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Not since the 2008 stock market crash have we seen so much bad economic collapse data come rolling in all at the same time. Even without a major conflict with Iran, which by the way is looking increasingly likely with each passing day, it definitely appears that the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward economic collapse territory. The employment numbers for last month were abysmal, global trade has collapsed to the lowest level that we have seen since the last recession, and manufacturing numbers just keep getting worse and worse. In fact, the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month stock market crash in history. Not even during the last financial collapse did we witness a plunge of that magnitude.
And other measures of U.S. manufacturing activity are also “sinking steadily” When you step back and look at the big picture, it becomes quite clear what is happening. At this point, it is simply not possible for anyone to credibly claim that the U.S. economy is still in good shape. All of the numbers are pointing in the same direction, and Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist Michael Wilson made this point exceedingly well on Monday. Decelerations and disappointments are mounting: Cass Freight Index, Retailer earnings, Durable goods orders, Capital spending, PMIs, May payrolls, Semiconductor inventories, Oil demand, Restaurant performance indices, and our own Morgan Stanley Business Conditions Index (MSBCI). Looking at the MSBCI in particular, the headline metric showed the biggest one-month stock market crash in its history going back to 2002 and very close to its lowest absolute reading since December 2008.
Many analysts are pointing out that the next economic collapse is really seemed to start accelerating once trade negotiations with China completely broke down, and this is true. At this point the Chinese are extremely angry, and they are definitely in no mood to compromise. In fact, one Chinese editorial that was recently published boldly declared that they are ready “to fight it out till the end”. And if a trade war with China wasn’t enough, now we also have a trade war with India to deal with. In fact, India just hit U.S. exports with a wave of very large tariffs.
We were certainly heading for an economic crisis even without these trade conflicts, but without a doubt they have made things substantially worse. And now is definitely not a good time for a crisis, because much of the country is completely and utterly unprepared for the imminent economic collapse.
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