January 31, 2016
As global markets head into what will surely be another wild trading week, today the man who has become legendary for his predictions on QE, historic moves in currencies, and major global events, warned that the governments of the world are now preparing for total collapse.
Egon von Greyerz: “Eric, 25% of government bonds are now negative around the world. On Friday morning Bank of Japan was the latest country to introduce negative rates. There are now 13 countries with yields up to 2 years being negative and 10 countries with negative yields up to 10 years. I have been saying for a very long time that Japan is bankrupt and negative rates will of course not save their economy…
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Egon von Greyerz continues: “It will just discourage savings and therefore investments. The main effect will be to lower the yen in the global race for all currencies to reach zero. So this move by Japan was yet another confirmation that the worldwide currency debasement race combined with massive money printing will create hyperinflation.
I said at the time of the Fed rate increase that it will only be a matter of time before rates in the US go negative. Markets are global and it is ludicrous to believe that the US can go in the opposite direction to the rest of the world. Short term we knew of course that the Fed had to continue their face saving strategy. Although economic conditions are deteriorating rapidly in the USA and the rest of the world, the Fed had to close their eyes to what is really happening in order to maintain a smidgen of confidence with the investment community. But as we know, their eyes are closed because they certainly are not seeing what is happening right in front of them.
In their statement, the Fed said that labor market conditions are improving further. The Fed clearly has rose tinted glasses. The only new jobs are for the over 55s and for part time and service jobs. The real median income for a family has been going down for decades and the labor participation rate has declined for 10 years, with 95 million people capable of working being out of a job. I find it very difficult to understand how anyone can call that an improving labor market. It seems that the Fed statement is more and more based on hope rather than real facts.
A Triple Threat To The United States
But the real dilemma in the US is of course the subprime problems that are now developing in student loans as well as in car loans and fracking loans. Add these three sectors together and we are already looking at several hundred billions of dollars of potential defaults. Before this credit cycle is over that will rise to trillions of dollars of real defaults, including derivatives in these markets.
I would have thought that by the time of the next one or two Fed meetings, there will be some extraneous event that will give the Fed the excuse not to increase rates but instead actually lower them. And that will soon be followed by full-blown money printing on a global scale. Central banks have no other tools left in their armory to avoid a total collapse of the financial system. The dilemma they have is of course that you don’t solve a $230 trillion debt problem and a $1.5 quadrillion derivatives bubble by producing more of the same that caused the problem in the first place. Instead, the inevitable outcome of their attempted rescue will be currencies going to zero and inflation to infinity.
Talking about debt, Eric, are you aware that US federal debt has already increased by $800 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year. If you annualized that, the US would have a $2.5 trillion budget deficit in 2015-16. But that will of course not be the result this year and even if it was, the figures would be manipulated. Eventually budget deficits will go exponential as the government printing presses start glowing.
The world is now in a very serious crisis and problems are flaring up everywhere. The geopolitical situation is deteriorating by the day. Libya is a sad example how the Allies are totally lost in their efforts to “save” the world. First Libya is totally destroyed by the Allies creating complete anarchy and a dangerous geopolitical zone. Now the Allies are discussing intervening in Libya again to stop Isis getting hold of the Libyan oil. Isis is already in control of some of the Iraqi oil. Sadly, there is no solution to the Middle East crisis where many regions including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran all capable of leading to a major global conflict.
Oil is of course the major reason for the Middle East problems. But oil is also creating crises in many major Emerging Markets. The Brazilian wonder has come to an abrupt end with GDP down 4% last year and expected to shrink by at least the same amount in the current year. With commodities being 50% of Brazilian exports, the country is suffering badly from the collapse in commodity prices. And the Real has lost 40% in the last two years leading to escalating inflation and likely hyperinflation in the not too distant future.
Many other oil dependent nations are in the same conundrum. Azerbaijan is now in a crisis. This country relies on oil and gas for 95% of government revenue and 40% of GDP. Late December they abandoned the dollar peg causing a fall of their currency by over one third. On the black market the currency is worth half of the official rate. They have also introduced exchange controls as well as a 20% tax on exporting currency. Reserves plunged by 2/3 last year and are now only $5 billion. At that rate they will have run out of reserves during 2016.
The IMF, World Bank And Global Crisis
The IMF and World Bank are now rushing to Azerbaijan to discuss a possible loan package of $4 billion. The problem is that these two organizations have a lot of countries in crisis that they need to visit in the next few months, like Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia just to mention a few. But where the IMF and the World Bank will get their money from nobody asks. I suppose they can just increase world debt by a few hundred billion dollars. In any case that will be a drop in the ocean when the real global crisis starts.
Venezuela is of course another basket case with inflation expected to hit over 700% this year and with their benchmark bond at 27%.
So, Eric, just as I explained in my KWN article a couple of weeks ago, hyperinflation is now starting in a number of countries around the world. And no one should have the illusion that this is just an emerging market phenomenon. No, what is now starting in the periphery is going to reach the center. And it will be a lot worse of course as the $1.75 quadrillion debt and derivatives start to implode. Can you imagine the money printing bonanza that all the major Central Banks and the IMF are going to embark on?
What investors have to be aware of is that most banks will go bust before this is over. Take Italy. Their banking system is already bankrupt. €350 billion or 17% of all Italian loans are non- performing. They will now be sold off to investors with a government guarantee. So that’s another certain write-off for the Italian government on their way to bankruptcy.
All Bank Deposits At Risk
Any money “lent” to a bank by a depositor in any country will be at risk. In my view investors should not keep major amounts in any bank. That money will either be bailed-in, lost in a bank failure or inflated away by massive money printing. Remember also that the exchange controls that are now being introduced in many emerging countries will soon reach the US and Europe. At that point investors will not be able to transfer any money out of the country or there will be a tax on foreign transfers like the 20% tax in Azerbaijan.
Governments Now Preparing For Total Collapse
Governments are now preparing for total collapse, Eric, this is why investors must take action now to transfer funds to another country before exchange controls and before the dollar or the euro is totally inflated away. As I showed in my KWN article that I quoted above, physical gold is the best way to insure against the total currency destruction that we will see in coming years. After a 12-year bull market, gold has now corrected for 4 1⁄2 years. It looks like the correction has now finished and interestingly it has lasted for a typical Fibonacci 38% correction of the bull market.
Before the coming hyperinflationary phase is over, gold will reach levels that none of us can imagine. But what that level is becomes totally irrelevant. What is extremely important is that physical gold stored outside the banking system will act as insurance and protection against the total wealth destruction we will see in coming years.”