17 January 2009

Leap 2020 GEAP ~ Phase IV of the systemic crisis: The sequence of global insolvency begins

These guys have been right without fail. A little early at times, thats all. The only mystery is why they don't hire me to turn their Euroish into readable english prose.....

"In 2007, LEAP/E2020 announced that US banks and consumers were both insolvent. More than a year ago, our team estimated that USD 10,000-billion worth in « ghost-assets » would vanish in the crisis. Both announcements came in complete opposition with the common opinion of that time; however they proved perfectly justified in the months after. In the same line, LEAP/E2020 today estimates that a new sequence of the fourth phase (so-called « decanting phase ») of the unfolding global systemic crisis has began: the sequence of global insolvency.

The heavy consequences conveyed by the global insolvency are anticipated in this GEAB N°31, of which this announcement presents an excerpt meant to put clearly what is at stake in this new sequence of the crisis. GEAB N°31 also details the 20 "ups and downs" of the year 2009 according to the LEAP/E2020 team : fifteen upward trends and fourteen downward trends, as many decision- abnd analysis-support instruments for all those worried or intrigued by the coming year.

Contrary to what political leaders and their central bankers seem to believe worldwide, the problem of liquidity that they are striving to solve by means of historic interest rate drops and unlimited money creation, is not a cause but a consequence of the current crisis. It is in fact a problem of solvency which is digging « black holes » where liquidities disappear, whether we call these holes bank balance sheets (1), household debt (2), corporate bankruptcies or public deficits. In consideration of the fact that a conservative estimation of these “ghost-assets” reaches already USD 30,000-billion (3), our team considers that the world is now facing a situation of general insolvency affecting in the first place the most indebted countries and organizations (public or private) and/or those depending most on financial services.

Market capitalisation of stock markets worldwide (in trillions of US Dollars) - Source: Thomson financial Datastream, 01/2009
How to make the difference between a crisis of solvency and a crisis of liquidity?

The difference between a crisis of liquidity and a crisis of solvency can appear rather technical and in the end not very decisive concerning the evolution of the current crisis. However it is not a simple academic dispute; indeed, according to the answer to that question, the actions taken by governments and central banks will either be useful or utterly useless, if not dangerous.

A simple example can help to understand what is at stake. If you meet a temporary problem of cash, and if your bank or your family agrees to lend you the money you need to cross over that difficult path, their effort is mutually beneficial. Indeed, you can resume your activity, you can pay your employees and yourself, your bank or your family get their money back (with an interest in the case of the bank), and the economy in general benefited from a positive contribution. But if your problem is not due to a question of cash-flow but to the fact that your activity has ceased to be profitable and will never be again because of new economic conditions, then the effort made by your bank or family becomes all the more dangerous that it was substantial. Indeed, in all likelihood, your first call for funds will soon be followed by more calls, always matched with promises (honest ones we suppose) that difficult times are about to be over. The more your bank or your family has lent you (and therefore the more it would lose if your activity is stopped) the more willing they will be to continue helping you. However if the situation worsens, and it will if it comes from a problem of profitability, there is a moment when the limits are reached: on the one hand, your bank will decide that there is more to lose in keeping supporting you than in letting you down; on the other hand, your family ends up with no money left because you have siphoned its entire savings. Then it appears clearly to everyone not only that you are insolvent or bankrupt, but that you dragged down with you your family or your bank (4). You have thus dealt a severe blow on the economy around you, including on your close relatives (5). It is important to highlight the fact that all this could take place in all sincerity because you were not aware of the impact on your activity of a sudden change in the economic context disrupting the conditions of your profitability.

US daily bankruptcy filings (01/2006 – 11/2008) - Source: CreditSlips, 01/2009
According to LEAP/E2020, this simple example illustrates perfectly the situation prevailing today throughout the entire global financial system, a large part of the world economy and all the economic players (including States) who based their growth on debt in the past years. The crisis translates and magnifies a problem of global insolvency. The world is becoming aware of the fact that it is a lot poorer than it used to believe in the last decade. And 2009 is the year when all the economic players must try to assess their real level of solvency, knowing that many assets are still losing value. Moreover a growing number of investors no longer trust the traditional instruments and indicators of measurement. Quoting agencies have lost all credibility. The US Dollar is just a fiction of international monetary unit and many countries are striving to get away from it as quickly as possible (6). Thus, quite rightly, the entire financial sphere is suspected of being a giant black hole. Concerning companies, no one can tell if their order books are reliable (7) because in every sector customers cancel their orders (8) or just stop buying, even when prices are discounted, as indicated by dropping retail sales in the past few weeks (9). Concerning States (and municipalities), slumping fiscal revenues are likely to result in even higher deficits and then bankruptcies. As a matter of fact, Russian billionaires (10), Gulf oil-monarchies, Chinese commercial Eldorados (11), all the « golden-egg geese » of companies and financial institutions of the planet (namely European, Japanese and North-American ones (12)) turn out to be insolvent or hardly solvent. The question of the solvency of the US federal State and federated states (13) (as well as of Russia or the United-Kingdom) is beginning to be asked by some big international media; as well as the question of the solvency of large capital-based pension funds, major players in this past twenty years’ globalised economy.

According to LEAP/E2020, the trend is clear: the sequence that has begun this year is a sequence of global insolvency."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The action to solve the crisis should be quick and gigantic. The U.S. government may immediately form a corporation named STOCK HOLDING CORPORATION OF AMERICA and pump in as many trillions of dolaars as required by printing money. It will not cause inflationary pressure as all the goods and services in the economy is intact neglecting economic deflation and only the eqivalent amount of money supply is not there. The corporation may buy out stocks of ailing banks and auto majors. The idea of creating jobs by building roads and bridges would not solve the crisis. If not done quickly then India will emerge as the next economic superpower after five years from now.