Trump Just Poked The Dragon In The Eye, And U.S.-China Relations Just Took An Ominous Turn For The Worse

After what President Trump just did, the odds of the U.S. and China being able to reach a trade agreement this year officially just went from slim to none.  For China, there is no issue more sensitive than the status of Taiwan.  For the Chinese, it is unthinkable for anyone to even suggest that Taiwan is not a part of China, and the Chinese are prepared to defend their “one China” policy to the death if necessary.  On the other hand, most Americans are entirely clueless about Taiwan.  In fact, if you gave them a blank map of the world the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t even be able to find Taiwan thanks to our exceedingly poor system of public education.  So for most Americans, a news story about how President Trump plans to sell 2 billion dollars worth of arms to Taiwan is completely and utterly meaningless.  But for the Chinese, such news is a deep national insult

The United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, in a move likely to anger China as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalates.

An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.

This arms sale barely made a blip in the U.S. news cycle, but over in China they are officially freaking out about this.  According to one report, this deal would send “over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles” to Taiwan…

The US, which is the main weapons dealer to Taiwan, would send over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles to the island. There was outrage in China, who said they were seriously concerned after Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed the sale. The move is believed to further heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington.

It comes days after Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe said: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs.”

You can do quite a bit of damage with 2,000 missiles.

Most Americans may not realize this, but the truth is that U.S.-China relations just took a really ominous turn for the worse.

And in addition to announcing this arms sale to Taiwan, President Trump also just threatened China with even more tariffs

DONALD Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300bn worth of goods today – as a Beijing propaganda campaign painted the US as evil bullies.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have soared sharply since talks aimed at ending a festering trade war broke down in early May.

But trust me, the announcement of the arms sale to Taiwan was far, far more insulting to China than the tariff threat was.

On the Chinese side, they have decided to hit the U.S. right in the farm belt by “putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold”

China is reportedly putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold amid the growing trade war with the U.S., according to a report from Bloomberg News. As the world’s largest soybean buyer, China’s move could ramp up the economic pressure on American farmers.

This has already been the worst year for U.S. farmers in decades, and this move by the Chinese is going to make things even worse.  For much more on this, please see an article that I posted earlier today entitled “U.S. Farms Are Facing Their Worst Crisis In A Generation – And Now Here Comes Another Monster Storm”.

Also, anti-American rhetoric in China has now reached a fever pitch.  According to CNN, the Chinese just issued an official alert warning Chinese travelers of “shooting, robbery and theft” in major U.S. cities…

On Tuesday, China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to the US in an alert, citing frequent recent cases of “shooting, robbery and theft.”

On the same day, the country’s Foreign Ministry — along with China’s embassy and consulates in the US — issued a security alert for Chinese citizens, alleging “repeated harassment” of Chinese nationals in the US by local law enforcement officials.

Of course the Chinese are correct when they warn about the violence in our cities.  For example, more than 50 people were shot in the city of Chicago last weekend alone.

In addition to the travel warnings, Chinese state media is doing all that it can to put the U.S. in a bad light.  In fact, one major Chinese paper just called the United States the “enemy of the world”

The new travel advice did not come in isolation.

China’s ruling Communist Party has launched a trade war propaganda campaign, with recent efforts — delivered via state media — focusing on US “trade bullying” and “hegemony.” In one noteworthy article, published Tuesday in party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, the US was labeled the “enemy of the world.”

Does it sound to you like the Chinese are ready to surrender and head back to the negotiating table?

No, the truth is that they are just getting angrier with every week that goes by.  Most Americans don’t even know that we fought against the Chinese during the latter stages of the Korean War, but right now over in China those old battles against “the evil American invaders” are being publicly celebrated

President Xi Jinping’s state media has even begun to refer to a very bloody battle between America and Chinese forces during the Korean War.

The 1952 battle of Triangle Hill – or Shangganling in Chinese – has been glorified in China for decades as a turning point in the war.

School children are told how the sacrifice of Chinese soldiers eventually led to the “defeat of the evil American invaders”.

At this point, most Americans may be vaguely aware that some sort of a trade war is going on, but over in China they are taking this deadly seriously.  And without a doubt, the stage is being set for a full-fledged global showdown between the two superpowers.

This is not a game, and if things go badly we could potentially be facing apocalyptic consequences.

So hopefully Trump knows what he is doing, because right now things appear to be starting to spiral out of control very rapidly.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: U.S. Employment Growth Just Plunged To The Lowest Level In 9 Years

If the U.S. economy was heading into a recession, we would expect to see a slowdown in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what is happening.  According to payroll processing firm ADP, the U.S. economy only added 27,000 new jobs in May, and that is way below the number that is needed just to keep up with population growth.  Of course some in the mainstream media are attempting to put a positive spin on this, but there really is no denying that this is a truly awful number.  In fact, we have not seen a number this bad in more than 9 years

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000.

9 years is a very long time, but this terrible employment number is perfectly consistent with all of the other horrible economic numbers that have been rolling in lately.

Time after time in recent weeks I have been using phrases such as “since the last recession” to describe what we are witnessing.  The U.S. economy has not been in such rough shape in nearly a decade, and things just keep getting worse.

So how did Wall Street respond to the latest employment news?

Actually, stock prices surged, because investors are super excited about the prospect that the Federal Reserve could soon lower interest rates

Stocks added to strong week-to-date performance on Wednesday as investors grew even more confident that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year to reignite an economy wounded by trade battles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.39 points to 25,539.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,826.15. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,575.48.

Pushing interest rates all the way to the floor certainly helped the stock market recover after the last recession, but this time around there is a major twist.

The U.S. is currently engaged in a major trade war with China, and the normal tools that the Fed utilizes may not be powerful enough to overcome the negative effects of such a conflict.

And to make things worse, now the U.S. is also starting a trade war with Mexico.  On Wednesday, President Trump made it clear that “not nearly enough” progress had been achieved during negotiations with Mexican officials…

President Donald Trump said “not nearly enough” progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the U.S. will follow through with tariffs next week.

So tariffs will be slapped on Mexican goods starting on Monday, and President Trump seems quite excited about this

“If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”

Of course the Mexicans will almost certainly retaliate, and both countries will start seeing higher prices and significant job losses.

In fact, one study has concluded that the U.S. economy could lose more than 400,000 jobs as a result of these tariffs on Mexico.  The following comes from CNN

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found.

The tariffs on Mexico, set to go in effect on Monday, would cost Texas alone more than 117,000 jobs, according to the analysis by The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. Texas is Mexico’s largest export market, making the two economies closely intertwined.

And the truth is that those numbers could actually be on the low side.

According to Marc Thiessen, a trade war with Mexico would literally put millions of U.S. jobs at risk…

Indeed, Mexican tariffs could be even more devastating for Americans than those imposed on China. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs could raise the average price of automobiles sold in the United States by $1,300. Indeed, U.S. and Mexican auto-supply chains are so deeply integrated that many parts cross the border multiple times before they end up in a finished vehicle — which means they would be hit by tariffs multiple times, compounding costs. Ten million U.S. workers’ jobs depend on this supply chain; tariffs would put those jobs at risk, including those of the “forgotten Americans” in the industrial Midwest whose jobs Trump vowed to protect.

We shall see what happens, but the outlook for the U.S. economy for the rest of this year is not good at all, and beyond that things look exceedingly grim.

Hopefully I am wrong, but it certainly appears that a major economic downturn is developing just in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention before I wrap up this article.  This week, a Russian news source reported that Russia and China “will sign an agreement” regarding the use of their own national currencies in bilateral trade with one another…

Russia and China will sign an agreement on possible payments in national currencies. A decree of the Russian government on signing of a relevant agreement with the Chinese side was released on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

According to the draft decree approved through that government document, “settlements and payments for goods, service and direct investments between economic entities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are made in accordance with the international practice and the legislation of the sides’ states with the use of foreign currency, the Russian currency (rubles) and the Chinese currency (yuan).”

In other words, they are dumping the dollar in favor of their own national currencies when trading with each other.  This is a direct threat to the international dominance of the U.S. dollar, and other countries have been discussing similar moves.

For decades, the U.S. dollar has essentially been a global currency.  More dollars are actually used outside of the United States than within this country, and most Americans don’t realize that.

This has given us some enormous advantages in the global marketplace, and it could be just a matter of time before those advantages begin to disappear.

Things that used to take months or years to happen are now happening in a matter of days.  The pace of change is really picking up, and right now the momentum of events is heading in a direction that is definitely not favorable to the United States.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

Economic Chaos Erupts! – Global Manufacturing Plunges, The Trade War Expands And The Nasdaq Enters Correction Territory

The global economic slowdown is really starting to accelerate.  Just within the past few days, we have gotten more really awful global manufacturing numbers, the trade war has expanded to more nations, and the Nasdaq has officially entered correction territory.  We have not witnessed this sort of global economic environment since the Great Recession, and if the economic chaos continues to escalate it won’t take too much to spark a brand new financial crisis.  Of course the global financial system is far more vulnerable than it was back in 2008, and so if we stay on the path that we are currently on we could be facing a nightmare scenario very rapidly.

Let’s talk about the manufacturing numbers first.  The numbers coming out of Germany are already at a crisis level, and manufacturing is also now contracting in Japan, South Korea and China as well.

Overall, global manufacturing as a whole has now fallen into contraction territory for the first time in seven years

Global manufacturing was the weakest since 2012 last month, a victim of mounting trade tensions and further reason to worry that the world economy is weakening.

With softness in Germany, Japan, the U.K. — as well as the lowest U.S. result in a decade — IHS Markit’s global Purchasing Managers Index fell to 49.8 in May, below the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction.

The reports underscore the growing threat posed by the escalating U.S.-China trade war, and they coincided with a fresh warning from Wall Street about recession risks.

The reason why so many people are freaking out about these numbers is because this is exactly what we would expect to see if we were entering a global recession.

Meanwhile, global financial markets are looking increasingly shaky.  On Monday, the Nasdaq fell another 120 points and it has now officially entered correction territory

Stocks ended mostly lower Monday, June’s first day of trading, amid reports that the U.S. government is planning to target a host of big tech companies with antitrust and business practice probes. Shares of Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Apple all weighed on the market during Monday’s session.

The Nasdaq dropped 1.6% to enter correction territory, closing more than 10% below its record high set in late April.

The term “correction territory” might not mean a lot to many of you, so let me put what is happening in terms you may understand.

On Monday alone, America’s most prominent tech stocks lost approximately 150 billion dollars in value.  It looks like the Trump administration is getting ready to go to war with the big tech companies, and that is really, really bad news for tech investors.  The following comes from Breitbart

The Masters of the Universe got hit hard by investors on Monday. Like $150 billion hard.

Shares of the top tech giants fell sharply on Monday after reports that U.S. antitrust regulators had divided up oversight of the sector, with the Department of Justice assuming responsibility for Alphabet and Apple and the Federal Trade Commission taking on Facebook and Amazon. This triggered fears that the government could mount challenges to the business models of the companies.

Shares of Alphabet dived 6.1 percent on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department is in the early stage of preparing an antitrust probe of the company. Reuters reported that the Department of Justice is also looking into Apple’s business for possible antitrust violations.

Speaking of war, our trade conflict with China continues to escalate.  The mainstream media hasn’t been talking much about it, but apparently the Chinese have decided to put purchases of U.S. soybeans “on hold” until a trade agreement is reached…

China, the world’s largest soybean buyer, has put purchases of American supplies on hold after the trade war between Washington and Beijing escalated, according to people familiar with the matter.

State-grain buyers haven’t received any further orders to continue with the so-called goodwill buying and don’t expect that to happen given the lack of agreement in trade negotiations, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

U.S. soybean farmers have been sitting on unprecedented amounts of soybeans in hopes that an end to the trade war would raise prices.

But instead, demand for U.S. soybeans is going to go through the floor, and this could potentially force thousands of soybean farmers into bankruptcy.

And in addition to our trade war with China, the Trump administration has apparently decided that now is a good time to start a trade war with Mexico

From produce to cars, a wide variety of Mexican goods could become more expensive if Trump follows through on his threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs that soon could climb to 25%. Trump wants to pressure Mexico into doing more to halt the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S. via the Mexican border.

The tariffs, set to begin June 10, would gradually climb to 25% on Oct. 1 if Mexico doesn’t take steps “to dramatically reduce or eliminate” the number of migrants, Trump said Thursday. Such a strategy would hurt American shoppers, the economy and stocks, experts say, just as U.S. growth is slowing and the threat of more tariffs on Chinese imports looms larger.

At least in this case the U.S. and Mexico are still talking, and so perhaps some kind of resolution can be reached.

On top of everything else, the Trump administration has also just decided to add India to the trade war as well

Mr. Trump on Friday said India would be removed from the U.S.’s privileged-trading program called the Generalized System of Preferences on Wednesday. Under the decadeslong program meant for some developing economies, the U.S. had allowed India to avoid tariffs on certain exports to the U.S. in the interest of promoting tighter trade ties and development.

India, the U.S.’s ninth-largest trading partner, is a top beneficiary of the GSP program. Mr. Trump’s move will add tariffs of as much as 7% on Indian exports of goods like chemicals, auto parts and tableware to the U.S., which in 2018 accounted for more than 11%, or $6.3 billion, of India’s total exports of goods valued at $54.4 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service, a research agency for the U.S. Congress.

A global trade war is going to be incredibly painful for everyone, and this is all happening at a time when the global economy was already starting to slow down substantially.

Here in the United States, a lot of businesses are really starting to notice a big decline in economic activity.  Here is just one example that was published on Zero Hedge earlier today…

Down here, in Texas, I am seeing a big drop in economic activity over the last 6 months. Our healthcare businesses’ volume over this period is at 629, down from 770, year-on-year, almost a 20% decline, and the worst six month decline in our 15 year history. We have been pulling out all of the stops for business development, cutting overhead, and running all the QC traps to determine if it is something within our business, within our local market, within our industry, or having to do with the economy in general.

In this period, we have seen seven competitors go out of business in our city. We have recently confirmed similar experiences with colleagues in Kentucky, Colorado, and elsewhere in Texas. One of them asked me, “If this is not temporary, what would the strategy be?” My response was, “Hunker in the bunker and wait for everyone else to die.”

This is what we have all been preparing for, and things are going to get progressively tougher in the months ahead.

Unfortunately, most Americans are completely and totally clueless about what is ahead.  Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and the truth is that the vast majority of us are entirely unprepared to go through another recession.

And of course many believe that what we are facing is going to be much worse than just a “recession”.  A perfect storm is rapidly coming together, and the chaos that we have seen so far is nothing compared to what is rapidly approaching.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

All Of The Economic Momentum Is Moving In Just One Direction Now

Earlier today, I was greeted by this jarring headline when I visited the Drudge Report: “BONDS FLASH RECESSION WARNING”.  These days, it seems like the “R word” is being thrown around constantly, but at this time last year everyone was celebrating how well the economy was doing.  Unfortunately, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in recent months, and we just got some more really bad economic numbers.  Thanks to those bad numbers and an increasing amount of anxiety about the trade war, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 237 points on Monday.  That means that we are on pace to potentially see the Dow fall for a sixth week in a row, and that is something that hasn’t happened since the last recession.

But right now investors are far more spooked about what is going on in the bond market.  According to Mish Shedlock, we haven’t seen this many yield curve inversions “since the start of the Great Recession”…

On Friday, US Treasury yields plunged at the mid to long end of the curve providing the most inversions since the start of the Great Recession. This is the biggest recession warning since 2007.

In so many ways, what we are witnessing at this moment is very reminiscent of the conditions that prevailed just prior to the last financial crisis.

Back then, the economic numbers were definitely starting to slide, but most Americans didn’t think that we were heading toward big trouble.  But those that understood what was happening were sounding the alarm, and the same thing is happening today.  For example, the following comes from a CNBC article entitled “Morgan Stanley says economy is on ‘recession watch’ as bond market flashes warning”

“Recent data points suggest US earnings and economic risk is greater than most investors may think,” wrote Michael Wilson, the firm’s chief U.S. equity strategist.

Specifically, the stock strategist highlighted a recent survey from financial data firm IHS Markit that showed manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low in May. That report also revealed a “notable slowdown” in the U.S. services sector, a key area for an American economy characterized by huge job gains in health care and business services.

In addition to disappointing manufacturing numbers, we also just learned that orders for capital goods were down significantly during the month of April…

The Commerce Department said on Friday orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 0.9% last month as demand weakened almost across the board. Data for March was revised down to show these so-called core capital goods orders rising 0.3% instead of increasing 1.0% as previously reported.

Also, we just found out that U.S. home price gains have now fallen for 12 months in a row.

When you add those numbers to all of the other depressing economic numbers that have been rolling in lately, a very clear picture emerges.

The U.S. economy is heading in the wrong direction, and things are steadily getting worse.

A resolution to our trade war with China would be a huge economic boost in the short-term, but that is not likely to happen for the foreseeable future.  In fact, on Monday President Trump stated that he is “not ready” to make a deal with China

Bank shares fell broadly amid the lower interest rates. Goldman Sachs dropped 1.8% while Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase fell 0.9% and 1.1%, respectively. Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo also slipped.

The drop in bank shares and rates come after President Donald Trump said on Monday the U.S. was “not ready” to make a deal with China, before adding he expected one in the future. Trump also said tariffs on Chinese imports could go up “substantially.”

And the Chinese are clearly digging in as well.  The chief editor of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, has a very close relationship with top Chinese officials, and he just warned that China “is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports” to the United States…

While the official at China’s national planning body did not directly answer whether Beijing would restrict rare earth exports to the United States, Global Times Editor-in-chief Hu Xijin wrote on Twitter: ‘Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the U.S. China may also take other countermeasures in the future.’

Although the tabloid Global Times is not one of China’s official media, it is widely read and is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Party newspaper.

Just a few days ago I published an entire article about the impact that such a move would have on the U.S. economy, and I won’t reproduce all of that information here.

But the bottom line is this – the U.S. economy would be in a massive amount of trouble if that happened.

A deteriorating relationship with China is part of the scenario that we have been anticipating, and events are definitely starting to accelerate now.

For most Americans, however, there is no reason to be concerned.  Most of us simply trust that our leaders in Washington have things under control and that everything will work out just fine somehow.

But if we do plunge into another deep economic crisis, many Americans will be in enormous trouble right away.  According to one recent survey, 45 percent of us rate our financial situations as either “fair” or “poor”

Nearly 30% of respondents rate their financial situation as “only fair” and 15% say it’s “poor.” Meanwhile, 25% worry “all” or “most” of the time that their household income won’t be enough to cover their expenses.

Their biggest concerns: Saving enough for retirement and unplanned medical costs, with 54% and 51%, respectively, saying they’re “very” or “moderately” worried about each prospect.

In addition, another recent survey discovered that 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

Just like last time around, most Americans are living on the edge financially.

And just like last time around, millions of Americans will be completely blind-sided by an economic train wreck that they didn’t see coming.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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. Stocks Have Now Fallen For 5 Weeks In A Row – That Is The Worst Stock Market Streak In Almost 8 Years

We haven’t seen stock prices slide like this in a long time, and if this keeps up we could soon be looking at an avalanche.  Our rapidly escalating trade war with China and more bad U.S. economic numbers pushed stocks down once again this week, and at this point the Dow Industrial Average has now fallen for five weeks in a row.  We haven’t seen a losing streak this long since June 2011, and it is yet another indication that we have reached a major turning point.  Some positive comments about China from President Trump on Friday helped to lift stocks a little, but it wasn’t enough to put stocks into the green for the week.  Of course the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both working on losing streaks as well.  According to CNBC, both of them have now declined for three weeks in a row…

But Friday’s gains were not enough to offset this week’s losses. The Dow dropped 0.7% this week to post its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest streak since 2011. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell a third straight week of losses, their longest slide since December 2018. The weekly losses come at a time when investors are growing more convinced that the trade war will take longer than expected to conclude and could hurt the economy.

Unfortunately, things are not likely to turn around any time soon.  As I discussed yesterday, there is not much optimism that a trade deal with China will happen any time in the foreseeable future, and that is going to continually weigh on the economy.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down significantly.  On Friday, a key survey of U.S. manufacturing activity plunged to the lowest level in more than 9 years

An IHS Markit “flash” survey of U.S. manufacturers fell to a nine-and-a-half-year low of 50.6 this month from 52.6 in April. Manufacturing conditions have been soft for months.

Even more ominous, was the firm’s survey of U.S. service-oriented companies such as banks and retailers. These slipped to a 39-month low of 50.8 from 52.7.

Lately you have heard me talk about a lot of things that haven’t happened in “8 years” or “9 years”.  In so many areas, we are seeing numbers that we have not seen since the last recession, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

And actually things are even worse for the retail industry than they were at any point during the last recession.  We are already on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and on Friday we learned that yet another retail chain is shutting down all of their stores

In another sign of traditional retailers’ struggles, Topshop plans to close all 11 of its US stores as its parent company seeks to restructure after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Arcadia Group, the London-based owner of fast-fashion chain Topshop Topman, said it was facing “unprecedented” market conditions in the retail sector.

Day after day we just continue to get more numbers that tell us that the U.S. economy is heading in the wrong direction.

And we received more confirmation of that fact when J.P. Morgan economists dramatically slashed their U.S. GDP forecast for the second quarter of this year…

J.P. Morgan economists said they now see much slower second-quarter growth of just 1%, down from their prior forecast of 2.25% and way off the 3.2% reported in the first quarter.

“The April durable goods report was bad, particularly the details relating to capital goods orders and shipments. Coming on the heels of last week’s crummy April retail sales report, it suggests second quarter activity growth is sharply downshifting from the first quarter pace, ” the economists wrote.

Meanwhile, more troubling economic news continues to come in from all over the globe.  We just learned that Mexico’s economy is officially shrinking, and the Chinese government was just forced to take over an insolvent bank for the first time ever

China’s financial regulators said on Friday the country’s banking and insurance regulator and the central bank, will take control of the small, troubled inner Mongolia-based Baoshang Bank due to the serious credit risks it poses. The regulator’s control of Baoshang will last for a year starting on Friday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said on their websites.

The stage is being set for the sort of global economic meltdown that we have been anticipating.  Of course if the U.S. and China were able to pull off a miracle and agree to a trade deal, that would be a tremendous boost to both the financial markets and the entire global economy.  But the only way that is going to happen is if one side or the other totally caves in.  The Chinese government has made a really big deal about the fact that they are not going to move from their current positions, and so the only way that a deal will happen at this point is if Donald Trump decides to wave a white flag and completely surrender to the Chinese.

What do you think the odds are of that happening?

But as the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate, the pressure on Trump to “do something” is going to be immense.

So we shall see what happens.  For now global financial markets are slowly sliding downhill, but eventually patience is going to run out and at that point we could see a mad dash for the exits.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

Stocks And Bonds Are Both Sending The Exact Same Message As Wall Street Braces For A Very Uncertain Future

Slowly but surely, Wall Street is starting to understand that the good times are over.  For months, most investors were absolutely convinced that the U.S. and China would be able to work out a trade deal because the alternative would simply be too painful for both sides.  But now trade talks are completely dead, and Wall Street is starting to come to grips with the reality that we really are facing a very long trade war.  Unless there is a major miracle, this trade war with China is likely to last until the presidential election in 2020, and if Trump wins it could go a lot longer than that.  And of course this comes at a time when the U.S. economy is already slowing down dramatically.  The economic optimism of the last couple of years is being replaced by a deep sense of gloom, and we are starting to see this reflected in the behavior of the markets.

For example, on Thursday we witnessed “dramatic” moves in the bond market as investors engaged in a rush to safety…

Investors rushed into the safety of bonds Thursday and dumped stocks, as it appeared the trade war could be prolonged and more painful for the world economy than expected.

The moves in the bond market were dramatic, with the 10-year Treasury yield dropping about 8 basis points in its biggest one-day move since April 1. At the same, traders in fed funds futures bet on the Fed making two quarter-point rate cuts by the middle of next year and possibly a third in the second half of 2020.

Meanwhile, stocks continued to fall as well, although some positive remarks from President Trump caused a bump late in the day…

Wall Street is coming to grips with the idea that the US-China trade war will get worse before it gets better.

The Dow dropped 286 points, or 1.1%, on Thursday on fears about the tariff battle slowing global growth and dinging corporate profits. The index recovered somewhat toward the end of the day — at one point it was down nearly 450 points.

Unfortunately, stocks and bonds are both telling us the exact same thing.

According to the head of short U.S. rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, U.S. financial markets are indicating that “we’re moving toward a worst case scenario, and that could persist for quite some time”

“The market is obviously telling you that it’s quite worried about some of the incoming data, including the PMIs this morning, the ongoing trade rhetoric and the move in risk assets,” said Mark Cabana, head of short U.S. rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Cabana said the market now believes a full blown trade war is coming, with taxes on all of China’s products.

“The concern the market has right now is that we’re moving toward a worst case scenario, and that could persist for quite some time. If that’s the case, then the market is believing the [weak] economic data, and the Fed will likely need to respond to that by trying to offset and prevent a recession,” he said.

Of course there is still enough hope in the marketplace to keep the floor from completely falling out from underneath investors, but at this point even CNBC’s Jim Cramer is admitting that “banking on hope” is not a good strategy…

“If you buy right now on anything other than a slammed, super-growth stock down on a general market pullback, well you’re banking on hope, and hope should never be a part of the equation,” the “Mad Money” host said.

From this point forward, we should start to see things escalate pretty quickly.

Relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate, and problems between the United States and China are going to expand well beyond the economic sphere.

But for the immediate future, most of the focus will be on the economic consequences of the trade war, and most of the “experts” are starting to openly admit that those consequences are going to be quite painful.  The following comes from CNN

“You can’t have the world’s two largest economies in a long, drawn-out mutually destructive trade war and not slow the global economy,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corporation.

Of course Hogan is 100 percent correct.  The trade war is going to hurt all of us economically, and very disturbing numbers are rolling in on a daily basis now.  For example, we just learned that new manufacturing orders just fell for the first time since the last recession

American business activity tumbled to a three-year low in May due in large part to concerns about tariffs, according to a report released on Thursday by IHS Markit. New manufacturing orders declined for the first time since August 2009.

And as I pointed out the other day, global exports have also fallen to the lowest level that we have seen since 2009.

Once the dominoes start falling, all of our economic and financial bubbles could start bursting at the same time, and that could potentially create a crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

My wife and I are both feeling a tremendous sense of urgency right now.  So many of the things that we have been waiting and watching for are starting to unfold.

Many believed that 2019 was going to represent a major turning point, and that appears to be exactly what is happening.

So hold on to your hats, because the remainder of this year is likely to be extremely “interesting”.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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.

Even Before The Recession Has Officially Begun, Some Large U.S. Firms Are Laying Off Thousands Of Workers

If the U.S. economy is “booming” and very bright days are ahead, then why are many large U.S. corporations laying off thousands of workers?  Layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now, and this is happening even though the coming recession has not even officially started yet.  Of course many are convinced that we are actually in a recession at this moment.  In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if the government was actually using honest numbers they would show that we have been in a recession for quite some time.  But the narrative that the mainstream media keeps feeding us is that the U.S. economy is “doing well” and that the outlook for the future is positive.  Well, if that is true then why are big companies laying off so many workers right now?

Let’s start by talking about Ford Motor Company.  On Monday, they announced that they will be laying off approximately 7,000 workers

Ford Motor said Monday that it is laying off about 7,000 managers and other salaried employees, about 10% of its white-collar workforce across the globe, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save the No. 2 automaker $600 million annually.

The cuts, some of which were previously announced by the company, will be completed by August, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in an email to employees Monday.

If the U.S. economy was about to take off like a rocket, this move doesn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are headed into a recession, this move makes perfect sense.

Another large firm that is laying off thousands of workers is Nestle

Nestle SA’s U.S. unit will dismiss about 4,000 workers as it stops delivering frozen pizza and ice cream directly to stores and transitions to a warehouse model that’s becoming an industry standard for Big Food companies looking to trim costs.

And we also recently learned that 3M is planning to get rid of about 2,000 workers

3M plans to cut 2,000 globally as part of a restructuring due to a slower-than-expected 2019.

The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics said Thursday that the move is expected to save about $225 million to $250 million a year. The St. Paul Minnesota-based company anticipates a pretax charge of about $150 million, or 20 cents per share, this year.

Did you catch that part about these layoffs being due to “a slower-than-expected 2019”?

Unfortunately, things are slow for a lot of companies out there these days.

Another company that is dumping a large number of workers is MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International MGM, -2.09% plans to cut about 1,000 positions by the end of the current quarter amid a cost-cutting and operational overhaul that calls for fewer managers across its properties.

That figure includes some 254 positions that the company moved to eliminate last week.

In addition, Dressbarn just announced that all of their stores will be closing

Dressbarn is closing all of its stores.

The women’s retailer announced Monday “plans to commence a wind-down of its retail operations, including the eventual closure of its approximately 650 stores.”

I am not sure how many employees they have per store, but even if it is just a handful we are talking about the loss of thousands of jobs.

The U.S. economy has been slowing down for months, and now the complete breakdown of trade talks with China threatens to plunge us into a prolonged trade war.  As I noted in another article, a couple of different studies have concluded that an extended trade war could literally cost our economy millions of lost jobs.

And once the job losses start rolling, they can really get out of hand very quickly.  We saw this in 2008, and it is just a matter of time until we see it happen again.

On Sunday, a reader sent me an article about a factory closing that was happening in her neck of the woods in Pennsylvania.  One worker that was laid off said that the closure of the facility “was the final kick in the gut”

Robert and Brooks Gronlund, owners of Wood-Mode Inc., wrote a text to workers Friday, saying they “are extremely appreciative” of the employees’ contributions and commitments. The company owners then confirmed all of them were terminated, as were their benefits.

“It was the final kick in the gut,” Michele Sanders, a 22-year employee of the company, said Saturday.

The privately-owned company in Kreamer, which produced custom wood cabinets, shut its doors Monday, leaving nearly 1,000 people without jobs. The abrupt closure of the plant stunned workers and community leaders.

So now almost 1,000 people do not have a way to support themselves and their families.

We are talking about hard working people with real hopes and real dreams.

Kreamer is a very small town.  According to Wikipedia, only 773 people live within the city limits, and so obviously there are not a lot of employment opportunities in the town.

And if those workers are anything like the rest of the U.S. population, most of them were probably living paycheck to paycheck.

I keep encouraging my readers to build an emergency fund, because you never know when you will be next on the employment chopping block.  I personally know a number of people that have just lost their jobs, and it can be an absolutely devastating experience.

Unfortunately, it looks like what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.  All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down, and so we should all get ready to potentially face a rapidly deteriorating economic environment during the second half of 2019.

Get Prepared NowAbout 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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