On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 588 points. It was the 8th worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history, and it was the first time that the Dow has ever fallen by more than 500 points on two consecutive days.
But the amazing thing is that the Dow actually performed better than almost every other major global stock market on Monday. In the U.S., the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both did worse than the Dow. In Europe, almost every major index performed significantly worse than the Dow. Over in Asia, Japanese stocks were down 895 points, and Chinese stocks experienced the biggest decline of all (a whopping 8.46 percent).
On June 25th, I was not kidding around when I issued a “red alert” for the last six months of 2015. I had never issued a formal alert for any other period of time, and I specifically stated that “a major financial collapse is imminent“. But you know what? As the weeks and months roll along, things will eventually be even worse than what any of the experts (including myself) have been projecting. The global financial system is now unraveling, and you better pack a lunch because this is going to be one very long horror show.
Our world has not seen a day quite like Monday in a very, very long time. Let’s start our discussion where the carnage began…
For weeks, the Chinese government has been taking unprecedented steps to try to stop Chinese stocks from crashing, but nothing has worked. As most Americans slept on Sunday night, the markets in China absolutely imploded…
As Europe and North America slept on Sunday night, Chinese markets went through the floor — the Shanghai Composite index of stocks fell by 8.49%, the biggest single-day collapse since 2007.
It wasn’t alone. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 5.17%, and Japan’s Nikkei fell 4.61%. Stocks in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand also tumbled.
Things would have been even worse in China if trading had not been stopped in most stocks. Trading was suspended for an astounding 2,200 stocks once they hit their 10 percent decline limits.
Overall, the Shanghai Composite Index is now down close to 40 percent from the peak of the market, and the truth is that Chinese stocks are still massively overvalued when compared to the rest of the world.
That means that they could very easily fall a lot farther.
The selling momentum in Asia carried over into Europe once the European markets opened. On a percentage basis, all of the major indexes on the continent declined even more than the Dow did…
In Europe, the bloodbath from Friday continued unabated. The German Dax plunged 4.7%, the French CAC 40 5.4%, UK’s FTSE 100 dropped 4.7%. Euro Stoxx 600, which covers the largest European companies, was down 5.3%.
But wait… Europe is where the omnipotent ECB and other central banks have imposed negative deposit rates. The ECB is engaged in a massive ‘whatever it takes” QE program to inflate stock markets. But it’s not working. Omnipotence stops functioning once people stop believing in it.
Even before U.S. markets opened on Monday morning, the New York Stock Exchange was already warning that trading would be halted if things got too far out hand, and it almost happened…
When the U.S. markets did open, the Dow plunged 1,089 points during the opening minutes of trading. If the Dow would have stayed at that level, it would have been the worst single day stock market crash in U.S. history by a wide margin.
Instead, by the end of the day it only turned out to be the 8th worst day ever.
And in case you are wondering, yes, investors are losing a staggering amount of money. According to MarketWatch, the total amount of money lost is now starting to approach 2 trillion dollars…
And commodities were absolutely hammered once again on Monday.
For instance, the price of U.S. oil actually fell below 38 dollars a barrel at one point.
What we are watching unfold is incredible.
And if stocks go up tomorrow (which they probably should), all of those same “experts” will be proclaiming that the “correction” is over and that everything is now fine.
But don’t be fooled by that. Just because stocks go up on any particular day does not mean that everything is fine. We are in the midst of a financial meltdown that is truly global in scope. This is going to take time to fully play out, and there will be good days and there will be bad days. The three largest single day increases for the Dow were right in the middle of the financial crisis of 2008. So one very good day for stocks is not going to change the long-term analysis one bit.
It isn’t complicated. Those that follow my writing regularly know that I have repeatedly explained how things were setting up in textbook fashion for another global financial crisis, and now one is unfolding right in front of our eyes.
At this point, everyone should be able to very clearly see what is happening, and yet most are still blind.
Global markets have swung overnight from a mystical faith in Communist competence to near revulsion. But this August storm may yet blow over
The world financial system is at a dangerous juncture. Markets no longer believe that China’s Communist leaders are in full control of the country’s $27 trillion debt bubble, or know how to manage fast-moving events beyond their ken.
This sudden loss of confidence in the anchor economy of East Asia has struck before the West is fully back on its feet after its own debacle seven years ago.
Interest rates are still near zero in the US, the eurozone, Britain and Japan. Fiscal deficits are at unsafe levels. Debt is 30 percentage points of GDP higher than it was at the onset of the Lehman crisis.
The safety buffers are largely exhausted.
“This could be the early stage of a very serious situation,” said Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary. He compared it to the two spasms of the Asian crisis in the summer of 1997 and again in August 1998.
Ominously, he also compared it to the "heart attack" of August 2007, when credit markets seized up on both sides of the Atlantic and three-month US Treasury yields plummeted to zero. That proved to be a false alarm, but it was an early warning of the accumulating stress that would bring down Western finance a year later.
Full-blown contagion is now ripping through the international system. The main equity indexes in Europe and the US have all sliced through key levels of technical support.
Once the S&P 500 index on Wall Street broke below its 200-day and 50-week moving averages last week, it was extremely vulnerable to any bad news. This came last Friday with yet more grim manufacturing data from China.
JP Morgan says the Caixin PMI indicator that so alarmed markets is skewed to the weakest segment of the Chinese economy and overstates the trouble, but such subtleties are lost in a panic.
It turned into a global rout after the Shanghai composite index crashed 8.5pc on China’s “Black Monday”, pulverizing its July lows after the central bank (PBOC) - oddly passive - refused to come to the rescue as expected with a cut in the reserve requirement ratio for banks.
Beijing’s botched efforts to prop up the country’s stock markets have collapsed. An estimated $300bn of state-orchestrated buying achieved nothing, overwhelmed by an avalanche of selling by investors forced to cover margin debt.
Professor Christopher Balding from Peking University wrote on FT Alphaville that China is lurching from one incoherent policy to another, shedding credibility and its aura of omnipotence at every stage. “There is a very real risk that Beijing is losing control of the story,” he said.
The speed with which this episode has now engulfed US markets - trading at 50pc above their historic average on the long-term Shiller price/earnings ratio, and primed for trouble – suggests that events could all too easily metastasize into a self-perpetuating crisis of confidence. The Dow may have rebounded after a record 1,090-point drop at the opening bell, but such tremors cannot be ignored.
“Circuit-breakers are needed, given how quickly markets have moved. Crises are highly non-linear events and ruling them out isn’t wise,” said Manoj Pradhan from Morgan Stanley.
The question is whether China’s economy will itself prove to be the circuit-breaker by confounding the predictions of economic meltdown. There are signs that growth is poised to pick up after a deep slump in the first half of the year, caused by a combined monetary and fiscal crunch.
“This crisis has the potential to become worse than the Asian crisis in 1997/98 as it is spreading globally. Panic selling is triggering a bloodbath among EM currencies,” he said.
Whether or not China’s economy is as weak as feared, the crisis is feeding a global chain-reaction through the entire nexus of emerging markets (EM), now half the global economy and therefore a greater threat than in the previous EM crises of the early 1980s and the late 1990s. “We are seeing the worst of all storms for emerging market currencies,” said Bernd Berg from Societe Generale.
What is clear is that the world is no longer willing to give the economic benefit of the doubt to Chinese leaders. The pretensions of market Leninism have been shattered by one policy blunder after another over the past year.
Global markets have swung almost overnight from a mystical faith in the competence of the Communist Party to near revulsion, doubting everything until proven. From now on, Beijing is on probation.
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