Are we rapidly approaching a moment of reckoning for the global financial system? August is likely to be a relatively slow month as most of Europe is on vacation, but after that we will be moving into a “danger zone” where just about anything could happen. Historically, a financial crisis has been more likely to happen in the fall than during any other time, and this fall is shaping up to be a doozy. Much of the focus of the financial world is on whether or not the euro is going to break up, but even if the authorities in Europe are able to keep the euro together we are still facing massive problems. Countries such as Greece and Spain are already experiencing depression-like conditions, and much of the rest of the globe is sliding into recession. Unemployment has already risen to record levels in some parts of Europe, major banks all over Europe are teetering on the brink of insolvency, and the flow of credit is freezing up all over the planet. If things take a really bad turn, this crisis could become much worse than the financial crisis of 2008 very quickly.
All over the world people are starting to write about the possibility of a major economic crisis starting this fall.
For example, a recent article in the International Business Times discussed how some economists around the globe are fearing the worst for the coming months….
The consensus? The world economy has entered a final countdown with three months left, and investors should pencil in a collapse in either August or September.
Citing a theory he has been espousing since 2010 that predicts “a future lack of policy flexibility from the monetary and fiscal side,” Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote a note Tuesday that gloated “it feels like Europe has proved us right.”
“The U.S. has the ability to disprove the universal nature of our theory,” Reid wrote, but “if this U.S. cycle is of completely average length as seen using the last 158 years of history (33 cycles), then the next recession should start by the end of August.”
The global financial system is so complex and there are so many thousands of moving parts that it is always difficult to put an exact date on anything. In fact, history is littered with economists that have ended up looking rather foolish by putting a particular date on a prediction.
But without a doubt we are starting to see storm clouds gather for this fall.
The following are 11 more signs that time is quickly running out for the global financial system….
#1 A number of very important events regarding the financial future of Europe are going to happen in the month of September. The following is from a recent Reuters article that detailed many of the key things that are currently slated to occur during that month….
In that month a German court makes a ruling that could neuter the new euro zone rescue fund, the anti-bailout Dutch vote in elections just as Greece tries to renegotiate its financial lifeline, and decisions need to be made on whether taxpayers suffer huge losses on state loans to Athens.
On top of that, the euro zone has to figure out how to help its next wobbling dominoes, Spain and Italy – or what do if one or both were to topple.
#2 Reuters is reporting that Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos has suggested that Spain may need a 300 billion euro bailout.
#3 Spain continues to slide deeper into recession. The Spanish economy contracted 0.4 percent during the second quarter of 2012 after contracting 0.3 percent during the first quarter.
#4 The unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 24.6 percent.
#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, a new 30 billion euro hole has been discovered in the financial rescue plan for Greece.
#6 Morgan Stanley is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will exceed 25 percent in 2013.
#7 It is now being projected that the Greek economy will shrink by a total of 7 percent during 2012.
#8 German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble says that the rest of Europe will not be making any more concessions for Greece.
#9 The UK economy has now plunged into a deep recession. During the second quarter of 2012 alone, the UK economy contracted by 0.7 percent.
#10 The Dallas Fed index of general business activity fell dramatically to -13.2 in July. This was a huge surprise and it is yet another indication that the U.S. economy is rapidly heading into a recession.
#11 As I have written about previously, a banking crisis is more likely to happen in the fall than at any other time during the year. The global financial system will enter a “danger zone” starting in September, and none of us need to be reminded that the crashes of 1929, 1987 and 2008 all happened during the second half of the year.
So is there any hope on the horizon?
European leaders have tried short-term solution after short-term solution and none of them have worked.
Now countries all over Europe are sliding into depression and the authorities in Europe seem to be all out of answers. The following is what one eurozone diplomat said recently….
“For two years we’ve been pumping up the life raft, taking decisions that fill it with just enough air to keep it afloat even though it has a leak,” the diplomat said. “But now the leak has got so big that we can’t pump air into the raft quickly enough to keep it afloat.”
The boat is filling up with water faster than they can bail it out.
So what is the solution?
Well, some of the top names in economics on both sides of the Atlantic are urging authorities to keep the debt bubble pumped up by printing lots and lots more money.
For example, even though the U.S. government is already running trillion dollar deficits New York Times “economist” Paul Krugman is boldly proclaiming that now is the time to print and borrow even more money. He is proud to be a Keynesian, and he says that “you should be a Keynesian, too.”
Across the pond, the International Business Editor of the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is strongly urging the ECB to print more money….
Needless to say, I will be advocating 1933 monetary stimulus à l’outrance, or trillions of asset purchases through old fashioned open-market operations through the quantity of money effect (NOT INTEREST RATE ‘CREDITISM’) to avert deflation – and continue doing so until nominal GDP is restored to its trend line, at which point the stimulus can be withdrawn again.
But is more money and more debt really the solution to anything?
In the United States, M2 recent surpassed the 10 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever. It has increased in size by more than 5 times over the past 30 years.
Unfortunately, our debt has been growing much faster than GDP has over that time period.
For example, during the second quarter of 2012 U.S. government debt grew by 274.3 billion dollars but U.S. GDP only grew by 117.6 billion dollars.
Our problem is not that there is not enough money floating around.
Our problem is that there is way, way too much debt.
But this is how things always go with fiat currencies.
There is always the temptation to print more.
That is one of the big reasons why every single fiat currency in history has eventually collapsed.
Printing more money will not solve our problems. It will just cause our problems to take a different form.
In the end, nothing that the authorities can do will be able to avert the crisis that is coming.
A lot of people are starting to realize this, and that is one reason why we are seeing so much economic pessimism right now.
For example, according to a new Rasmussen poll only 14 percent of all Americans believe that children in America today will be “better off” than their parents.
That is an absolutely stunning figure, but it just shows us where we are at.
Our economy has been in decline for a long time, and now we are rapidly approaching another major downturn.
You better buckle up, because this downturn is not going to be pleasant at all.