Doomsday clock for global market crash strikes one minute to midnight as central banks lose control

China currency devaluation signals endgame leaving equity markets free to collapse under the weight of impossible expectations

When the banking crisis crippled global markets seven years ago, central bankers stepped in as lenders of last resort. Profligate private-sector loans were moved on to the public-sector balance sheet and vast money-printing gave the global economy room to heal.

Time is now rapidly running out. From China to Brazil, the central banks have lost control and at the same time the global economy is grinding to a halt. It is only a matter of time before stock markets collapse under the weight of their lofty expectations and record valuations.

The FTSE 100 has now erased its gains for the year, but there are signs things could get a whole lot worse.

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Hedge fund manager: It’s a ‘truly scary time’

“I think it is a truly scary time,” Andy Redleaf, CEO of $4.2 billion hedge and mutual fund manager Whitebox Advisors, said in an internal memo Sunday night obtained by CNBC.com.

“We do not know exactly where all the credit creation of this cycle has gone. Certainly money sits idly as excess reserves, but just as certainly money that would not exist but for unconventional monetary policy has distorted prices and resource allocation,” Redleaf wrote.

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Swiss Franc ‘Nuclear Explosion’ Spreading, Credit Suisse, Saxo Hurt

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Saxo Bank A/S joined an increasing number of European financial companies warning that the Swiss central bank’s surprise decision to abolish its currency ceiling may dent earnings.

Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, indicated Monday that currency swings may hurt profit. Denmark’s Saxo Bank said some clients might not be able to settle unsecured amounts, which might cause undisclosed losses.

The full force of the decision won’t be known for months and is “closer to a nuclear explosion than a 1,000-kilogram conventional bomb,” Javier Paz, senior analyst in wealth management at Aite Group, said in an e-mail Tuesday. “The aftermath is like a black hole that can suck massive amounts of credit from currency trading as we have known it.” Continue reading

Currency traders eye Swiss vote on gold holdings

A referendum that would force the Swiss central bank to hold a fifth of its assets in gold could rock foreign exchange markets, analysts have warned.

On the 30th November, voters in Switzerland will head to the polls to decide whether the Swiss National Bank (SNB) should boost its gold holdings and refrain from any further selling of Swiss gold.

The referendum, proposed by the ultra-conservative Swiss People’s party, will also require the bank to repatriate all Swiss gold holdings currently held outside of Switzerland if passed.

The ban on selling gold would go into effect immediately and the SNB would have five years to reach the 20 percent requirement. Continue reading