Americans consume goods other people produce. As America offshored its manufacturing, it promised to supply the world with high-priced services and technology in exchange. But as it turns out, that promise never materialized.
The ballooning overall trade deficit bears this out. It leaped to another record high in March, surging 5.6% month-on-month to a new worst-ever $74.5 billion. That was 52% worse than in March 2019.
We’ve talked a lot about government debt and consumer debt. In this episode of the SchiffGold Friday Gold Wrap, host Mike Maharrey highlights the massive corporate debt bubble. As he explains, it’s eerily similar to the mortgage debt bubble the blew up in the years prior to the 2008 crash. It’s a little like deja vu all over again. He also covers another round of gloomy economic data that came out this week.
Last week, we got bad news in the manufacturing sector. The ISM index of national factory activity dropped to a 10-year low. It was the second straight month the number was below 50, which indicates a contraction in manufacturing. That news sent stock markets into a tailspin. This was followed up by a very week service sector report the following day.
In his most recent podcast, Peter Schiff said the service sector is about to follow manufacturing into recession. He also talked about the recent employment numbers and explained how the Fed is acting like a Soviet Politburo.
It was a bumpy ride in the markets this week. Right now, volatility is the name of the game – in both stocks and precious metals. People are getting nervous out there with some pretty grim economic data this week stirring up recession fears. Meanwhile, the US government just keeps spending money it doesn’t have. Host Mike Maharrey talks about all of this and more in this week’s episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast.
During his podcast earlier this week, Peter Schiff said “the party is over” in the stock market. As if on cue, the Dow Jones is off to the worst start in a quarter since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Dow plunged 494.4 points on Wednesday, a 1.86% decline. Combined with Tuesday’s 343.7 point drop, the Dow is down more than 3% in two days. The 800-plus point slide is the worst start to a quarter since the last three months of 2008. In the fourth quarter of that year, the Dow fell 19.4%.
As Peter Schiff put it in his podcast, if the first trading day of the fourth quarter was a sign of things to come, bulls on Wall Street are in for a rough end to the year. In fact, Peter said the party is over and you don’t want to be the last one to leave.
US manufacturing activity contracted in August, according to the latest data.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) PMI index for August came in at 49.1. Any number under 50 signals a drop in manufacturing. This was the first contraction in three years and the first time the index has dropped below 50 since August 2016. August marked the fifth straight monthly decline.
Meanwhile, IHS Markit PMI hit 50.3, the lowest number since September 2009 – in the aftermath of 2008 crash.
We got more signs that the economy is slowing down this week. And yet pundits and policymakers keep insisting everything is great.
In his latest podcast, Peter Schiff says he thinks people like Donald Trump and Larry Kudlow know deep down that things aren’t that great, but they want to keep kicking the can down the road for political reasons.
In a podcast earlier this month, Peter Schiff talked about the “twin deficits” of national debt and trade. We’ve talked a lot about the federal debt spiral, and there has even been some discussion about it in the mainstream. But almost nobody is paying attention to the growing trade deficit. Peter is an exception. When the August numbers came out earlier this month, Peter noted it was the largest trade deficit in merchandise since the summer of 2008. And what happened right after the summer of 2008? The collapse of 2008.
The reason the trade deficit got that big is before the collapse, we had a bubble. We had a consumer debt binge where all the cheap money that was being created was feeding imports because Americans were taking their incomes, or their cheap money, and buying imported products. And so the big trade deficit was evidence of the bubble. And of course, the big trade deficits in and of themselves are unstainable.”
Antonius Aquinas has also taken note of the trade deficit. In the following article, he points out that tariffs aren’t going to make America Great Again. We need savings and investment, not a trade war.