Why Does The Federal Reserve Keep Slamming The Panic Button Over And Over If Everything Is Okay?

What in the world is the Federal Reserve doing?  For months the Fed has been trying to publicly convince us that the U.S. economy is “strong”, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently unequivocally stated that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, but the Fed’s actions tell a completely different story.  If the U.S. economy really is performing well, any economics textbook will tell you that the Fed should not be reducing interest rates.  Interest rate cuts should be saved for times when the economy is in serious trouble, and using up all of your ammunition before a downturn has begun is simply foolish.  And the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the financial system is functioning normally, but meanwhile things are spinning so wildly out of control that they felt forced to announce overnight repurchase agreement operations for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We haven’t seen this sort of emergency intervention since the last financial crisis, but the Fed’s message to the general public is that “all is well”.

Unfortunately, the truth is that all is not well, and we continue to get more troubling economic news with each passing day.

In a desperate attempt to inject some vigor back into the U.S. economy, the Fed cut interest rates for the second month in a row on Wednesday

For the second time in two months, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday agreed to press down on the economy’s accelerator to keep the 10-year-old expansion chugging along.

A divided Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate by another quarter percentage point to a range of 1.75% to 2% in an effort to stave off a possible recession triggered by a global economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war with China.

Of course this wasn’t enough to please President Trump, and shortly after the rate cut was announced he posted the following on Twitter

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

Apparently Trump wanted an even larger rate cut with the promise of more rate cuts in the future, but if the U.S. economy really is in good shape we shouldn’t be having any rate cuts at all.  This was a panic move by the Fed, and they are going to find themselves very short on ammunition when things really start to get crazy.

And conducting overnight repurchase agreement operations for three days in a row also reeks of desperation.  If you are not familiar with the repo market, the following is how Yahoo News described the key role it plays for our financial system…

Financial institutions use money markets to borrow for very short periods, from one day to a year, a crucial function to keep the gears of the economy running.

In so-called repurchase or “repo” agreements, banks borrow by putting up assets like Treasury notes as collateral and then repay the loans with interest the following day.

In a fit of panic, the Fed injected $53,000,000,000 into the system on Tuesday and another $75,000,000,000 on Wednesday.

But it turns out that Wednesday’s injection wasn’t nearly large enough.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

20 minutes after today’s repo operation began, it concluded and there was some bad news in it: as we feared, yesterday’s take up of the Fed’s repo operation which peaked at $53.2 billion has expanded substantially, and according to the Fed, today there was a whopping $80.05BN in bids submitted, an increase of $27 billion, or 50% more than yesterday.

It also meant that since the operation – which is capped at $75BN – was oversubscribed by over $5BN, that there was one or more participants who did not get up to €5 billion in the critical liquidity they needed, and that the Fed will see a chorus of demands by everyone (because like with the discount window, nobody will dare to be singled out) to either expand the size of its operations, implement a fixed operation and/or – most likely as per the ICAP note yesterday –  transition to permanent open market operations, i.e. QE

And then we learned that the Fed had announced that they were going to inject another $75,000,000,000 on Thursday.

This is utter insanity, and to many it is clear evidence that the Fed is losing control

“This just doesn’t look good. You set your target. You’re the all-powerful Fed. You’re supposed to control it and you can’t on Fed day. It looks bad. This has been a tough run for Powell,” said Michael Schumacher, director, rate strategy, at Wells Fargo.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and many are deeply concerned about what will happen as liquidity demands reach a peak as we approach the end of the month.

As our financial system continues to become increasingly unstable, is this sort of Fed intervention going to become a regular thing?

Of course there are some analysts that are already projecting that a massive new round of quantitative easing is inevitable at this point, and there is a very good chance that they are right.

Meanwhile, the “real economy” continues to deteriorate as well, and one new survey has found that a majority of U.S. CFOs now expect our economy to tumble into a new recession by the end of next year

Chief financial officers in the United States have started to prepare themselves and their finances for a recession. For the first time in several years, economic uncertainty is now their lead concern, replacing worries about the difficulty of hiring and retaining talented workers.

According to CNN, 53 percent of chief financial officers expect the United States to enter a recession prior to the 2020 presidential election. That information was sourced from the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey released on Wednesday. And two-thirds predict a downturn by the end of next year.

Unfortunately, we may not have to wait that long, and according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if honest numbers were being used they would show that the U.S. economy is already in a recession right now.

For the moment, most Americans are still buying the narrative that everything is going to be just fine, but that will soon change.

The pace at which things are deteriorating is beginning to accelerate, and the Fed is going to have to hit the panic button many more times in the months ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Major Red Flag: The Fed Shocks Everyone With An Emergency Intervention In The Repo Market For The First Time Since 2008

For the very first time since the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has been forced to conduct an emergency intervention in the repo market.  I know that a lot of people out there don’t know what the repo market is or how it works, and so let me start out with a very basic analogy that may help people understand what we are facing.  It doesn’t really matter how shiny your toilet is – if the pipes underneath don’t work, you are in a whole lot of trouble.  The repo market plays a critical role in our financial system, because it allows our banks to rapidly borrow money to fund their short-term needs.  But this week interest rates in the repo market started to shoot up to frightening levels, and the Federal Reserve was forced to intervene for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008.  The following comes from Yahoo News

The New York Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday stepped into financial markets for the first time in more than a decade to keep interest rates in line with the Fed’s target.

Analysts say the operation appears to have been successful but it caused some jitters, coming as the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee opens a two-day meeting expected to produce a second cut in the benchmark lending rate.

This is essentially a form of “quantitative easing”, and many are concerned that this temporary intervention will not fix the larger problems that have resulted in this crisis.

And of course officials at the Fed probably never imagined that they would be intervening so soon, but they were compelled to make a move when interest rates started to spiral wildly out of control on Monday and Tuesday

The rate on overnight repurchase agreements hit 5% on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. That’s up from 2.29% late last week and well above the target range set in July by the Federal Reserve, which is 2% to 2.25%. The surge continued Tuesday, with the overnight rate hitting a high of 10% before the NY Fed stepped in.

An “overnight repo operation” was hastily put together as interest rates soared, and it ultimately resulted in 53 billion dollars being injected into our financial system…

On Tuesday morning, the NY Fed launched what’s called an “overnight repo operation,” during which the central bank attempts to ease pressure in markets by purchasing Treasurys and other securities. The goal is to pump money into the system to keep borrowing costs from creeping above the Fed’s target range .

The first attempt by the NY Fed was canceled because of “technical difficulties.” Minutes later, the NY Fed successfully injected $53 billion into the system.

And guess what?

The Fed has already announced that they are going to do it again on Wednesday, and this time the goal will be to inject approximately 75 billion dollars into the system.

If that sounds absurd to you, that is because it is absurd.

Sadly, the truth is that our financial system is starting to show signs of serious distress for the first time in more than a decade, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

But everyone agrees that the Fed being forced to intervene in the marketplace is not a good sign.  In fact, one industry veteran said that it “is without a doubt one of the worst things that can happen”…

If the plumbing doesn’t work, then it’s going to dramatically affect secondary trading of Treasuries. Which is the last thing they need when there’s massive issuance going on.

This is without a doubt one of the worst things that can happen. In many respects it overshadows the Fed moving tomorrow, because if the plumbing doesn’t work everything starts to break down. Everything is predicated upon your getting a reasonable funding rate. Otherwise why would you buy this paper to begin with. If you’re funding your overnight position at 6 why would you buy a 10-year at 2?

And now that the Fed has begun to intervene, when will they be able to stop?

Will they have to keep doing it for the rest of the week?

And what happens if interest rates begin to go wild again next week or next month?

In essence, Pandora’s Box has now been opened, and things could get really crazy moving forward.  According to Zero Hedge, if this currently repo operation is not sufficient to calm things down, the Fed could soon formally launch a new quantitative easing program…

While the Fed did not disclose how many banks participated in the operation, it is safe to say it was a sizable number. Worse, the result from today’s unexpected repo operation, we can now conclude that in addition to $1.3 trillion in ‘excess reserves’, a Fed which is now cutting rates and will cut rates by 25bps tomorrow, the US financial system somehow found itself with a liquidity shortfall of $53 billion that almost paralyzed the interbank funding market.

Oh, and for those wondering why the Fed did a repo, the answer is simple: it did not want to launch QE just yet. But make no mistake, once repo is insufficient, the Fed will have no choice but to escalate to the next step which is open market purchases.

Which brings us to the bigger question of how long such overnight repos will satisfy the market, and how long before the next repo rate spike prompts the Fed to do the inevitable, and restart QE.

Of course quantitative easing is something that should never be done unless we have a major crisis on our hands, and with each passing day it is becoming clearer that the global economy is headed for enormous trouble.  In fact, we just received some more alarming news about global manufacturing

The gloom of the world is centered around auto manufacturing, which is dragging on the global economy, fuelling fears that a worldwide trade recession has already begun.

The first domino to fall has been auto manufacturing, already hitting a near-record low in August, reported the Financial Times.

New data from IHS Markit global car industry purchasing managers’ index shows some of the sharpest declines across all sectors, not seen since 2009.

It is time to “batten down the hatches”, because rough weather is ahead.

Over and over again we keep seeing trouble signs that we haven’t seen since the last financial crisis, but most Americans still seem convinced that everything is going to be okay.

This move by the Fed is one of the biggest red flags yet, but I have a feeling that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Insists There Won’t Be A Recession When All The Evidence Suggests Otherwise

It’s happening again.  Just like last time around, the head of the Federal Reserve is telling us that there won’t be a recession even though all of the evidence suggests otherwise.  Just before the recession of 2008, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke told the country that “the Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession”, and shortly thereafter we plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  This time, it is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that is attempting to prop things up by making positive statements that are not backed up by reality.  Speaking to a group at the University of Zurich, Powell insisted that the Fed is “not at all” anticipating that there will be a recession…

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday that he doesn’t “at all” expect the U.S. to enter a recession, though he hinted the central bank will likely cut interest rates as expected this month.

“Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession,” Powell said in a panel discussion at the University of Zurich.

Meanwhile, things are literally falling apart all around us.  Just a few days ago, I put together a list of 28 data points that clearly indicate that a recession is imminent, and since then we have gotten even more bad news.

For instance, we just learned that Fred’s will be filing for bankruptcy and closing more than 500 stores

Discount merchandise retailer and pharmacy chain Fred’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday with plans to close all of its stores.

The company plans to liquidate its assets, punctuating a swift collapse of its operations that involved a cascading series of store closures in recent months.

At this point, U.S. retailers have announced the closing of more than 8,200 stores in 2019, and we are going to break the old record for store closings in a single year by so much that the term “retail apocalypse” just doesn’t seem sufficient to describe the scale of what we are witnessing any longer.

Many are blaming “the Internet” for this colossal wave of store closings, but is “the Internet” also responsible for the transportation recession that has already started?

According to Zero Hedge, on a year over year basis heavy-duty truck orders were down 69 percent in June and 80 percent in July…

According to ACT Research, heavy-duty truck orders from the four largest truck makers in North America (Daimler Trucks North America, Paccar, Volvo Trucks USA, and Navistar International) collapsed 80% in July YoY. Orders in June plunged 69% from a year earlier.

As heavy-duty truck orders collapse, suppliers, such as ones who produce transmissions have predicted that the outlook for sales this year will be horrible.

And as global trade continues to plummet, one of the biggest shipping companies in the entire world has “temporarily suspended” one of their main routes…

Growth in the world continues to collapse into late summer, so much so that Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) had to “temporarily suspend” their AE2/Swan Asia to North Europe loop until mid-November, removing 20,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) a week from trade, reported The Loadstar.

None of this would be happening if economic conditions were good.

So let’s stop with the nonsense.  Fed Chair Jerome Powell can deny reality all that he wants, but that isn’t going to change anything.

There are some people out there that are still finding solace in the fact that the official unemployment number in the U.S. is still so low.  At just “3.7 percent”, it is the lowest that it has supposedly been in decades, but most people don’t realize that it has also been highly manipulated.  It doesn’t include tens of millions of people that are working part-time for economic reasons, that are working temporary jobs or that are part of “the missing labor force”.

John Williams of shadowstats.com compares the official employment numbers to what they would look like if honest numbers were being used, and his figures tell an entirely different story.

According to Williams, the “real” rate of unemployment in the U.S. was hovering around 12 or 13 percent prior to the last recession, and then it shot up above 20 percent and has stayed there ever since.  In fact, the alternate unemployment rate on shadowstats.com is currently sitting at 21.2 percent.

So that would suggest that we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession.

But of course “3.7 percent” sounds so much better than “21.2 percent”, and millions of Americans have completely bought into the false narrative that unemployment has been steadily falling since the early days of the Obama administration.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when a lot of people don’t want to hear the truth, and “reality” is defined by whoever has the biggest spin machine.  Americans are more deeply divided than ever, and there is very little agreement on the direction that our country should go.  Meanwhile, economic conditions are deteriorating a little bit more with each passing day and it has become exceedingly clear that a new crisis is upon us.  And this new crisis has arrived at a time when our debt bubble is larger than it has ever been before.  In fact, one expert has calculated that our total debt burden is now “running close to 2,000% of GDP”

Total potential debt for the U.S. by one all-encompassing measure is running close to 2,000% of GDP, according to an analysis that suggests danger but also cautions against reading too much into the level.

AB Bernstein came up with the calculation — 1,832%, to be exact — by including not only traditional levels of public debt like bonds but also financial debt and all its complexities as well as future obligations for so-called entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and public pensions.

There is no way that this is going to end well.

The two major political parties will continue to relentlessly fight with one another, and it will mostly be about really silly stuff.  But as they fight, our nation is literally steamrolling into oblivion, and there appears to be very little hope of avoiding our fate at this point.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

When It Comes To The U.S. Economy, Everyone Wants To Pin The Credit Or The Blame On Donald Trump

No matter what happens with the U.S. economy, most of the credit or the blame is going to go to President Trump.  And now that the U.S. economy appears to be headed for big trouble, the mainstream media is salivating over what this could mean for Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  Within the past few days, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all run stories about Trump and the economy, and they are all perpetuating the false premise that presidents should be held accountable for how the economy performs.  As I have repeatedly reminded my readers, the truth is that U.S. presidents generally have relatively little control over the direction of the economy.  In our system, it is the central planners at the Federal Reserve that primarily direct our economy, and so most of the credit or the blame for our economic performance should go to them.  And the truth is that even President Trump realizes this.  He understands that the Federal Reserve has control over key economic tools that he does not, and that is one of the reasons why he is so frustrated right now.  The Fed is not running things the way that he would run them, and he realizes that this could severely hurt his chances of winning the next election.

During his first term, President Trump has not actually been able to do much to alter the overall trajectory of the economy.  Some pundits point to the tax cuts that he was able to pass, and certainly reducing corporate tax rates helped things a little bit in the short-term, but the overall impact of the tax bill was relatively negligible.  Ultimately, the moves that the Federal Reserve has been making have been far more important, and at this point Trump seems to be convinced that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others are intentionally trying to undermine him

He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”

Trade policy is one area where presidents do have more power than anyone else, and this is definitely where President Trump has had the biggest impact on the economy.  After claiming for months that a trade war would be “easy” to win, President Trump is now acknowledging that our trade war with China could potentially result in a recession

“I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’ The fact is, somebody had to take China on,” Trump said.

“Whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country, short term, it had to be done,” he said, repeating that “whether it’s good or bad, short term, is irrelevant.”

And to be honest, this is the argument that Trump should have been making all along.  A trade conflict with China is most definitely going to be very painful, but it is also very true that something had to be done about China.  They have been taking advantage of us and ripping us off for years, and when previous administrations decided to do nothing about China they were being exceedingly negligent.

However, there is a huge difference between recalibrating our relationship with China and antagonizing them so much that our relationship with the Chinese is completely destroyed.  At this point it appears that we are doing the latter, and that is going to have enormous implications in 2020 and beyond.

And if our trade war with China does push us into a recession, there are many on the left that would greatly rejoice.  The following comes from a Fox News editorial by Steve Hilton

It’s pretty obvious that these establishment Trump-hating hysterics — all of them, of course, living comfortable coastal lives — actually want a recession because they think that’s the best way to get rid of Trump. At least one of them is honest about it.

“I’ve been saying for about two years  — that I hope we have a recession, and people get mad at me,” said Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Unfortunately for Trump, most Americans will squarely blame him if a recession happens even if it wasn’t his fault.  When the U.S. economy was doing relatively well, Trump repeatedly took full credit for it, and that was a huge mistake.  Because if the economy is really struggling in 2020, he probably won’t be able to successfully shift the blame to someone else.  The mainstream media will hammer him over and over again with editorials about “the failure of Trumponomics”, and even though most of those editorials won’t make any sense, they will still have a huge impact on millions of Americans voters.

It is often said that “pride goeth before destruction”, and President Trump has repeatedly told us that this is the greatest economy ever and that he is responsible for it.  But of course this isn’t even close to the greatest economy ever.  The following comes from another Fox News editorial

The fact is Trump’s best economic growth is 3.5 percent in two quarters out of the 10 quarters he’s been in office, CNBC’s John Harwood reports, adding that same growth figure, 3.5 percent, is Obama’s seventh best quarter, George W. Bush’s eighth best, and Bill Clinton’s 17th best. Yet, Trump claims his economy is the best ever. Far from it.

When things were going relatively well, President Trump should have said that it was a team effort and he should have acknowledged that we still had an enormous amount of work to do.

And all along he should have been educating the American people about the fact that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the performance of the economy than he does.

But now it appears that we are facing a nightmare economic scenario, and everybody is going to blame him for the failure of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will once again escape accountability for running our economy into the ground, and that is extremely unfortunate.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“The Stock Market Started To Fall In July…”

Will we look back on the month of July as a critical turning point for the stock market?  During the first half of 2019, stock prices soared to record high after record high even though we just kept getting one number after another that indicated that a new economic slowdown was starting.  Because of the disappointing performance of the U.S. economy, it was believed that we would see a rate cut from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, and that is precisely what happened.  But instead of rejoicing, investors started to panic a bit, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 333 points.  We will get into why that happened in just a little bit.  But without a doubt it seems quite odd that the Fed’s very first rate cut since December 2008 actually caused stocks to go down.  On a historical basis, interest rates are already very low right now, and so this greatly limits what the Fed will be able to do once the next recession officially begins.  Of course most investors are not concerned with such considerations.  What they really want is for interest rates to be pushed all the way to the floor as quickly as possible, and so they were quite disappointed with what they heard from Fed Chairman Jay Powell on Wednesday.

But considering the fact that we haven’t seen a rate cut in more than a decade, the truth is that investors should have been thrilled by what happened.  When interest rates go down, that tends to promote more economic activity

As expected, the Fed lowered its federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point to a range of 2% to 2.25%. The move is likely to ripple through the economy and financial system, nudging down rates for credit cards, home equity lines and auto loans and theoretically sparking more economic activity. While the rate cut should aid borrowers, it will frustrate savers who were just starting to benefit from higher bank account yields.

And more economic activity usually results in higher corporate profits, and higher corporate profits usually result in higher stock prices.

So why isn’t Wall Street rejoicing?

Well, it is because Fed Chairman Jay Powell told the press that this rate cut was just “a mid-cycle adjustment to policy” and that he didn’t anticipate that this was “the beginning of a lengthy cutting cycle”.

Many on Wall Street had been anticipating that the Federal Reserve would keep on cutting rates after this rate cut, but as I detailed the other day, the only way that would make sense is if we were plunging into a recession.

And while the Fed is definitely willing to admit that there are some trouble signs, they are not willing to completely throw in the towel on the “booming economy” narrative just yet.  The following comes from CNBC

In approving the cut, the FOMC cited “implications of global developments for the economic outlook as well as muted inflation pressures.” The committee called the current state of growth “moderate” and the labor market “strong,” but decided to loosen policy anyway.

Needless to say, President Trump was not thrilled by what happened on Wednesday.  He was hoping that this would be the beginning of a series of rate cuts, because the lower interest rates go the better chance he has of being re-elected.

In a two part tweet on Wednesday, Trump once again ripped into Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve

What the Market wanted to hear from Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve was that this was the beginning of a lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle which would keep pace with China, The European Union and other countries around the world….

….As usual, Powell let us down, but at least he is ending quantitative tightening, which shouldn’t have started in the first place – no inflation. We are winning anyway, but I am certainly not getting much help from the Federal Reserve!

And it will be very interesting to see if investors on Wall Street continue to vent their frustrations for the rest of the week.

At other times when Wall Street has been disappointed by the Fed, we have seen violent moves toward the downside, and it is entirely possible that such a scenario could play out once again.

In fact, one Morgan Stanley analyst had already been warning that the coming reversal “is likely to be sharper and deeper than one might expect”

Echoing Guggenheim’s fears that US equities are in for a dramatic collapse, Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson warns that “…if equity markets fail one more time at our key resistance point, we believe the reversal is likely to be sharper and deeper than one might expect, even if the earnings recession is more benign than we expect.

And Egon von Greyerz is even more pessimistic about what is right around the corner…

The messages from the ECB and the Fed couldn’t be clearer. They are seeing major problems in the financial system and in the world economy and they will do whatever it takes to save the system. But they will fail.

The autumn of 2019 will see a major shift in sentiment as markets turn from a secular bull to a secular bear. We are likely to see major crashes in many global stock markets. Virtually no one is prepared for this so there will be both panic and despair.

Of course the truth is that we have never been more perfectly primed for a stock market crash than we are right now, and things are lining up ideally for the sort of nightmare scenario that I have been warning about.

It is just a matter of time before all of our economic and financial bubbles burst, and when they do the pain is going to be off the charts.  I think that the CEO of Overstock.com recently made this point very well

Patrick Byrne, the CEO of online retailer Overstock.com, sounded an ominous note for the several years ahead as well. “I think it will be bad,” he said. “To be honest, I think that ’08 was the hors d’oeuvres course,” he said according to Fortune. Byrne, a longtime cryptocurrency enthusiast, compared what he anticipates will happen to the economy to what might happen to a bridge overloaded with too many vehicles. “It’s a little bit like asking me there’s a bridge that was designed to hold 20 cars passing over it at a time and there’s now 100 going over it,” Byrne said. “When’s it going to break? When’s it going to collapse? That’s really your answer.”

“I’m kind of shocked it’s gone on this long,” Byrne continued. “I think that we have deep, deep, structural, architectonic level problems in our economy that will surface.”

As Byrne aptly pointed out, the big surprise is that it has taken this long for everything to collapse.

We had far, far more time than we deserved to try to get things turned around, but we never actually fixed any of our long-term economic and financial problems.

Now the next crisis is at our door, and I believe that the remainder of this year will turn out to be quite “interesting” indeed.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

If The Federal Reserve Cuts Interest Rates Now, It Will Be An Admission That A Recession Is Coming

So there is a lot of buzz that the Federal Reserve is about to cut interest rates – and it might actually happen.  We’ll see.  But if it does happen, it will directly contradict the carefully crafted narrative about the economy that the Federal Reserve has been perpetuating all this time.  Fed Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. economy is in great shape even when there has been a tremendous amount of evidence indicating otherwise.  And of course President Trump has been repeatedly telling us that this is “the greatest economy in the history of our country”, but now he is loudly calling for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates as well.  Something doesn’t seem to add up here.  If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, there is no way that the Fed should cut interest rates.  Right now interest rates are already low by historical standards, and theoretically it is during the “boom” times that interest rates should be normalized.  But if the U.S. economy is actually slowing down and heading into a recession, then a rate cut would make perfect sense.  And if that is the reality of what we are facing, then the economic optimists have been proven dead wrong, and people like me that have been warning of an economic slowdown have been proven right.

If the talking heads on television are correct, we’ll probably see a rate cut.  In fact, apparently there are some people that are even pushing “for a 50 basis point cut”

Most Fed watchers believe that the central bank will cut its funds rate, now hovering between 2.25% and 2.5%, by a quarter point, also known as 25 basis points. A small group — including President Donald Trump’s latest nominee for Fed governor — are pounding the table for a 50 basis point cut, which would take the rate below 2%. A rate cut of any size would be the first since the 2008 financial crisis.

A 50 basis point cut is something that would normally only be done during an economic emergency.

Have we already reached such a point?

That wouldn’t seem to be the case.  Stock prices are still at record highs, and at least according to the government’s highly manipulated figures, U.S. GDP is still growing

The nation’s gross domestic product – the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. – increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.1% in the April-June period, following a 3.1% gain in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists expected a 1.8% increase in output.

The report comes amid mounting worries that the sluggish global economy and President Trump’s trade war with China could lead to a recession by next year.

Yes, there are tons of other indicators that are clearly telling us that an economic slowdown has already begun, and I am not going to repeat everything that I have been saying for the past 6 months in this article.

But even though things are definitely moving in the wrong direction, I would definitely not call what we are currently experiencing “an economic emergency” just yet.

After all, things can’t be too bad if a 16-year-old kid just won 3 million dollars playing video games

A teenager from Pennsylvania won $3 million and took home the top prize at the 2019 Fortnite World Cup on Sunday. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf scored 26 more points than runner-up “psalm” to win the eSports tournament held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens.

“Words can’t even explain it. I’m just so happy,” the 16-year-old said in an interview posted to Twitter by organizers. “Everything I’ve done, the grind, it’s all paid off. It’s just insane.”

Good for that kid.  I wish that I was talented enough to be a world champion at something.

Unfortunately, when things get really bad in this country money is going to start getting really tight, and we simply are not there yet.

So could it be possible that there is another reason for the sudden push to get the Fed to reduce rates?

Well, CNBC’s Steve Liesman seems to think that there could be a political motivation

“Think about what happens when a person gets up at a rally and starts railing against The Federal Reserve, and starts to create what could lead to Congressional pressure on The Fed, then you could imagine that their could be support for a different system.”

“I think they think there’s a lot of political downside risk to getting this wrong.”

If the Federal Reserve doesn’t cut rates and the U.S. economy really starts going off the rails, they will be President Trump’s number one economic target during the 2020 campaign.

And it has already gotten to the point where Trump is regularly attacking them on social media.  For example, he posted the following just a little while ago

The Fed “raised” way too early and way too much. Their quantitative tightening was another big mistake. While our Country is doing very well, the potential wealth creation that was missed, especially when measured against our debt, is staggering.

If a wave of anti-Fed sentiment helps get Trump re-elected, that could potentially be a nightmare scenario for the folks over at the Federal Reserve.  With a full second term and a Republican majority in Congress, President Trump could decide to dramatically reform or completely get rid of the Federal Reserve system altogether.  Of course those that follow my work regularly know that I would be thrilled by this, because I have been advocating for the elimination of the Federal Reserve system for many years.

The sort of political scenario that I just outlined probably won’t happen, but even if there is a small chance that it could happen the people running the Federal Reserve have got to account for that possibility.

So cutting rates would be a way to “play it safe” by appeasing President Trump and his supporters.  If President Trump senses that the Fed is on his team, then he probably won’t be inclined to make a big move against them.

In any event, a small rate cut is definitely not going to do much to alter our overall economic trajectory.

Because the truth is that an economic slowdown has already begun, and many experts are anticipating that it will greatly accelerate during the second half of this year.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

U.S. Steel Plants Are Going Idle, But The Fed Continues To Perpetuate The Myth That Everything Is Just Fine

Even though there is a tremendous amount of evidence to the contrary, the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the nation that “the economy has performed relatively well” in 2019 and he insisted that “the baseline outlook is a good one.”  Of course he didn’t say anything about our collapsing manufacturing numbers, the worst global trade numbers since the last recession or the “bloodbath” in the U.S. trucking industry.  Powell did concede that “the risk of less favorable outcomes has risen”, but other than vague statements like that he really didn’t acknowledge our growing economic problems at all.  Considering the fact that Powell has more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else in the entire country, this should deeply concern all of us.  To me, Powell’s performance on Wednesday was quite reminiscent of the moment in 2008 when Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told us that the Federal Reserve was not “currently forecasting a recession” after a recession had already begun.

As I have been documenting for weeks, evidence that another major economic downturn has already started can be clearly seen all around us.

For example, we got some very alarming news from the steel industry on Wednesday.  When the Trump administration slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last year, that was supposed to greatly help the U.S. steel industry.  But instead, a dramatic drop in demand due to this new economic downturn is forcing steel companies to take dramatic measures.  According to CNN, U.S. Steel just announced that it will be shutting down a blast furnace in Gary, Indiana and another one that is located just outside of Detroit…

Pain has returned to the US steel industry despite the tariffs put on imported steel last year that were designed to help.

Late Tuesday US Steel announced it will idle two of the blast furnaces where it makes steel, one in its flagship mill in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, the other in Ecorse, Michigan, near Detroit. The idled furnaces will cut production by about 200,000 tons of steel or more a month, the company said.

“We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve,” said the company.

But when will market conditions improve?

In 2020?

After this new economic downturn is over?

Never?

Of course U.S. Steel is not the only steel producer that is hurting right now.  In fact, Nucor and Steel Dynamics have both cut profit forecasts

US Steel’s action follows similar warnings Monday from Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker, and Steel Dynamics. Both are now forecasting lower profits. Nucor pointed to weaker demand from the US auto industry.

Sadly, the truth is that major industry after major industry is deeply suffering at this moment…

-Our ongoing “retail apocalypse” is absolutely brutalizing the retail industry, and we are on pace to have the worst year for store closings in our entire history.

-Auto industry sales have been absolutely abysmal, and auto loan delinquencies have shot up to alarmingly high levels.

-The agriculture industry is going to have the worst year it has seen in at least several decades.

-Our 800 billion dollar trucking industry is already in the midst of a “bloodbath”.

-The real estate industry is poised for the worst downturn that we have seen since the subprime mortgage meltdown during the last financial crisis.

-The manufacturing industry has not seen numbers this bad since the last recession, and things are rapidly getting worse.

But yeah, let’s tell the American people that the economy is “booming” and see if they will buy it.

Really?

Let’s get real.  The U.S. economy is mired in the worst slump in a decade, and economic conditions continue to deteriorate rapidly.  The Federal Reserve could have given us a short-term boost by cutting interest rates on Wednesday, but they decided not to do that

A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.

The central bank predicts one or two rate cuts in its set of economic predictions, but not until 2020. Despite cautious wording in the post-meeting statement Wednesday, markets are still betting the Fed cuts, as soon as July.

Perhaps they want to save their very limited ammunition for when the recession officially starts, and I can understand that.

But this latest move by the Fed is definitely not going to please President Trump, and it will likely prompt more speculation that Trump would like to demote Powell

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

Trump needs the U.S. economy to be as strong as possible as he heads into an election year.

The stronger the U.S. economy is, the more likely it is that he will be re-elected.

And actually the Federal Reserve may be doing Trump a favor by trying to perpetuate the myth that everything is just fine.  Because if the Fed had cut rates on Wednesday, it would have essentially been an admission that a new recession is on our doorstep.  As John P. Hussman has aptly pointed out, almost every initial rate cut in history “has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession”…

With the exception of 1967 and 1996, every initial Fed rate cut has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession. Be careful what you wish for.

So for now, the Fed seems to have adopted a “fake it until you make it” approach, and sometimes that can work.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is going to work this time.  And meanwhile millions upon millions of Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they are not getting prepared for the exceedingly hard times that are coming.

One of my readers recently left a comment in which he stated that what we are facing “is not a drill”, and I believe that he is quite correct.

We haven’t seen economic conditions anything like this since the last recession, and the outlook is getting worse with each passing day.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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