The characteristic feeling of the post-2008 world has been one of anxiety. Occasionally, that anxiety breaks out into fear as it did in the last two weeks when stock markets around the world swooned and middle class and wealthy investors had a sudden visitation from Pan, the god from whose name we get the word "panic." Pan's appearance is yet another reminder that the relative stability of the globe from the end of World War II right up until 2008 is over. We are in uncharted waters. The relentless, if zigzag, rise in financial markets for the past 150 years has been sustained by cheap fossil fuels and a benign climate. We cannot count on either from here on out...
"It's not necessarily out of control yet. But if they do not provide some stability pretty soon it will begin to affect not only the markets over there, but - as we saw today and somewhat last week - it affects markets all around the world. Financial Markets are correlated. We learned that back in 2008 When the fall of Lehman spread all around the globe."
The similarities between the current crisis and that which unfolded in 1997/98 were so readily apparent that many analysts began to draw comparisons and that may have added fuel to fire over the past week. Now, there seems to be a concerted effort to calm the market by explaining that while there are similarities, there are also differences. And while some of the world's imperiled EM economies may be in better shape to defend themselves this time around, when attempting to cope with a meltdown it may be more important to look at where things are similar and on that note, here’s some color from Morgan Stanley and BofAML.
"The US is digging itself in deeper and deeper,” warns Doug Casey, adding the telling question: “Then what’s going to happen?” President Obama’s grim warning of “deal or war” seems to provide an answer. Faced with economic implosion on an epic scale, the US may be counting on war as its other option.
Though transparency was a cause he championed when campaigning for the presidency, President Obama has largely avoided making certain defense costs known to the public. However, when it comes to military appropriations for government spy agencies, we know from Freedom of Information Act requests that the so-called “black budget” is an increasingly massive expenditure subsidized by American taxpayers.
We all know how sectarian, religious and political differences have thrown many Middle Eastern countries into chaos and armed conflict. But there is a deeper factor at play which deserves greater recognition: severe water scarcity.
Printing-press money is fertile ground for expanding world crisis. Crisis is excellent cover for national and international chicanery. How can anyone who is paying attention not recognize these tremors for what they are?
Things are getting downright scary in emerging markets as a "triple unwind" in credit, Chinese leverage, and loose US monetary policy wreaks havoc across the space. Between a prolonged slump in commodity prices and a structural shift towards weaker global trade, the situation could worsen materially going forward.
It turns out making money trading stocks is not "easier than farmwork" and, as China Daily reports, a stunning 24 million Chinese 'investors' have shuttered their trading accounts since the end of June. Unlike in the U.S., where institutions dominate stock trading, retail investors are king in China, owning around 80% of listed stocks’ tradable shares, according to investment bank CICC. With the number of small investors holding stocks in their accounts sliding to 51 million at the end of July from 75 million at the end of June, it appears some grandmas and farmers have learned their lesson (for now).
Low oil prices and the battle against Islamic State (IS) are pushing Iraq toward a financial crisis. Only fundamental reforms, especially decentralization of power, can resolve the challenges facing Iraq today.
We have lived through a credit hyper-expansion for the record books, with an unprecedented generation of excess claims to underlying real wealth. In doing so we have created the largest financial departure from reality in human history. Bubbles are not new – humanity has experienced them periodically going all the way back to antiquity – but the novel aspect of this one, apart from its scale, is its occurrence at a point when we have reached or are reaching so many limits on a global scale. The retrenchment we are about to experience as this bubble bursts is also set to be unprecedented, given that the scale of a bust is predictably proportionate to the scale of the excesses during the boom that precedes it. Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing, meaning the downward spiral will continue for many years. China is the biggest domino about to fall, and from a great height as well, threatening to flatten everything in its path on the way down. This is the beginning of a New World Disorder…
Global oil prices have returned to a state of flux. This is hardly news to any who follow the oil markets closely and yet prices continue to drive international headlines. While oil prices are notoriously difficult to predict, it has failed to deter the speculators. There are those warning that the latest dip is a precursor for $40 a barrel, a catastrophe for oil markets in some minds. On the other end of the spectrum are the optimists betting on a return to $100 by 2020. The World Bank has taken a typically middle-of-the-road approach, with forecasts of $57 a barrel in 2015. That said, given Iran’s potential revitalization, Russia’s murky outlook, and U.S. shale supply limits uncertain, prices will be responsive to supply and demand trends; at least in the short to medium term.
Now that the AIIB and the BRICS bank have officially launched and are expected to begin operations soon, it appears that not only will the yuan play a key role for both institutions, but in fact, the two development banks will collaborate on their lending activities.
Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia -- a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.