Friday, July 8, 2016

This 5,000 Year Low Is Ruining Your Retirement

By Justin Spittler

The global banking system, and your financial future, are at serious risk right now. To understand why, just look at what's going on with the government's latest radical policy. Regular Dispatch readers know we're talking about rock bottom interest rates. According to MarketWatch, global interest rates are at the lowest level in 5,000 years. Credit is cheaper right now than at any point since the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt, around the 32nd century BC. Today, we'll explain what this means and how to protect yourself going forward..…

Interest rates didn’t get this low “naturally.” They’re at record lows because central bankers put them there..…
In 2008, the Federal Reserve dropped its key rate to near zero to fight the financial crisis. It’s kept rates there for eight years to encourage borrowing and spending. Other major central banks did the same thing. According to MarketWatch, there have been more than 650 rate cuts since September 2008. Rates in Canada and England are also near zero. In Europe and Japan, rates are below zero.

As we’ve explained before, negative interest rates basically tax your bank account. Instead of earning interest on the money in your bank account, you pay the bank. Not long ago, negative rates were unheard of. Today, more than $12 trillion worth of government bonds pay negative rates, up from $6 trillion in February. 

They’ve even seeped into the corporate debt market. According to Bloomberg Business, more than $300 billion worth of corporate bonds now “tax” bondholders. Central bankers told us low and negative rates would “stimulate” the economy. But, as you’re about to see, they’ve done far more harm than good.

Central bankers made it much harder to retire..…
That’s because rock bottom rates don’t just make it cheap to borrow money. They make it tough to earn a decent return. From 1962 to 2007, a U.S. 10 year Treasury paid an average annual interest rate of 7.0%. Today, a U.S. 10 year Treasury yields just 1.5%, an all time low. It’s the same story around the world. Last week, 10 year bonds in Ireland, England, Germany, France, and Japan all fell to record lows. In Japan, you actually have to pay the government 0.23% every year you own one of its 10 year bonds.

This is a serious problem for hundreds of millions of people. For decades, retirees could earn a safe, decent return owning these bonds. Some folks even lived off the interest they earned from these bonds. These days, you have to own riskier assets like stocks to have any shot at a decent return. Central bankers have effectively forced retirees to gamble with their life savings. Rock bottom rates are a serious threat to major financial institutions too.

According to U.S. banking giant Citigroup (C), low and negative rates are “poison” to the global financial system..…
They could make pension funds, insurance companies, and banks “no longer viable in the long term.” Business Insider reported last week:
As Citi notes: "Viability in its strong sense means profitability (a rate of return on equity at least equal to the cost of capital). In its weak sense, viability means solvency." Basically, Citi is warning that the negative rates may stop institutions being able to make money, which in turn would hit their ability to pay out on things like pensions and insurance policies.
This is a major risk even if you don’t have a pension or life insurance policy. That’s because pension and insurance companies oversee trillions of dollars. They’re pillars of the global financial system…and negative rates are destroying them.

Rock bottom rates could also put some of the world’s biggest banks out of business..…
You see, banks earn most of their money making loans. When rates are high, they make more on each loan. When rates are at record lows, like they are today, banks often lose money. Business Insider explains how today’s record-low rates are starving banks of income:
Citi points out that: "Banks in large part live off the differentials between lending and borrowing rates or between investment returns and funding rates." Persistently low interest rates could hit these differentials, lowering profitability and seriously harming banks in the long run.
Profits at America’s four biggest banks fell by an average of 13% during the first quarter…
This group includes Citigroup, Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC), and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM). European banks are doing even worse. Swiss bank UBS’s (UBS) profits plunged 64% during the first quarter. Profits at Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany’s biggest lender, fell 58%. Spanish banking giant BBVA’s (BBVA) earnings fell 54%. The CEO of Deutsche Bank warned last month:
In the banking world, we are currently struggling with negative interest rates.
We will struggle more as the effect of those negative interest rates plays out into our deposit books.
Dispatch readers know some of Europe’s most important financial institutions are looking for ways to get around negative rates..…
Commerzbank, one of Germany’s largest banks, said last month that it was thinking of pulling money out of Europe’s banking system to avoid paying negative rates. Other banks have started making riskier loans and buying riskier assets to offset rock-bottom rates. The Financial Times reported in March:
Gonzalo Gort├ízar, chief executive at Spain’s Caixabank, expressed concerns about a build up of risk in the banking system as a whole. “In a world of low or negative interest rates, that is a possible consequence; you could see banks taking more risk,” he said.
Longtime readers know excessive risk-taking by banks contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. As a result, the S&P 500 plunged 57% from 2007 to 2009. And the U.S. entered its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Bank stocks are already trading like a financial crisis has begun..…
Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CS) has plummeted 63% over the past year. Deutsche Bank is down 60%. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is down 59%. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), Japan’s biggest bank, is down 39%. These are huge drops in short periods. Remember, these are some of the most important financial institutions on the planet.

We encourage you to take action now..…
Our first recommendation is to avoid bank stocks. Low and negative rates are eating these companies alive right now. And it could be years before governments abandon these failed policies. According to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, low interest rates are the “new normal.” We also encourage you to own physical gold. As we like to remind readers, gold is real money. It’s preserved wealth for centuries because it has a rare set of characteristics: It’s durable, easy to transport, and easily divisible. A gold coin is valuable anywhere in the world.

This year, gold has jumped 26%. It’s trading at its highest price in two years. But Casey Research founder Doug Casey says this rally is just getting started. According to Doug, gold could soar 500% or more in the coming years. If you’re nervous that central bankers will take this interest rate experiment too far, own gold. It’s the best way to protect yourself from desperate governments.

We also encourage you to watch this short presentation. It explains how these failed monetary policies could spark something much worse than a banking crisis. As you’ll see, this is a threat to you even if you don’t a have a single penny in the stock market. Click here to watch this free video.

Chart of the Day

Deutsche Bank is trading like a financial crisis has begun. Today’s chart shows the performance of the German banking giant. You can see its stock is down more than 50% over the past year. Last Thursday, it hit it a new record low. Like other European lenders, low rates are killing Deutsche Bank. Last year, the company lost $7.5 billion. It was its first annual loss since the 2008 financial crisis. And yet, its plunging stock suggests more bad results are on the way.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Deutsche Bank is the world’s riskiest financial institution. That’s a problem even if you don’t keep money with Deutsche Bank or own its shares. The Wall Street Journal reported last week:
The IMF also said the German banking system poses a higher degree of possible outward contagion compared with the risks it poses internally. “In particular, Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. have the highest degree of outward spillovers as measured by the average percentage of capital loss of other banking systems due to banking sector shock in the source country,” the IMF added.
In other words, problems at Deutsche Bank could spread to other banks around the world. It’s another reason why you should avoid bank stocks and own gold right now.




The article This 5,000-Year Low Is Ruining Your Retirement was originally published at caseyresearch.com.


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Warning: This Could Be the Start of a Global Banking Crisis

By Justin Spittler

Europe’s banking system is collapsing. Over the past year, shares of Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany’s biggest bank, have plunged 56%. Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse (CS) is down 62% over the same period. Yesterday, both stocks hit record lows.

Dozens of other European bank stocks have also crashed. The Euro STOXX Banks, which tracks 48 of Europe’s largest banks, is down 48% over the past year. This is a major issue. That's because banks are the cornerstone of the financial system. They keep money flowing through the economy. If they’re struggling, it often means the economy is having major problems. Right now, European banks are flashing bright warning signs. That’s not just bad news for Europe—it’s also a serious threat to the rest of the world.

In today’s Dispatch, we’ll show you why Europe’s banking crisis could turn into a global banking crisis. You’ll also learn how to transform this threat into a chance to make big gains.

European banks are struggling to make money..…
Spanish banking giant BBVA’s (BBVA) profits fell 54% last quarter. First quarter profits at Deutsche Bank were down 58%. Swiss bank UBS’s (UBS) profits plunged 64%. European banks are hurting for a couple reasons. One, Europe is growing at the slowest pace in decades. Banks are making fewer loans as a result.

Two, negative interest rates are eating European banks alive. If you’ve been reading the Dispatch, you know negative rates are the latest radical government policy. They basically flip your bank account upside down. Instead of earning interest for keeping money in the bank, you pay the bank to hold your money.

Negative rates are clearly bad for savers. They’re also hurting Europe's biggest banks. That’s because these huge institutions have to pay their “bank,” the European Central Bank (ECB). Today, European banks pay £4 for every £1,000 they store at the ECB for a year. That might not sound like a lot. But it adds up quick when you manage trillions of euros like these banks do.

Last week, investors got another reason to avoid European banks..…
On Thursday, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), which it’s been in since 1973.
The “Brexit,” as the media is calling it, blindsided investors. As we explained yesterday, the market was expecting Great Britain to stay in EU. The unexpected outcome triggered a global stock market crash.

U.S. stocks had their worst day since August. Japanese stocks had their worst day in five years. European stocks had their biggest decline since the 2008 financial crisis. Friday’s global selloff erased $2.1 trillion in value from global stocks. It was the global stock market’s worst day in history. The panic didn’t die down much over the weekend. By the end of Monday, another $930 billion had disappeared from the global stock market.

European bank stocks were hit the hardest..…
Deutsche Bank plunged 22% between Friday and Monday. Credit Suisse fell 23%. UBS fell 20%. Barclays (BCS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) each plunged 37%. Both stocks are down more than 57% over the past year. These are gigantic moves in a matter of days. Remember, we’re not talking about small biotech stocks. These are some of the most important financial institutions on the planet.

Government officials are scrambling to contain the crisis..…
Today, the Bank of England (BoE) injected £3.1 billion into Britain’s banking system. It’s pledged to inject as much as £250 billion to stabilize its financial system. The BoE made its cash injection hours after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) pumped $1.5 billion into its banking system. As we'll show you in a second, we don't believe this will end well. That's because this excessive money printing (sometimes called "quantitative easing") doesn't stimulate the economy like governments intend it to.

Credit Suisse says other central banks could soon print more money too. Bloomberg Business reported on Friday:
“Market liquidity and overall liquidity in the U.K. is drying up as we speak in a very rapid way,” said John Woods, chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific at Credit Suisse Private Banking, told Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong. “It’s highly likely that we see monetary easing in a coordinated response” from central banks across the world, he said.
Great Britain is headed for a recession..…
A recession is when an economy shrinks two quarters in a row. Goldman Sachs (GS) says Britain could be in a recession by early 2017. But here’s the thing. We don’t think the BoE will let this happen. That’s because central bankers will do anything, including using reckless, unproven monetary policies, to avoid a recession these days.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s agrees with us. Reuters reported today:
"Brexit is likely to represent a drag of about 1.2 percent of GDP for the UK in 2017," Jean-Michel Six, S&P's chief economist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa told a conference call for investors on Tuesday. "We have a significant slowdown but growth remains positive although obviously in a much more disappointing way. That is because we anticipate a very strong monetary response on the part of the Bank of England, in the form of additional quantitative easing, in the form of a further cut in interest rates," he added.
Bank of America (BAC) and Deutsche Bank also expect the BoE to fire up the printing press again. Bank of America says it could happen as soon as August.

QE won’t help Great Britain’s economy..…
As we told you above, QE doesn’t work. As regular readers know, the Federal Reserve pumped $3.5 trillion into the U.S financial system after the 2008 financial crisis. This massive money printing effort was supposed to juice the economy. But the U.S. is growing at its slowest pace since World War II. QE also failed to jumpstart Japan’s economy, which hasn’t grown in two decades. There’s no reason to think it will work this time.

If you’re nervous about the global financial system, we encourage you to take action today.…
The first thing you should do is own physical gold. Gold is real money. It’s held its value for thousands of years because it has a unique set of attributes: It’s easy to transport, easily divisible, and durable. You can take a gold coin anywhere in the world and folks will immediately recognize its value.

Unlike paper money, central bankers cannot create gold from nothing. It’s the ultimate antidote to crumbling paper currencies. That’s why the price of gold often soars when governments print money. This year, gold is up 24%. It’s trading at the highest price in two years. But it could go much higher as governments continue to run reckless monetary experiments.

If you want big profits from rising gold prices, own gold stocks..…
Dispatch readers know gold miners are leveraged to the price of gold. A small jump in the price of gold can cause gold stocks to surge. Gold’s 24% jump this year has caused GDX, a fund that tracks large gold stocks, to soar 96%. We believe this gold stock rally is just getting started. During the 2000 and 2003 gold bull market, the average gold stock gained 602%. The best ones soared 1,000% or more.

Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, has recommended two gold stocks this year..…
He already closed out one of them for a quick double. It surged 103% in 14 months. Nick’s other gold stock is up 30% since March and is still dirt cheap at today's levels. Nick currently rates this stock a "Buy"…and says it could soon start paying a double digit dividend yield if gold keeps rising.

You can learn more about Nick’s gold stock by taking advantage of our special 60%-off sale for Crisis Investing. If you sign up today, you’ll be enrolled in a trial membership, which gives you 90 days risk-free to decide if the service is for you. But we encourage you to act soon. This special offer ends soon, and we likely won’t open this offer again for a long time.

You can learn more about this incredible offer by watching this video presentation. You’ll also learn about an even bigger threat to your wealth than Europe’s banking crisis. As you’ll see, almost no one is talking about this coming crisis. Yet, it could cause millions of Americans to lose their entire life savings. By the end of this video, you’ll know how to protect yourself. And just as importantly, you’ll know how to profit from this coming crisis. Click here to watch this free video.

Chart of the Day

U.S. bank stocks are also headed lower. Today’s chart shows the performance of the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) over the past year. XLF holds 94 major U.S. financial companies including behemoths JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Bank of America (BAC). You can see XLF is down 11% since last June. While that's not as severe as the near 50% drop in European banks over the same period, it's still a clear sign to stay away.

U.S. banks have many of the same problems as European banks. Like Europe, the U.S. economy is growing at the slowest pace in decades. And while the U.S. economy doesn’t have negative rates yet, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said they aren’t “off the table” if the U.S. economy runs into trouble. The arrival of negative rates to the U.S. could tip bank stocks into a crisis, just like they have in Europe.




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