that they will be able to stop the rioters.
#7 It appears that a bank run has begun in China…
As China’s CNR reports, depositors in some of Yancheng City’s largest farmers’ co-operative mutual fund societies (“banks”) have been unable to withdraw “hundreds of millions” in deposits in the last few weeks. “Everyone wants to borrow and no one wants to save,” warned one ‘salesperson’, “and loan repayments are difficult to recover.” There is “no money” and the doors are locked.
#8 Art Cashin of UBS is warning that credit markets in China “may be broken“. For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “The $23 Trillion Credit Bubble In China Is Starting To Collapse – Global Financial Crisis Next?”
#9 News that China’s manufacturing sector is contracting shook up financial markets on Thursday…
Wall Street was rattled by a key reading on China’s manufacturing which dropped below the key 50 level in January, according to HSBC. A reading below 50 on the HSBC flash manufacturing PMI suggests economic contraction.
#10 Japanese stocks experienced their biggest drop in 7 months on Thursday.
#11 The value of the Turkish Lira is absolutely collapsing.
#12 The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high.
#13 In Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.
#14 The unemployment rate in Spain is sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.
#15 This year, the Baltic Dry Index experienced the largest two week post-holiday decline that we have ever seen.
#16 Chipmaker Intel recently announced that it plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs over the coming year.
#17 CNBC is reporting that U.S. retailers just experienced “the worst holiday season since 2008“.
#18 A recent CNBC article stated that U.S. consumers should expect a “tsunami” of store closings in the retail industry…
Get ready for the next era in retail—one that will be characterized by far fewer shops and smaller stores.
On Tuesday, Sears said that it will shutter its flagship store in downtown Chicago in April. It’s the latest of about 300 store closures in the U.S. that Sears has made since 2010. The news follows announcements earlier this month of multiple store closings from major department stores J.C. Penney and Macy’s.
Further signs of cuts in the industry came Wednesday, when Target said that it will eliminate 475 jobs worldwide, including some at its Minnesota headquarters, and not fill 700 empty positions.
#19 The U.S. Congress is facing another deadline to raise the debt ceiling in February.
#20 The Dow fell by more than 170 points on Thursday. It is becoming increasingly likely that “the peak of the market” is now in the rear view mirror.
And I have not even mentioned the extreme drought that has caused the U.S. cattle herd to drop to a 61 year low or the nuclear radiation from Fukushima that is washing up on the west coast.
In light of everything above, is there anyone out there that still wants to claim that “everything is going to be okay” for the global economy?
Sadly, most Americans are not even aware of most of these things.
All over the country today, the number one news headline is about Justin Bieber. The mainstream media is absolutely obsessed with celebrity scandals, and so is a very large percentage of the U.S. population.
A great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and most people don’t even seem to notice the storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon.
In the end, perhaps we will get what we deserve as a nation.
The next great economic crisis is rapidly approaching, and most people are going to be totally blindsided by it. Even though the warning signs are glaringly obvious, most Americans continue to believe that our “leaders” know what they are doing and that everything will be just fine. But what will happen when the next great financial crash happens and trillions of dollars of “paper wealth” disappear into thin air? What will happen when the coming credit crunch causes economic activity to dramatically slow down and millions upon millions of people lose their jobs? This shouldn’t sound far-fetched to you. Remember, this is exactly the kind of thing that we saw back in 2008, and the next great financial crisis is likely going to be significantly worse. Our economy is in far worse shape than it was back in 2008, and government dependence is now at an all-time high even though most Americans are still enjoying debt-fueled false prosperity. We are living in the largest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and when it bursts we are going to experience a crippling “adjustment” to our standard of loving. Some people understand this and are busy preparing for what is ahead. It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States, and that number is growing all the time. Unfortunately, most Americans are not preparing for the coming economic depression and they are going to bitterly regret it.
So what does preparing for the coming economic depression look like?
Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Most of the things that you should do are just common sense.
But there are some people that take things to extremes. For example, a new National Geographic series is featuring a family that is actually constructing a “Doomsday Castle“. The former U.S. Army officer that is building this unusual home is trying to prepare for virtually every type of disaster that he can imagine…
Meet Brent Sr., the leader of the six-person family. Brent is a former Army Infantry Training Officer who is heading up the project to build an “EMP (electromagnetic pulse)-proof medieval castle in the woods of the Carolinas.”
According to National Geographic, Brent is teaching five of his 10 children survival skills.
The unfinished, fortified castle that Brent Sr. is building — an idea he got during the Y2K prep craze — will be able to sustain an EMP-event that could wipe out a power grid, but will also survive natural disasters like hurricanes.
He even plans to train his family members to use crossbows and a catapult to defend against potential home invaders.
Not many people out there are going to take “prepping” to such extremes.
But even if you don’t plan to build a “Doomsday Castle”, that doesn’t mean that you should be doing nothing.
Sadly, most Americans are quite ill-prepared for a major economic downturn at this point. In fact, most Americans seem to be doing almost nothing to prepare.
Just consider the following statistics. Most of these numbers come from one of my previous articles…
-According to a survey that was recently released, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
–46 percent of all Americans have less than $800 in savings.
–27 percent of all Americans do not have even a single penny saved up.
-Less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.
-Each year, 12 million Americans take out high interest payday loans.
-In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent. Today it is up to 154 percent.
-It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.
–44 percent of all Americans do not have first-aid kits in their homes.
–48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies stored up.
–53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.
–One survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time. Incredibly, 21 percent said that they would survive for less than a week, an additional 28 percent said that they would survive for less than two weeks, and nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.
Those numbers are absolutely appalling.
When the system fails, most people are going to be completely blindsided by it and millions upon millions of people are going to absolutely freak out.
Don’t let that happen to you.
So what are some basic things that you can do to get prepared for the great economic storm that is coming?
The following are a few of the things that Nicole Foss suggests…
1) Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)
2) Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control
3) Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance
4) Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)
5) Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it
6) Be prepared to work with others as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security
7) If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy
8) Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you
9) Look after your health!
I think all of those are great pieces of advice.
In addition, below I have posted some of the things that I personally recommend. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles entitled “25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse“…
#1 An Emergency Fund
Do you remember what happened when the financial system almost collapsed back in 2008? Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck, many of them also got behind on their mortgages and lost their homes. You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked for during this next major economic downturn. It is imperative that you have an emergency fund. It should be enough to cover all of your expenses for at least six months, but I would encourage you to have an emergency fund that is even larger than that.
#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket
If the wealth confiscation in Cyprus has taught us anything, it is that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket. If all of your money is in one single bank account, it would be easy to wipe out. But if you have your money scattered around a number of different places it will give you a little bit more security.
#3 Keep Some Cash At Home
This goes along with the previous point. While it is not wise to keep all of your money at home, you do want to keep some cash on hand. If there is an extended bank holiday or if a giant burst from the sun causes the ATM machines to go down, you want to be able to have enough cash to buy the things that your family needs. Just ask the people of Cyprus how crippling a bank holiday can be. One way to keep your cash secure at home is by storing it in a concealed safe.
#4 Get Out Of Debt
A lot of people seem to assume that an economic collapse would wipe out all debts, but that will probably not be the case. In fact, if you are in a tremendous amount of debt you will be very vulnerable if the economy collapses and you are not able to find a job. Just ask the people who were overextended and lost their jobs during the last recession. So please get out of debt. Many debt collectors are becoming increasingly ruthless. In many areas of the country they are now routinely putting debtors into prison. You do not want to be a slave to debt when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.
#5 Gold And Silver
In the long-term, the U.S. dollar is going to lose a tremendous amount of value and inflation is going to absolutely skyrocket. That is one reason why so many people are investing very heavily in gold, silver and other precious metals. All over the globe, the central banks of the world are recklessly printing money. Everyone knows that this is going to end very badly. In fact, there is already a push in more than a dozen U.S. states to allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender. Someday you will be glad that you invested in gold and silver now while their prices were still low.
#6 Reduce Your Expenses
A lot of people claim that they can’t put any money toward prepping, but the truth is that we all have room to reduce our expenses. We all spend money on things that we do not really need. Those that are “lean and mean” will tend to do much better during the times that are coming.
#7 Start A Side Business
If you do not have much money, a great way to increase your income is by starting a side business. And it does not take a lot of money – there are many side businesses that you can start for next to nothing. And starting a side business will allow you to become less dependent on your job. In this economic environment, a job could disappear at literally any time.
#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible
For many people, this is simply not possible. Many Americans are still completely and totally dependent on their jobs. But if you are able, now is a good time to move away from the big cities. When the next major economic downturn strikes, there will be rioting and a dramatic rise in crime in the major cities. If you are able to move to a more rural area you will probably be in much better shape.
#9 Store Food
Global food reserves have reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years. As the economy gets even worse and global weather patterns become even more unstable, the price of food will go much higher and global food supplies will become much tighter. In the long run, you will be glad for the money that you put into long-term food storage now.
#10 Learn To Grow Your Own Food
This is a skill that most Americans possessed in the past, but that most Americans today have forgotten. Growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system, and it is a way to get prepared for what is ahead.
#11 Nobody Can Survive Without Water
Without water, you would not even make it a few days in an emergency situation. It is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.
#12 Have A Plan For When The Grid Goes Down
What would you do if the grid went down and you suddenly did not have power for an extended period of time? Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be. You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.
#13 Have Blankets And Warm Clothing On Hand
This is more for emergency situations or for a complete meltdown of society. During any major crisis, blankets and warm clothing are in great demand. They also could potentially make great barter items.
#14 Store Personal Hygiene Supplies
A lot of preppers store up huge amounts of food, but they forget all about personal hygiene supplies. During a long crisis, these are items that you would greatly miss if you do not have them stored up. These types of supplies would also be great for barter.
#15 Store Medicine And Medical Supplies
You will also want to store up medical supplies and any medicine that you may need. In an emergency situation, you definitely would not want to be without bandages and a first-aid kit. Over the course of a long crisis, you do not want to run out of any medicines that are critical for your health.
#16 Stock Up On Vitamins
A lot of preppers do not think about this either, but it is very important. These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get adequate nutrition from the foods that we eat. That is why it is very important to have an adequate store of vitamins and other supplements.
#17 Make A List Of Other Supplies That You Will Need
During any crisis, there will be a lot of other things that you will need in addition to food and water. The following are just a few basic things that it would be wise to have on hand…
– an axe
– a can opener
– battery-powered radio
– extra batteries
– lighters or matches
– fire extinguisher
– sewing kit
This list could be much, much longer, but hopefully this will get you started.
#18 Don’t Forget The Special Needs Of Your Babies And Your Pets
Young children and pets have special needs. As you store supplies, don’t forget about the things that they will need as well.
This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time. Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.
In the years ahead, being able to defend your home and your family is going to become increasingly important. When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
#21 Get Your Ammunition While You Still Can
Your firearms will not do you much good if you do not have ammunition for them. Already there are widespread reports of huge ammunition shortages. The following is from a recent CNS News article…
“The run on ammunition has manufacturers scrambling to accommodate demand and reassure customers, as many new and seasoned gun owners stock up over fears of new firearms regulations at both the state and federal levels.”
Don’t just assume that you will always be able to purchase large amounts of ammunition whenever you want. Get it now while you still can.
#22 If You Have To Go…
Have a plan for what you and your family will do if you are forced to leave your home. If you do have to go, the following are some items that you will want to have on hand…
– a map of the area
– a compass
– backpacks for every member of the family
– sleeping bags
– warm clothing
– comfortable shoes or hiking boots
One of the most important assets in any crisis situation is community. If you have friends or neighbors that you can depend upon, that is invaluable. The time spent building those bonds now will pay off greatly during a major crisis.
#24 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible
Mike Tyson once said the following…
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
No plan ever unfolds perfectly. When your plan is disrupted, what will you do?
It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.
#25 Keep Your Prepping To Yourself
Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping. If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.
And please do not go on television and brag about your prepping to a national audience.
Prepping is something that you want to keep to yourself, unless you want hordes of desperate people banging on your door in the future.
For much more on prepping, I would encourage you to check out the dozens of excellent websites out there that teach people advanced prepping techniques for free.
So what do you think about all of this?
Are you getting prepared for the coming economic depression?
Please feel free to share your perspective on prepping by posting a comment below…
If our leaders could have recognized the signs ahead of time, do you think that they could have prevented the financial crisis of 2008? That is a very timely question, because so many of the warning signs that we saw just before and during the last financial crisis are popping up again. Many of the things that are happening right now in the stock market, the bond market, the real estate market and in the overall economic data are eerily similar to what we witnessed back in 2008 and 2009. It is almost as if we are being forced to watch some kind of a perverse replay of previous events, only this time our economy and our financial system are much weaker than they were the last time around. So will we be able to handle a financial crash as bad as we experienced back in 2008? What if it is even worse this time? Considering the fact that we have been through this kind of thing before, you would think that our leaders would be feverishly trying to keep it from happening again and the American people would be rapidly preparing to weather the coming storm. Sadly, none of that is happening. It is almost as if they cannot even see the disaster that is staring them right in the face. But without a doubt, disaster is coming. The following are 18 similarities between the last financial crisis and today…
#1 According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch equity strategy team, their big institutional clients are selling stock at a rate not seen “since 2008“.
#2 In 2008, stock prices had wildly diverged from where the economic fundamentals said that they should be. Now it has happened again.
#3 In early 2008, the average price of a gallon of gasoline rose substantially. It is starting to happen again. And remember, whenever the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. has risen above $3.80 during the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.
#4 New home prices just experienced their largest two month drop since Lehman Brothers collapsed.
#5 During the last financial crisis, the mortgage delinquency rate rose dramatically. It is starting to happen again.
#6 Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, there was a spike in the number of adjustable rate mortgages. It is happening again.
#7 Just before the last financial crisis, unemployment claims started skyrocketing. Well, initial claims for unemployment benefits are rising again. Once we hit the 400,000 level, we will officially be in the danger zone.
#8 Continuing claims for unemployment benefits just spiked to the highest level since early 2009.
#9 The yield on 10 year Treasuries is now up to 2.60 percent. We also saw the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries rise significantly during the first half of 2008.
#10 According to Zero Hedge, “whenever the annual change in core capex, also known as Non-Defense Capital Goods excluding Aircraft shipments goes negative, the US has traditionally entered a recession”. Guess what? It is rapidly heading toward negative territory again.
#11 Average hourly compensation in the United States experienced its largest drop since 2009 during the first quarter of 2013.
#12 In the month of June, spending at restaurants fell by the most that we have seen since February 2008.
#13 Just before the last financial crisis, corporate earnings were very disappointing. Now it is happening again.
#14 Margin debt spiked just before the dot.com bubble burst, it spiked just before the financial crash of 2008, and now it is spiking again.
#15 During 2008, the price of gold fell substantially. Now it is happening again.
#16 Global business confidence is now the lowest that it has been since the last recession.
#17 Back in 2008, the U.S. national debt was rapidly rising to unsustainable levels. We are in much, much worse shape today.
#18 Prior to the last financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured the American people that home prices would not decline and that there would not be a recession. We all know what happened. Now he is once again promising that everything is going to be just fine.
Are the American people going to fall for it again?
It doesn’t take a genius to see how vulnerable the global economy is right now. Much of Europe is already experiencing an economic depression, debt levels in Asia are higher than ever before, and the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for most of the past decade. If you doubt that the U.S. economy has been declining, please see my previous article entitled “40 Stats That Prove The U.S. Economy Has Already Been Collapsing Over The Past Decade“.
And the truth is that most Americans already know that we are in deep trouble. Today, 61 percent of all Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track.
It isn’t that so many people are choosing to be pessimistic. It is just that an increasing number of Americans are waking up to the cold, hard reality that we are facing.
Decades of incredibly foolish decisions have brought us to this point. We allowed our economic infrastructure to be gutted, we consumed far more wealth than we produced, our politicians kept doing incredibly stupid things but we kept voting the same jokers back into office again and again, and over the past 40 years we have blown up the biggest debt bubble in all of human history.
We have been living so far above our means for so long that most of us actually think that our current economic situation is “normal”.
But no, there is nothing normal about what we are experiencing. We are entering the terminal phase of a colossal debt spiral, and when it flames out the economic devastation is going to be absolutely spectacular.
When the next major wave of the economic collapse comes and unemployment soars well up into the double digits, millions of businesses close and millions of American families lose their homes, I hope that those that are assuring all of us that there will not be an economic collapse will come back and apologize.
There are tens of millions of people out there right now that are not making any preparations at all because they have been promised that everything is going to be okay. When the next financial crash happens, most of them will be absolutely blindsided by it and many of them will totally give in to despair.
Don’t let that happen to you.