We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come.
Stock markets are, of course, once again at all-time highs after a shaky start, despite nearly every single fundamental indicator flashing red. But as Zero Hedge recently pointed out in its article on artificial juicing of equities by corporations using massive stock buybacks, this is not going to last much longer, simply because the debt companies are generating is outpacing their ability to prop up the markets.
This conundrum is also visible in central bank stimulus measures. As I have related in past articles, the ability of central banks to goose the global financial system is faltering, as bailouts and low-interest-rate capital infusions now have little to no effect on overall economic performance. The fiat fuel is no longer enough; and when this becomes apparent in the mainstream, all hell will indeed break loose.
The argument that banks can prop up the system forever is now being debunked. In this series of articles, I will cover the core reasons why this is happening, starting with the basis of all economics: supply and demand.
The dwindling lack of demand for shipping presents obvious challenges to mainstream talking heads who contend that the overall economic picture indicates recovery. That’s because if demand for raw goods has fallen so far as to produce a 57 percent rate drop over the past year, then surely demand for the consumer goods that those raw goods are used to produce must be collapsing as well. The establishment machine has used the same broken-record argument against this conclusion, despite being proven wrong over and over again: the lie that fleet size is the cause of falling shipping rates, rather than a lack of demand for ships. This is the same argument used by pundits to distract from the problems inherent in the severe drop in oil prices: that oversupply is the issue, and that demand is as good as it ever was. Forbes has even attempted to outright dismiss the 29-year low of the BDI and alternative economic analysts in the same lazily written article.
In manufacturing, some numbers are outright falsified, as in the case of China, where officials are forcing plant managers to lie about output.
In Germany, the EU’s strongest economic center, industrial output has declined to the lowest levels since 2009, and factory orders have also plunged to levels not seen since 2009.
Despite the assumptions in the mainstream media that lower oil prices would result in high retails sales, this fantasy refuses to materialize. Retail sales continue the dismal trend set during the Christmas season of 2014,with the largest decline in 11 months in December, and continued declines in January.
Oil is certainly the most in-our-face undeniable indicator of imploding demand. Volatility has skyrocketed while pump prices have dropped by half in many places. One may be tempted to only see the immediate benefits of this deflation. But they would be overlooking the bigger picture of global demand. Oil is the primary driver of economic productivity. Dwindling demand for oil means dwindling productivity which means dwindling consumption which means a dwindling economy. Period.
The establishment has done everything in its power to hide the most foundational of economic realities, namely the reality of dying demand. Why? Because the longer they can hide true demand, the more time they have to steal what little independent wealth remains within the system while positioning the populace for the next great con (the con of total globalization and centralization). I will cover the many advantages of an economic collapse for elites at the end of this series.
For now I will only say that the program of manipulation we have seen since 2008 is clearly changing. The fact of catastrophic demand loss is becoming apparent. Such a loss only ever precedes a wider fiscal event. The BDI does not implode without a larger malfunction under the surface of the financial system. Oil and exports and manufacturing do not crumble without the weight of a greater disaster bearing down. These things do not take place in a vacuum. They are the irradiated flash preceding the deadly fallout of a financial atom bomb.
Full article: One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 1 (Alt-Market)