Sunday, October 19, 2008
"The credit market crisis, combined with the recent stock market declines and the plunge in home values over the past two years, is setting off the deflationary alarm bells for economists.
Paul Kasriel, chief economist with Northern Trust in Chicago, said most bouts of deflation have started with sharp declines in assets such as stocks or homes. That has tended to lead to a loss of value of collateral for loans and ultimately, large losses by lenders and very tight credit"
And stocks are down worldwide.
This may point towards global deflation.
The Economist writes:
"A global recession is almost certainly on the way . . . With commodity prices falling sharply ... and economies suffering, inflation risks are evaporating in the rich world. .... Deflation is an increasing risk."
The Telegraph provides impressions of the slow down spreading all around the world:
Indeed, China's GDP has slowed from 12 percent to 9 percent, and the Financial Times writes that "Indicators hint China [is] on verge of slowdown", and may be in for a hard landing.
The commodity and emerging market booms are breaking in unison, leaving no more bubbles left to burst. Almost every corner of the world is now being drawn into the vortex of debt deflation.
The freight rates for Capesize vessels used to ship grains, coal, and iron ore have fallen 95pc to $11,600 since May, hence the bankruptcy of Odessa’s Industrial Carriers last week with a fleet of 52 vessels. Cargo deliveries dropped 15.2pc at the US Port of Long Beach last month, but that is a lagging indicator.
From what I have been able to find out, shipping is slowing as fast as it did in the grim months of late 1931. “The crisis is now in full swing across the entire world,” said Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s finance minister. “It is hitting the real economy, the productive forces of industry. It’s global, it’s total, and it’s everywhere,” he said.
Italy’s industrial output has fallen 11pc in the last year. Foreign orders have dropped 13pc. But we are all in much the same boat. Europe’s car sales fell 9pc in September (32pc in Spain). US housing starts fell to a 45-year low in September.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund had to rescue Hungary and Ukraine as contagion swept Eastern Europe ....
Russia’s foreign reserves have fallen by $67bn since August. Ural crude prices fell to $65 a barrel last week, below the budget solvency threshold of the now extravagant Russian state.
The new capitalists have to repay $47bn in foreign loans over the next two months. In Russia, oligarch fiefdoms built on leverage - Mikhail Fridman (Alfa), Oleg Deripaska (Basic Element), and Vladimir Lisin (Novolipetsk) - are lining up for state bail-outs from a $50bn rescue fund.
Brazil is free-fall as well. Sao Paolo’s Bovespa index is down a third in dollar terms in a month. Hopes that the BRIC quartet (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) would take over as the engine of world growth have proved yet another bubble delusion.
China says 53pc of the country’s 3,600 toy factories have gone bust this year. Economist Andy Xie says China is at imminent risk of its own crisis after allowing over-investment to run rampant, like Japan in the 1980s. “The end is near. They’ve been keeping this house of cards going for a long time with bank support,” he said.