By Michael Snyder, the Economic Collapse Blog.
After a series of stunning declines through the month of January and the first half of February, global financial markets seem to have found a patch of relative stability at least for the moment. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. On the contrary, all of the hard economic numbers that are coming in from around the world tell us that the global economy is coming apart at the seams. This is especially true when you look at global trade numbers. The amount of stuff that is being bought, sold and shipped around the planet is falling precipitously. So don’t be fooled if stocks go up one day or down the next. The truth is that we are in the early chapters of a brand new economic meltdown, and I believe that all of the signs indicate that it will continue to get worse in the months ahead. The following are 21 new numbers that show that the global economy is absolutely imploding…
#1 Chinese exports fell by 11.2 percent year over year in January.
#2 Chinese imports were even worse in January. On a year over year basis, they declined a whopping 18.8 percent.
#3 It may be hard to believe, but Chinese imports have now plunged for 15 months in a row.
#4 In India, exports were down 13.6 percent on a year over year basis in January.
#6 For the sixth time in six years, Japanese GDP growth has gone negative.
#7 In the United States, exports were down 7 percent on a year over year basis in December.
#8 U.S. factory orders have fallen for 14 months in a row.
#9 The Restaurant Performance Index in the United States has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.
#10 This month the Baltic Dry Index fell below 300 for the first time ever.
#11 It is now cheaper to rent a 1,100 foot merchant vessel than it is to rent a Ferrari.
#12 Orders for Class 8 trucks in the United States dropped by 48 percent on a year over year basis in January.
#13 Due to a lack of demand for trucks, Daimler just laid off 1,250 U.S. workers.
#14 Even though Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed to freeze oil production at current levels, the price of U.S. oil has still fallen below 30 dollars a barrel.
#15 It is being reported that 35 percent of all oil and gas companies around the world are at risk of falling into bankruptcy.
#16 According to CNN, 67 oil and gas companies in the United States filed for bankruptcy during 2015.
#17 The number of job cuts in the United States skyrocketed 218 percent during the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
#18 All over America, retail stores are shutting down at a stunning pace. The following list of store closures comes from one of my previous articles…
-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.
-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.
-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.
-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.
-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.
#19 The price of gold is enjoying its best quarterly performance in 30 years.
#20 Global stocks have fallen into bear market territory, which means that about one-fifth of all global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
#21 Unfortunately for global central banks, they have pretty much run out of ammunition. Since March 2008, central banks have cut interest rates 637 times and they have purchased a staggering 12.3 trillion dollars worth of assets. There is not much more that they can do, and now the next great crisis is upon us.
Without any outside influences, the global economy and the global financial system will continue to rapidly fall apart.
But if we do have a major “black swan event” take place, that could cause the bottom to fall out at any moment.
In particular, I am deeply concerned about the possibility that World War III could be sparked in the Middle East. In an article that I published earlier today entitled “Turkey Is Asking The United States To Take Part In A Ground Invasion Of Syria“, I included a quote from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that reveals just how eager Turkey and Saudi Arabia are for war to begin…
“Some countries like us, Saudi Arabia and some other Western European countries have said that a ground operation is necessary,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Reuters in an interview.
However, this kind of action could not be left to regional powers alone. “To expect this only from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar is neither right nor realistic. If such an operation is to take place, it has to be carried out jointly, like the (coalition) air strikes,” he said.
The Turks and the Saudis very much want the United States to take a leading role in any ground invasion of Syria, but the Obama administration is not likely to do that.
So we shall see if the Turks and the Saudis are willing to go ahead without us. Let us hope that they do not decide to invade Syria, because that could start the biggest war in the Middle East that any of us have ever seen.
Unfortunately, Turkey is already attacking.
Turkey has been shelling Kurdish and Syrian military positions in northern Syria for four days in a row even though the Obama administration has been urging them to stop.
The first month and a half of 2016 has already been quite chaotic, and the stage is set for global events to greatly accelerate during the months ahead.
Sadly, the mainstream media in the United States is largely ignoring the preparations for a ground invasion of Syria, and they keep telling us that the global economy is going to be just fine, so most ordinary Americans are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is about to happen.