Felix Zulauf, living legend and veteran member of the Barron’s Roundtable, lays out his still-bearish thesis in the magazine’s mid-year update this weekend…
So what will happen next?
The euro is not the real problem but a trigger and compounder of the structural problems. It could only work if the euro zone entered a fiscal and political union, which won’t happen, as Europeans aren’t prepared to give up national sovereignty. Politicians therefore will go from one compromise and quick fix to the next, with the crisis deepening until some nations at the periphery won’t be able to stand the economic pain anymore. They will want their old national currency back, and devalue to adjust the external accounts.
China won’t be able to save us, as it did in 2009. The Chinese will lower interest rates but their actions will be reactive and lag. If my thesis is right, we must assume things will go awfully wrong in the next 12 months and the system will be at risk of collapsing. Most U.S.-focused investors might not understand it as they see corporations doing well.
How bad will things get?
The potential exists for a broad-based nationalization of the credit system, capital controls and dramatic restrictions on financial markets. Some might even be closed for some time.
We are witnessing the biggest financial-market manipulation of all time. The authorities have intervened more and more, and thereby created this monster. They might change the rules when the game goes against their own interests.
We are in a severe credit crunch. It starts when the weakest links in the system can’t finance their activities. Then you have a flight to safety into Treasuries and German bunds, compounded by a quasi-shortage of good collateral. That’s why bond yields have fallen so low. This isn’t an inflationary environment but a deflationary one.