Thoughts From the Frontline, Recession

5 posts tagged with “Recession”.

Preparing for a Credit Crisis

September 10, 2011

“I am sure the Euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created.”

- Romano Prodi, EU Commission President, December 2001

Prodi and the other leaders who forged the euro knew what they were doing. They knew a crisis would develop, as Milton Friedman and many others had predicted. They accepted that as the price of European unity. But now the payment is coming due, and it is far larger than they probably thought.

This week we turn our eyes first to Europe and then the US, and ask about the possibility of a yet another credit crisis along the lines of late 2008. I then outline a few steps you might want to consider now rather than waiting until the middle of a crisis. It is possible we can avoid one but, as I admit, whether we do (and the extent of such a crisis) depends on the political leaders of the developed world (the US, Europe, and Japan) making the difficult choices and doing what is necessary. And in either case, there are some areas of investing you clearly want to avoid. Finally, I turn to that watering-hole favorite, the weather, and offer you a window into the coming seasons. Can we catch a break here? There is a lot to cover, so we will jump right in.


The End of the World, Part 1

August 27, 2011

Fine, then. Uh oh, overflow, population, common food, but it'll do to

Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs,
listen to your heart bleed – dummy with the rapture and
the revered and the right, right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam,

fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

R.E.M. song from 1987

It’s not really the end of the world, but to read some of the analysis and data over the past week, it’s hard not to wonder if it’s not the beginning of the Endgame at the very least. There is more to cover than I can really do justice to, but we will just start. We HAVE to look at the US data first (briefly) and then on to Europe, where it will may be the end of the euro experiment, depending on two voting populations. Can you spell “Banking Crisis,” gentle reader? A nod to Bernanke’s finger-pointing speech, some links on the scourge of high-frequency trading, and we end on a positive note about the Boomer generation growing older. And, I answer the question that is burning in your brain: “How many years of US corn production will China’s dollar reserves buy?” Write your answer down now. This letter may print out longer than usual, as there are plenty of charts. Let’s skip the “but firsts” and jump right in.


The Recession of 2011?

August 20, 2011

The data this week was just ugly. Even the uptick in the leading economic indicators, seized upon by so many talking heads, must have a large asterisk beside it. This week we look at the increasing probability that we are headed for recession, and the follow-on implications. Then I take a perilous and speculative journey into the realm of the political, commenting on Texas (and my) Governor Rick Perry’s rather interesting comments about the Fed and Ben Bernanke. There is a lot to cover, and lots of charts, so we will jump right in. But please read at the end about two events coming up in the next few months that you might be very interested in attending.


The Beginning of the Endgame

August 13, 2011

I came away from Maine, and meeting with some of the most astute economists in the world, with a series of impressions that will be the core of this week’s letter. On Friday night, S&P downgraded US debt, and of course I need to comment on that. But as we talked the next two days and into the nights, I came increasingly to the opinion that this is indeed the Beginning of the Endgame. I must admit it has come about faster than I thought. But that is the nature of these things. And so, with no “but first,” let’s jump right in.


The Cure for High Prices

April 16, 2011

Today we once again think about the inflation/deflation debate, turn our eyes to Europe and the very interesting election happening there this Sunday, and speculate a little about what could derail the US economy.

But first, a quick note to Conversations subscribers. We have just posted a new conversation I did with Rich Karlgaard (Forbes publisher) and Andy Kessler. A found it fascinating to talk with two rational optimists who live in Silicon Valley and have watched the scene there for a very long time. I will soon be doing two more Conversations, the first with Neil Howe (The Fourth Turning, and one of the most astute experts on demographics) and the second with Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice of the Global Economics desk at Societe Generale and two of my all-time favorite thinkers.

For new readers, Conversations with John Mauldin is a subscription service where I sit down and talk with interesting people and let you listen in. You can learn more at http://www.johnmauldin.com/conversations/. If you want to subscribe or renew, use the code conv and get a 25% discount, plus access to all the previous conversations, plus a recent piece with George Friedman of Stratfor. Now, let’s jump into today’s letter.