International Forecaster Weekly

A New Era of Unrestrained Mercantilism

A new era of unrestrained mercantilism, phantom ravages of terrorism, the thread of private armies, banks sitting on buyout loans, a question of lending fraud

Bob Chapman | October 15, 2007

If there are no borders or tariffs, transnational conglomerates, banks and central banks, etc. would be able to operate at will and impoverish just about everyone. It is the old British mercantilism on the loose again. The major banks of the world think they control the world presently and to a great extent that is about to come to an end. The financial system worldwide is now out of control and there is no way to regain control. All the elitists can do is stop a crash landing. This is in part why we have mercenary armies on our soil and under contract to government. They will be used to control the public under Martial law. These elitist conglomerates even have their own intelligence sections and they employ those mercenary outfits to provide security.

The latest blast from the White House was to prepare for terror. This is the call for states and cities to make contracts with private security companies to hire mercenaries to guard companies and even communities against the phantom ravages of terrorism. Better yet, it is a step along the road to Martial law. We are hearing stories of entire communities being put behind walls and barbed wire with mercenaries guarding the complexes 24/7 to assure safety. We read 36 publications a day in 5 languages, most American publications, and we cannot believe the crime we see. Their precautions are not just against crime, they are being pushed against communities by Washington and the likes of Blackwater to fend off terrorists. Private armies are in vogue and that is not good, because there forces could as well quickly become the enemy at the command of government. The then against us mentality is beginning to show its face in wealthy communities and among elitists. What the elitists are attempting won’t work if for no other reason than there are too many have-nots, and as they found out in the French Revolution you cannot kill them all, there are just too many of them. These multinational, transnational types may have their private armies but in the final analysis it won’t give them protection they seek. People are going to be very mad when they finally realize what has been done to them, and they won’t be taking any prisoners. You might say Mad Max lives.

The Wall Street Journal says that despite the seeming easing of the credit crisis in the wake of last month’s aggressive easing by the Fed, banks are still sitting on hundreds of billions of buyout loans. The paper adds that unless the pace of sales picks up, the banks will be stuck with $400 to $800 billion in toxic loans for sometime to come, and a scenario that will prove problematic if the economy slows, which it will, and corporate profits head south, which they will.

Only the highest quality tranches are finding takers, the paper is being sold at discounted levels. Only $30 billion of $310 billion of North American LBO loans has been sold so far, with $100 billion in debt expected to hit the market in just the next month. On Tuesday, the big Tocom shorts cut their net shorts by 3,370 contracts to 42,195, as Goldman increased their shorts by 27 contracts to 12,531. Silver shorts were cut by 182 contracts to 2,008.

Only a little more than a year is left before George and the neocons leave office and they have issued a new Homeland Security strategy calling on citizens and governments to develop a “culture of preparedness” to deal with natural disasters and terrorism. The 53-word document emphasizes an all-hazards approach to disasters.

First is the focus on al Qaeda’s desire to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Then there is the spread of improvised explosive devices from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan to America. The policy is ludicrous. It is more fear mongering to create an enemy that doesn’t exist to keep the American populace in fear. This is also an effort to assure that Congress gives the president authority to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists in order to build a more perfect police state. We are being prepared for something that doesn’t exist, or exists only in the diseased minds of the administration.

America’s mortgage crisis is going to get considerably worse because of the level of fraudulent lending by mortgage originators and banks is much higher than previously estimated and we predicted. Defaults on subprime mortgages will continue to soar for another 18 months as unqualified mortgage holders struggle to meet their repayments, and tightening credit markets make ARM resets impossible. Our projection for economic growth in 2007 is 2% and zero to 1% in 2008. Thus, as unemployment rises more panic will ensue. Our big question is if governments tell us there has been so much fraud, why haven’t they brought criminal charges against lenders? The answer is if they do the world will find out that the Fed and our government encouraged the fraudulent lending – that is why. Then we will have to indict the people who approved and sanctioned such actions, such as Sir Alan Greenspan and our President.

In August foreclosures jumped 115% to 243,947 yoy, or one in 510 households of which about 40% end in forced sale or repossession. As this takes place house prices fall exacerbating the situation.

In the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, new housing projects fell 30% during the third quarter yoy and sales of new homes fell 20% with homes under $200,000 seeing the biggest decline. Cargo containers coming into US ports were supposed to set a record this year, but in reality imports are shrinking, off 1.4%.

The average vacancy rate in strip malls stands at 7.3% as of 6/30/07, and is expected to rise to 7.6% by yearend, the highest level since 1935.

The US Treasury 2007 budget deficit reported in at $162.8 billion as of 9/30 and the prior deficit was revised to $248.2 billion from $247.7 billion.

Home foreclosures doubled in September you at 223,538, including default and auction notices and bank repossessions, an 8% decline in August. California led the way with 51,259 and Florida was second with 33,354. That is one for every 557 households.

The Business Council and Conference Board found that 44.3% of 61 top CEO’s forecast economic conditions in their own industry would get worse over the next six months, while 16.4% see improvement. Thirty-nine percent see conditions unchanged; 24.4% saw worsening conditions, while 60% saw conditions staying the same.

Countrywide funded 44% fewer mortgage loans in September, while delinquencies increased and foreclosures doubled. They cut 4,935 jobs last month, leaving them with 55,932. They will cut 12,000 jobs, or 20% by December.

What the public is finally starting to realize is that inflation is a deliberate policy that will go on endlessly. People now looking for a crunch-up boom and soon everyone will want to swap dollars for real goods, no matter whether they need them or not. The idea is to get rid of the fiat currency. This happened to the continental currency of 1781 and to the French mandates territoriaux in 1796, and with the German marks in 1923.

September import price index increases were 1% mom and 5.2% yoy. This is inflationary as our government and the Fed members tell us they see no import price inflation.