To this day, I wonder why Robert Prechter’s book Conquer the Crash has not been more widely recognized. It described in advance much of what happened in the 2008 financial crisis.
Published in 2002, the book provided detailed descriptions of then-future economic scenarios. They were detailed vs. general. Prechter was specific in a way that would prove right or wrong; there was no gray.
This is from the book:
There are five major conditions in place at many banks that pose a danger: (1) low liquidity levels, (2) dangerous exposure to leveraged derivatives, (3) the optimistic safety ratings of banks’ debt investments, (4) the inflated values of the property that borrowers have put up as collateral on loans and (5) the substantial size of the mortgages that their clients hold compared both to those property values and to the clients’ potential inability to pay under adverse circumstances. All of these conditions compound the risk to the banking system of deflation and depression.
Conquer the Crash, second edition, (p. 179)
That’s just one excerpt about one topic in a 456-page text. Perhaps you see why I believe the book deserves more credit. Yet even that one paragraph from the book turned out to be a virtual mirror of what came to pass. And much of what he predicted is unfolding today: the JPMorgan trading fiasco, massive withdrawals at Greek banks, downgrades of Italian and Spanish banks and much more. Those are just a few headlines.
The broader point is that Conquer the Crashprepared its readers. Around the time the book’s second edition published in 2009, the Chicago Sun-Times remarked
And the credit implosion is still not over. Please take a look at the chart:
In the Conquer the Crash quote in the first part of this article, you’ll notice the last three words are “deflation and depression.”
The world has yet to completely pass through these economic valleys.
It’s not too late to prepare yourself for what’s ahead
Elliott Wave International is offering a special free report with 8 lessons from Conquer the Crash to help you prepare for your financial future. In this 42-page report, you’ll get valuable lessons on what to do with your pension plan, what to do if you run a business, how to handle calling in loans and paying off debt, a list of imperative do’s and don’ts, plus much more.
This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Position Yourself for the Rest of “Conquer the Crash”. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.
Robert Prechter discusses what’s backing your dollars January 26, 2012
By Elliott Wave International
In this video clip, taken from Robert Prechter’s interview with The Mind of Money, Prechter and host Douglass Lodmell discuss “real” money vs the FIAT money system, and what is backing your dollars under our current system. Enjoy this 4-minute clip and then watch Prechter’s full 45-minute interview here >>
Watch the full 45-minute interview FREE
Get even more valuable insights as Mind of Money host Douglass Lodmell interviews Elliott Wave International’s President, Robert Prechter, about how to keep your money safe, the deflation versus inflation debate, and many more topics that are critical to your financial future.
The Federal Reserve’s interest rate price-setting board, the FOMC, met last week. They will continue to set the federal funds rate at well below 1%, and plan to keep it low until the end of 2014. That’s a year and half longer than they planned when they met just last month. Chairman Bernanke says they are keeping interest rates so low for so long because the economic outlook warrants it.
The fallacies in their reasoning would be amusing if they weren’t so dangerous. The Fed wants to keep the price of money at essentially zero – in other words “free” – to boost the economy. But the boost they are attempting won’t get here for another three years. That’s not a recovery. And we’ve already tried this tactic. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place: with interest rates artificially low for a very long time. Free money doesn’t stimulate growth, as Japan’s two lost decades clearly show. Artificially low interest rates only serve to punish saving, distort market signals, and cause further malinvestment. They also do nothing to address the only real solution to our economic woes: liquidation of the bad debt that hangs around the neck of the world’s economy, preventing recovery. Artificially low interest rates merely ensure that we remain a debt-financed consumer economy guaranteed to end up with a weaker economy and higher prices.
What baffles me even more is that two decades after the collapse of Soviet planning and decades more since the U.S. and economists purportedly rejected the idea of price setting, we find nothing wrong with the Fed setting the price of money. We all agree it is a bad idea to have a board saying the price of wheat should be $250 a ton today, or carpenters wages should be $25 an hour until the end of 2014. But we are perfectly comfortable with having a board set the price of one half of every transaction in our economy. And our markets are supposedly free.
The Fed policies of low interest rates, Operation Twist, and rounds of quantitative easing are all attempts to keep the economy alive artificially. But the 12 FOMC participants cannot manage the economy any better than the bureaucrats of the Soviet Union. The policies haven’t worked. They won’t work. Real economic recovery cannot come until we liquidate the bad debt, until we eradicate the poor decisions we made over the last decade, and start with a sound foundation. It is time we acknowledge the truth of the Fed’s activities: they are merely using fancy words for price setting.
Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon was correct in the 1920s when he said “liquidate everything.” That’s what we did in the severe depression of 1920-21, and we recovered so quickly it is never even talked about. We didn’t take his advice after the 1929 crash, and ended up with the Great Depression. We are committing the same mistakes, destined to live in this Great Recession for a decade or more—it has already been four years, the Fed says it will be at least three more! It’s time we start rethinking what the Fed’s policies are really doing to our economy, because obviously, by their own admission, they haven’t helped.
A look back on 18 months of analysis and reports on the European Credit Crisis
By Elliott Wave International
In 1999, 11 European countries surrendered their currencies for the euro and a shared monetary authority. Barely a decade later, the once-celebrated EU is in the midst of a credit crisis and its currency is facing collapse.
Elliott Wave International’s analysts have been anticipating and tracking the credit contagion across the European nations for the past two years. EWI subscribers were first alerted to the still-developing European debt crisis back in December 2009.
The following is excerpted from a December 2010 report from The European Debt Crisis, a new report from EWI. This free report provides important analysis from February 2010 through today that helps you understand what the European economic crisis can mean for your investments. Plus, you’ll get a unique perspective on what’s ahead. Find out how to access this free report below.
The Credit Crisis Spreads — December 2010
The credit crisis is escalating as expected. Back in January 2010, when ratings agency Moody’s bestowed “investment grade” status on a widely followed index of sovereign bonds, The European Financial Forecast argued that a renewed Primary-degree decline would in fact aim the credit crisis directly at this critical new realm. Our case for the looming sovereign debt debacle rested primarily on two pieces of evidence: (1) Primary wave 3 (circled) had begun in Europe’s peripheral markets, and (2) premiums for credit-default swaps on European sovereigns (think of an insurance policy against a national default) were already signaling the next phase of the crisis by surpassing their 2008-09 price extremes. The February 2010 issue of EFF published a chart showing rising Greek, Spanish and Italian swaps and offered this description of how Europe’s credit crunch would escalate: “The theme during Primary wave 1 (circled) was default at the individual, corporate and quasi-government level. The theme for Primary wave 3 (circled) will be default at the sovereign level.”
Today, the credit crunch is clearly angling itself away from mere corporations and toward whole countries. On November 15, Bloomberg announced the escalation with this headline:
Companies Safer Than Sovereigns as
Crisis Cracks ‘Old Order’
— Bloomberg, November 15, 2010
London credit strategist Greg Venizelos tells Bloomberg that the “old order” was the one where investors believed large sovereign nations to be better credit risks than corporate borrowers. However, debt is being repriced, he says, and today “corporates are now better credit quality than sovereigns in the periphery.” Indeed, swaps on Italian government bonds are more expensive than 75% of the Italian companies contained in the iTraxx Europe Index of European corporations. In Spain, traders deem Spanish sovereign debt to be riskier than all six Spanish companies in the index. Even in the supposedly safe core European country of France, 5-year swaps tied to French government bonds climbed to an all-time high of 105 basis points in November. At that level, more than half of the 25 French companies in the iTraxx index trade tighter than the French sovereign, according to Bloomberg.
The chart above shows another way to view the escalation of the credit crisis. By plotting the difference, or “spread,” between swaps on European corporations versus those on European sovereigns, the rising line shows derivative traders’ increasing fear over sovereign default relative to corporate borrowers. So, yes, the old order of safer sovereigns is over. But notice, too, that the debt crisis began escalating when the continent’s peripheral markets started topping way back in October 2009. The billion-euro question is, “Who is next?” The media is clearly focusing on Portugal, as 5-year credit default swaps tied to Portuguese bonds are setting all-time records. But charts show that so too are swaps tied to Spanish and Italian bonds. Five-year swaps on Belgian debt also reached an all-time high last month. Either one of these countries could be next. Maybe they’ll all go down together, but in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing to observe is that even core European countries like France and Germany exhibit spiking default insurance premiums, too. These countries are the largest contributors to the �440 billion Facility, the same one that backstops the rest of Europe.
The June 2010 European Financial Forecast said unequivocally that before the storm is over, “at least one, but more likely several, G8 nations will capsize.” We stand by our forecast.
The European Debt Crisis is affecting investments across the globe. Gain a valuable perspective on the European debt crisis and get ahead of what is yet to come in this FREE resource from Elliott Wave International.
This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline The European Debt Crisis and Your Investments. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.
A while back I posted an article by Ron Paul in which he expressed his opinion that the current European debt crisis threatens the dollar. I received a few e-mails from my readership expressing both agreement and disagreement with Mr. Ron Paul’s viewpoint. One of them stood out though, and I thought I’d publish it because I believe it is important to get a different side of the story. This e-mail came from a currency specialist from a popular UK forex brokerage firm. Letter follows below:
I read with great interest your recent post written by Ron Paul, evaluating the problems with continuing to support the ailing European financial framework and the cost of US involvement in this.
On most points I think Mr. Paul makes a convincing case. For instance, he is right to point out the dangerous position of the US as global lender of last resort. In spite of White House remarks to the contrary, it does seem that significant US funds have gone to propping up the European system in the last six months. This creates dangerous US exposure in addition to that already shouldered by US banks and financial funds. In addition he is right that the cost of a breakup of the Eurozone is overestimated. Recent reports by banks including UBS for instance (detailing the possible cost should either Germany or Greece exit the euro) have been branded gross exaggerations and sensationalist. These are the product of organisations that stand to lose in the event of a euro breakup and so are engaged in scare mongering.
In spite of this though, it seems to me that in his eagerness to avoid exposing the US to the European crisis, Mr. Paul overextends his case. For example he tells us it is impossible to bail out either France or Germany, as opposed to small European countries such as Greece. True enough, but this of course gives an immediate (and misleading) impression that France and Germany are in need of bailing out. This is not the case: both nations possess (for the moment!) AAA credit ratings from all 3 credit rating agencies, unlike (it is worth pointing out) the United States. In other words it seems that here Mr. Paul is not above a little scare mongering himself. In addition it seems that, though European organisations have to date provided an exaggerated impression of the cost of a euro breakup, Mr. Paul gives us an underestimation. He notes for instance that Greeks are using bartering as an alternative to euros, as though this were a pseudo-democratic uprising against failing financial structures. Is he then suggesting that the entirety of Europe do the same thing? This strikes me as an irresponsible and (in the hands of an elected politician) dangerous underestimation of the crisis facing Europe.
In short, it seems to me that in spite of Mr. Paul’s admirable desire to see banks contribute to the cost of the financial crisis, he doesn’t grasp the scale of the European debt crisis. In particular, his proposed solutions are idealistic to the point of being fantastical.
Is the bank really the safest place to keep your money? Robert Prechter joins the Mind of Money host Douglass Lodmell to discuss what backs bank deposits and how you can keep your hard-earned money safe.
This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline What Is Backing Your Deposits in the Bank?. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.
"Lack of money is the root of all evil" (George Bernard Shaw)