Take a look at this currency chart of the Brazilian Real versus the U.S. dollar. The Y-axis is how many reals you can get for $1:
It has lost almost 50% from its peak. If this holds then that means when I go to Brazil everything will be half off. Other Latin currencies are also struggling. As the Chinese would say: in every crisis there is opportunity. For American men everywhere this is incredible news. For the same budget you can double the amount of time you stay in Brazil.
Also, I hope you guys liquidated all stock holdings in your 401k’s. Otherwise you’re getting murdered. I wonder if one day we’ll look back and consider it crazy to put retirement money into company stock.
Postscript: I need to step away from the internet.
At this point the recession train has left the station; the financial and banking crisis train has left the station. The delusion that the US and advanced economies contraction would be short and shallow – a V-shaped six month recession – has been replaced by the certainty that this will be a long and protracted U-shaped recession that may last at least two years in the US and close to two years in most of the rest of the world. And given the rising risk of a global systemic financial meltdown the probability that the outcome could become a decade long L-shaped recession – like the one experienced by Japan after the bursting of its real estate and equity bubble – cannot be ruled out.
And in a world where there is a glut and excess capacity of goods while aggregate demand is falling soon enough we will start to worry about deflation, debt deflation, liquidity traps and what monetary policy makers should do to fight deflation when policy rates get dangerously close to zero.
At this point the risk of an imminent stock market crack – like the one-day collapse of 20% plus in US stock prices in 1987 – cannot be ruled out as the financial system is breaking down, panic and lack of confidence in any counterparty is sharply rising and the investors have totally lost faith in the ability of policy authorities to control this meltdown.
The selloff this afternoon is the “real deal.” It was not caused by the stock market getting “mad”, it was caused by the short-term credit market along with the Treasury market suddenly dislocating at a few minutes before the bond pit closed at 2:00 PM.
Worse is also the fact that institutional lending has essentially disappeared – both between banks and now it is choking off commercial short-term credit across the board.
It doesn’t get any more serious than this. To repeat: short-term commercial credit is threatening to completely disappear from the American scene.
Every action our government has taken thus far, including repealing mark-to-market requirements have made the situation worse by further destroying confidence.
In the overnight market the futures are imploding once again; the Osaka exchange was closed in Japan after hitting its “lock limit” within minutes prior to the Nikkei opening; the Nikkei is now down ANOTHER 10%, for a total loss of nearly 20% in just two days, with Japanese banks trading “offer only” – that is, NO BID. There are rumors of government bond market fails in parts of Europe, and Iceland has essentially been cut off from the rest of the world Interbank marketplace.
The global economic dam has now cracked wide open. Water is pouring everywhere. The bursting of the dam is a fitting tribute to Paulson’s and Bush’s $700 billion boondoggle to add liquidity to banks.
The public was overwhelmingly against the plan (and rightly so) as were close to 200 economists. Paulson, Bush, Trichet, and Brown all goaded Congress to waste $700 billion of taxpayer money on grounds there would be a global meltdown if the plan was not passed. Congress had it right the first time. The $700 billion bailout helped bust the dam.
Neither the Bush administration nor the fools in Congress voting for the bailout bothered to figure out you cannot patch a failing dam by adding water.
Liquidity measures cannot and will not work, when the disease is the Fed, reckless Congressional spending, and fractional reserve lending carried to extreme.
Postscript 2: More Denniger
Oil will collapse in price to $20/bbl. Unfortunately nobody will have any money to buy gasoline, or a car, so it won’t matter. As in The Depression millions of automobiles will be scrapped after being abandoned by their owners for lack of insurance and registration fee money. Cheap scooters will become the dominant form of transportation for those with jobs, as they will be all most people can afford.
As credit collapses distribution of food and other essentials will break down. Unable to access credit, trucking companies will be unable to get goods to market. The current distribution system for food requires travel of over 500 miles from production to consumption; this is untenable in a market where stable credit is unavailable. Food distribution will be severely impacted and in some areas may break down below critical levels.
Unemployment will reach 25% within two years. Median income will fall by 30% nationally. Foreclosures will reach 20 million homes. The government will step in with HOLC-style remediation but it won’t matter – the unemployed won’t be able to pay irrespective of the price.
House prices will fall to well under $100,000 nationally on a median basis but with lending all but non-existent you’ll need 50% down. A few people will make out like bandits near the bottom, being able to buy up homes for $10,000 each in blocks of 10 at a time – for cash. 60% of America will be renters; nearly half of all homeowners will ultimately lose their homes to foreclosure.
Civil unrest will break out in major cities when incomes fall but the cost of food and essential services fail to come down materially, leaving millions of Americans hungry, broke and homeless. Unlike in the 1930s America will not quietly stand in soup lines – instead they will riot, loot and burn. The National Guard will be called up but will find it impossible to exert meaningful control without shutting down all commerce in the affected areas. The decision will be made to cordon off the cities and deny entry to anyone who does not live in that specific neighborhood, essentially shutting down commercial activity. GDP will fall by 30%.