The Economic Collapse Blog – December 22, 2011
I have learned that watching what people do is much more important than listening to what they say. Back in 2008, financial authorities in the United States insisted that everything was gone to be okay. But we all know now that was a lie. Well, right now financial authorities in the U.S. and Europe are once again trying to assure us that everything is under control and that we are not headed for a global recession. Unfortunately, their actions are telling a very different story. All over the world, bailouts are flying around as if the end of the world is coming. Governments and central banks are stepping in with gigantic mountains of money to prop up bond yields, major banks and even stock markets. What we have seen over the past few months has been absolutely unprecedented. So why are such desperate measures being taken if everything is going to be just fine? Unfortunately, debt problems are never solved with more debt, so these bailouts really aren’t solving anything. We are still headed for a massive amount of financial pain. It would just be nice if the authorities would quit lying to us and would actually admit how bad things really are.
Today it was announced that the European Central Bank has agreed to make $638 billion in 3 year loans to 523 different banks. Never before (not even during the last financial crisis) has the ECB loaned so much cheap money to European banks at one time.
This move by the ECB made headlines all over the globe. CNBC is calling them “ultra-long and ultra-cheap loans“.
European authorities are hoping that European banks will use this money to make loans to businesses and to buy up the debt of troubled European governments.
But as we have seen in the United States, bailout money does not always get spent the way that the authorities intend for it to be spent.
The truth is that the banks could end up just sitting on the money. That is what happened with a lot of bailout money in the United States during the last financial crisis.
European authorities hope, however, that European banks will take this super cheap money and lend it to European governments at much higher interest rates.
Unfortunately, global financial markets were not terribly impressed with this move by the ECB. European bond yields actually rose and the euro just kept on falling.
Every few days another major “solution” to the European debt crisis is put out there, but so far nothing has worked.
For example, the European Central Bank has already spent over 274 billion dollars directly buying up European government bonds, and yet bond yields continue to hover in very dangerous territory.
But without ECB intervention, we probably would have already seen a major financial collapse in Europe.
The financial system of Europe is a total mess right now, and everyone is becoming incredibly dependent on the ECB. The following comes from a recent Reuters article….
One of the key factors certain to have boosted demand is that banks are now more reliant than ever on central bank funds. The ECB said on Monday, in its semi-annual Financial Stability Review, that this dependency could be difficult to cure.
French banks have almost quadrupled their intake of ECB money since June to 150 billion euros, while banks in Italy and Spain are each taking more than 100 billion euros.
At this point, the ECB has the weight of the entire world on its shoulders. One false move and we could see a huge wave of bank failures and we could be plunged into a major global recession.
But even with all of this unprecedented assistance, we have already seen some big time European banks fail.
Back in Obtober, Dexia was the first major European bank to be bailed out, and the cost of that bailout is going to exceed 100 billion dollars.
The funny thing is that Dexia actually passed the banking stress test that was conducted earlier this year with flying colors.
So what does that say about all of the other major European banks that did not do so well on the stress test?
In addition, it was recently announced that Germany’s second largest bank is going to need a bailout.
The following comes from a Sky News report….
Germany’s second largest bank, Commerzbank, is reportedly in discussions with the German government about a bailout after regulators said it needed to raise more money to cope with a potential default on its loans to governments.
“Intense talks” have been going on for several days, according to sources who spoke to the news agency Reuters.
Even with unprecedented intervention by the ECB, the truth is that the European banking system is rapidly failing.
In Greece, a full-blown run on the banks is happening. According to a recent Der Spiegel article, funds are being pulled out of Greek banks at a pace that is astounding….
He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.
In all, approximately 20 percent of all deposits in Greek banks have been withdrawn since the start of 2011.
Other European nations are implementing draconian measures in an attempt to protect their banks. For example, in Italy all cash transactions over 1000 euros have been permanently banned. People will either have to use checks, debit cards or credit cards for large transactions. This will “encourage” people to keep more money in the banks, and this will also make it much easier for the Italian government to track transactions and to collect taxes.
But it is not just in the EU where we find unusual steps being taken.
In the UK, the Bank of England is acting like the end of the world is about to happen. The following comes from a recent article on the This Is Money website….
The deputy governor of the Bank of England today warned the situation surrounding the single currency was ‘worrying’ and that the Bank was making preparations to support British banks, should the eurozone collapse.
A temporary loan facility has been introduced as a precaution, for use in the event of contagion from the eurozone crisis endangering UK institutions, Charlie Bean said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
An article posted on Business Insider a while back says that Switzerland is also preparing for “a euro collapse”….
The Swiss government is preparing for a collapse of the euro, according to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.
She told parliament that a work group was studying the imposition of capital controls and negative interest rates to protect Switzerland from the capital flight that a euro collapse would engender
On the other side of the world, the government of China is also taking action. In fact, China is actually injecting money into the stock market in order to prop up stock prices.
The following comes from an article in the China Post….
In a movement considered “long overdue” by some analysts, the injection of government money into the tanking stock market to prop up stock prices has been given the green light, government officials announced yesterday.
Vice Premier Chen, the topmost government official charged with the country’s financial stability, however, insisted the fundamentals of the economy and the stock market are sound, expressing his hope for continued optimism among the people.
The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank have announced a coordinated plan to provide liquidity support to the global financial system. According to the plan, the Federal Reserve is going to substantially reduce the interest rate that it charges the European Central Bank to borrow dollars. In turn, that will enable the ECB to lend dollars to European banks at a much cheaper rate. The hope is that this will alleviate the credit crunch which has gripped the European financial system by the throat. So where is the Federal Reserve going to get all of these dollars that it will be loaning out at very low interest rates? You guessed it – the Fed is just going to create them out of thin air. Our currency is being debased so that Europe can be helped out.
If the global financial system was in good shape, all of these bailouts would not be happening.
These desperate measures are a clear sign that something is up.
The financial authorities of the world are doing their best to keep the system together, but in the end they are not going to be able to prevent the collapse that is coming.
The world is heading for incredibly hard economic times.
So is the end of the world coming?
But to many in the financial world it may feel like it. The coming global recession is not going to be fun.
We have now reached a point where it has become “normal” for governments and central banks to throw money at one financial crisis after another.
At one time, bailouts were so unusual that they provoked a great deal of outrage.
Today, bailouts have become standard operating procedure.
The bailouts will continue to get larger and larger, and authorities all over the globe will do their very best to keep the house of cards from coming crashing down.
Unfortunately, they will not be successful