|A moeda americana perdeu até 10 Ago 2006 36% do seu valor face ao Euro|
Aceleração de uma crise sistémica global
O Laboratório europeu de Antecipação Política Europa 2020, a que estão associados os investigadores Franck Biancheri, Régis Jamin, Ricardo Migueis e Thierry Warin, entre outros, chegou ao conhecimento de muitos de nós após ter antecipado a 15 de Fevereiro de 2006 a crise económica e política global em que estamos a entrar. Com regularidade mensal, este boletim coloca à disposição dos seus assinantes informação profissional especializada sobre as tendências evolutivas estruturais da cena europeia e internacional. O facto de podermos contar com uma versão portuguesa dos boletins deste think tank a partir da edição do passado mês de Março, merece uma chamada de atenção especial. Transcrevo um resumo do comunicado público que entretanto me chegou à caixa de correio electrónico.
Entrada na fase 2 da crise sistémica Global, a fase de aceleração: sete consequências concretas para os actores e decisores económicos e políticos
O LEAP/E2020 anunciou, em 15 de Fevereiro de 2006, o despoletar de uma crise sistémica global para o fim do mês de Março seguinte. Hoje, a meio de Maio de 2006, o LEAP/2020 pode anunciar que esta fase inicial da crise sistémica global está quase terminada e que, a partir do início de Junho de 2006, a crise vai entrar na sua fase de aceleração. Antes de detalhar as suas principais características, o LEAP/2020 julga no entanto útil explicitar o modo de desenvolvimento de uma tal crise sistémica.
Uma crise sistémica global desenvolve-se segundo um processo complexo de que podemos destacar quatro fases que se podem interpenetrar:
uma primeira fase, dita de «despoletamento», que subitamente vê convergirem e entrarem em interacção toda uma série de factores, até agora desligados, a qual é essencialmente perceptível pelos observadores atentos e pelos actores principais.
uma segunda fase, dita de «aceleração», que se caracteriza por uma brutal tomada de consciência por parte da grande maioria dos actores e observadores de que a crise se instalou em definitivo, na medida em que rapidamente começa a afectar um número cada vez maior de componentes do sistema.
uma terceira fase, dita de «impacto», que é constituída pela transformação radical do próprio sistema em si (implosão e/ou explosão) sob o efeito de factores acumulados, e que afecta simultaneamente a sua integridade.
e por fim, uma quarta fase, dita de «decantação» que vê surgirem as características do novo sistema saído da crise.
No caso da actual crise sistémica global, o LEAP/2020 considera a partir de agora que a fase inicial, de despoletamento, está a terminar e que ao longo de Junho de 2006, o mundo vai entrar na fase de aceleração da crise.
Assim, em menos de três meses, todo um conjunto de «certezas» sobre o futuro foram postas em causa (dominação «inelutável» do Dólar, «retorno» ao petróleo barato, solução pacífica do conflito Irão/Usa, durabilidade da «bolha imobiliária» americana, «domínio» dos Estados Unidos sobre os outros actores mundiais chave que são a China e a Rússia, ...) e um grande número de indicadores apontam a partir de agora para direcções convergentes de desequilíbrio do sistema actual (subida vertiginosa do preço do ouro e dos metais preciosos, aumento das pressões inflacionistas, novo aumento das taxas de juro, aproximação do Euro aos 1,30 US$, transformação em Euros de um crescente montante de reservas de bancos centrais, subida das moedas asiáticas, crises bolsistas e monetárias em muitas regiões do mundo, multiplicação, desde há cerca de um mês, de artigos na grande imprensa mundial e nacional mencionando os termos «krach, crise, colapso, risco de conflito, ...»).
Esta fase de despoletamento desempenha de facto, de acordo com a equipe do LEAP/2020, o papel de período de «aprendizagem» para os actores do sistema. Alguns anteciparam correctamente as evoluções e apostaram na ruptura com as tendências que supostamente dominavam o sistema. E se, há apenas algumas semanas, pareciam marginais e inconscientes aos olhos da maioria dos actores, a partir de agora aparecem como aqueles que souberam «ganhar» enquanto que a maioria começa a constatar que «perdeu» ao seguir as tendências «normais» do sistema. Esta «aprendizagem» tem consequências cumulativas e reforça consideravelmente de seguida, e muito rapidamente, as tendências de ruptura em curso. É este fenómeno, nomeadamente, que induz a passagem da fase de despoletamento à de aceleração da crise. Por outro lado, reforça igualmente as convicções dos actores estratégicos que se envolveram em lógicas de ruptura (ou que anteciparam as rupturas) com o sistema instalado; o que enfraquece de forma duradoura as capacidades de regulação do sistema, uma vez que ele faz de ora avante face a uma crise de confiança em vias de generalização. Ora, no sistema global herdado do pós Segunda Guerra Mundial e transformado pelo fim da Cortina de Ferro, tanto no domínio financeiro, como económico, monetário ou estratégico, o essencial repousa na confiança acordada entre todos num actor central (os Estados Unidos) e nos vários componentes da sua força. A passagem da fase 1 à fase 2 marca o colapso desta confiança nos vários domínios.
O LEAP/2020 considera portanto que é no decurso do mês de Junho de 2006 que estas perdas sectoriais de confiança, em vias de generalização em cada sector, deverão convergir para produzirem a aceleração do processo de crise. Esta aceleração que deverá estender-se por um período de 3 a 6 meses, terá, nomeadamente, sete consequências concretas essenciais:
O colapso acelerado do dólar
Uma crise sócio política interna nos EUA
Um conflito militar Irão/EUA/Israel
Um aumento da inflação mundial
A ruptura do processo de globalização comercial e económica
A emergência acelerada de novos «blocos» regionais/continentais
Um reequilíbrio do valor relativo dos activos mundiais.
A passagem à fase 3 (dita de «impacto») do processo de crise sistémica global dar-se-á quando pelo menos quatro dos factores precipitados forem reconhecidos. Paralelamente, no decurso desta fase de aceleração, será já possível discernir certas tendências que moldarão o futuro sistema global, e portanto, começar a adoptar as decisões e as políticas que preparam o futuro da pós-crise.
Estas são as várias análises que o LEAP/2020 desenvolve na edição nº5 do seu GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin.
O imperialismo made in USA, na realidade um imperialismo bicéfalo (como bem demonstrou William Engdahl em A Century of Wars) assentou num conjunto articulado de supremacias praticamente imbatível: a supremacia científica, a supremacia tecnológica, a supremacia logística, a supremacia estritamente económica (produtiva, comercial e gestionária), a supremacia militar e a... dolarização dos mercados. Se virmos bem, o que a queda do muro de Berlim e o fim da bipolarização mundial permitiram foi entender de forma clara esta simples realidade. A chamada divisão internacional do trabalho impôs uma desigualdade inaudita no planeta. Mas foi precisamente essa desigualdade que armadilhou a própria sobranceria distraída do Ocidente. Os capitais voaram para as grandes reservas de trabalho barato, onde inesperadamente as taxas de crescimento e a rentabilidade dos investimentos dispararam para níveis incomparáveis com os magros crescimentos das nações desenvolvidas, onde o paradigma do consumo substituira dramaticamente o paradigma da poupança. Os Estados Unidos, emissores da moeda padrão mundial, decidiram imprimir papel dinheiro com uma correspondência cada vez mais fictícia com a sua própria riqueza, financiando desta forma fraudulenta o cada vez menos convincente sonho americano. Algum dia a bolha teria que estourar... Ao contrário dos velhos tempos do síndroma anti-comunista, agora não há argumentos convincentes para continuar a sobre-exploração da Ásia, da América latina e do Médio Oriente usando ou ameaçando usar a mão pesada da supremaica militar. A guerra anti-terrorista tem-se vindo a revelar como uma cada vez mais frágil cortina de fumo destinada a prosseguir práticas civilizacionais inaceitáveis, à luz da lei internacional e da cultura. As crises iraniana, afegã e libanesa vieram mostrar até que ponto a supremacia do grande jogo anglo-saxónico anda pelas ruas da amargura. China e Rússia não tolerarão, ou farão pagar muito caro, uma aventura militar contra o Irão. Mas se, pela estupidez de Bush, de Blair e de Israel, o dito império ainda não tiver chegado ao fim, pior para todos nós!
Sobre este tema vale a pena ler alguns textos particularmente oportunos (actualizado em 14 Ago 2006):
The Currrent Risks of a 1987-Style Finantial Meltdown: The Scary Similarities between 2006 and 1987
by Nouriel Roubin (Aug 12, 2006)
Today you have trade protectionism and asset protectionism; hedgy and trigger-happy investors and rising geopolitical risks; the risk of a disorderly fall in the US dollar; a slush of financial derivatives that are a black box that no one truly understands (the operational risk in credit derivatives is only the tip of much larger systemic risk iceberg in these instruments, as the pricing of these instruments has not been tested in a real cycle of increasing corporate bankruptcies); increasing VARs and growing levels of leverage; frothy markets where years of too easy money have created bubbles galore the latest in housing that are ready to burst; a bubble of thousands of new hedge funds with inexperienced managers that have no supervision or regulation of their activities; risk management techniques in financial institutions that miserably fail to truly stress test for fat tail events; hedging strategies that like in 1987 can hedge nothing once everyone is rushing to the doors and dumping assets at the same time; and a housing markets whose rout may trigger systemic effects through the mortgage backed securities market and the non-transparent hedging activities of the GSEs.
This is a toxic and combustive mix of volatile elements that can lead to a financial explosion and meltdown. And it may take any small match to trigger it: a trade war scare mongering, scorning the foreigners that finance you with restrictions to inward FDI, talking down the dollar to bully China and the US trade partners, a flip-flopping monetary policy, a further spike in oil prices, an event of terrorism or a wider Mid East conflict, a housing market rout rattling the MBS market, the collapse of a large and systemically- relevant hedge fund or of another highly-leveraged financial institution, a Chapter 11 event for a major US corporation such as Ford or GM leading to systemic effects in the credit derivatives market. There is indeed an embarrassment of riches in terms of factors that can trigger a financial meltdown. A single factor among those discussed above may be enough to trigger it; and the risk that a variety of such factors may simultaneously emerge is increasing.
So, to paraphrase Bette Davis in "All About Eve": Fasten your seat belts; it's gonna be a bumpy ride ahead for financial markets and the global economy?
Of course, some will point out to some of the "truly" better news of the last few days (ISM report, consumer confidence, construction spending, etc.) But when you scratch the surface of those "bullish" reports, the details are not as good as their headlines (as I will discuss in a future blog)....So I stick with my bearish call for a sharp US slowdown in H2 2006 and a recession by Q1 of 2007 and to my view that the Fed will not be able to prevent such slowdown even if it were to pause and then ease. I am willing to listen to contrary arguments and to read some better "news" than those above if anyone is able to provide some.
US Dollar - Killing me softly
by Chad Geraigiri (August 10, 2006)
With he US's current deficit at 7% of gross domestic product, foreign banks are looking to diversify more aggressively into Euros and Gold. This move away from the US Dollar is a serious risk of a sell-off.
Italy's central bank has started diversifying into the British Pound (currently trading at almost 2 to 1 against the US Dollar) by investing 25% of its foreign currency reserves into the sterling, dumping billions in US Treasury bonds. Its US Dollar holdings went from 84% to 63%, a sure sign that it is losing faith in the economic stability of the US dollar. This move was in anticipation of a dollar slide due to an interest rate cycle peak and the US's national debt approaching $8.45 trillion.
This move will surely encourage other European nations to follow suit. Sweden announced in April that it had cut its dollar holdings from 37% to 20%. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have both hinted at their intentions to diversify into Euros and Gold. Switzerland switched 10% of its reserves to pounds in 2004. Russia cut its US dollar holdings from 66% to 40%. China has a made a statement that it would diversify away from dollars into Gold and possibly Euros.
Japan and China are the two largest holders of US Treasuries and could face a serious crisis if they were to diversify away from the dollar too fast. As the saying goes "If you owe the bank $100,000 the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $100 Million you own the bank" and that's what will keep the dollar from crashing but not from a steady decline.
Considering the current economic imbalances in the U.S., the dollar cannot remain the currency of choice. Let's examine the following chart of the U.S. dollar vs the Euro: the US Dollar went from a high of 134.5 down to 84.95 as of today's close, a drop of more than 36%.
Shanghai grouping moves centre stage
by Philippa Fogarty BBC News (June 14, 2006)
Leaders from Russia, China and Central Asian states meet in Shanghai on Thursday for what will be the most high profile meeting to date of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The Incredible Shrinking US
by Helena Cobban (June 9, 2006)
The U.S. invasion of Iraq was not, on the face of it, an overtly "colonial" venture. But it has had many of the attributes of colonialism, including two key ones: The U.S. administration in Iraq sought to remake the governance of Iraq according to its own plans, and to subordinate Iraq's economy to the desires of U.S.-based corporations. And when Washington encountered Iraqi resistance to these moves, it resorted to many of the same tactics of counterinsurgency used by colonial powers throughout history: divide and rule, mass incarcerations, intrusive policies of population control, torture and abuse.
I believe that the domestic and global factors now pushing Washington toward undertaking a complete (or near-complete) retreat from Iraq are now so powerful that this retreat will take place before the end of the Bush presidency. But the U.S. will not merely be retreating to the position it occupied on March 18, 2003; the shrinkage of U.S. power around the globe will be much broader than that. There is one very simple reason for this: The U.S. will need the cooperation of other powers if the pullout from Iraq is to be orderly. But why should Russia, China or other world powers give Washington this cooperation if they had any fear that Washington would then just redirect its hegemonistic impulses elsewhere -- perhaps toward them? So as the major powers help Washington to extricate itself from Iraq, they will almost certainly require a price to be paid. It may well be demanded in two currencies: some form of stronger guarantee that Washington will not again undertake any recklessly "preventive" war like the highly destabilizing and destructive military action it launched in 2003; and some seriously stronger role for the non-U.S. powers in the always globally sensitive Israeli-Arab negotiations.
Fiat and Credit - The Coming Financial Holocaust
by Clive Maund (June 01, 2006)
It should now be apparent to all readers of these pages that we are in the midst of the largest FIAT money experiment ever witnessed by an entire order of magnitude, and the first FIAT money exercise to be put to the test on a truly global scale. Hitherto, the political, economic and technological environment was not conducive to enabling such an incredible scheme to be successfully put into effect. To enable this required the presence of one hyper-economic power that also controlled a global currency and the velocity of capital movements made possible through modern communications technology. Another critical factor essential to enabling FIAT to be expanded without control was the destruction of the gold standard on which the value of all issued paper money was formerly based, and the strict financial discipline this exerted throughout the global financial system. It was, therefore, vital to the promulgators of FIAT that gold was no longer seen as a monetary instrument by the general public or, indeed, governments. The reader may be wondering why elected democracies would wish to support this vast and virtually uncontrolled expansion of paper and digital money, and the attendant explosion in inflation and associated wealth destruction of saver's funds, and for what purpose this is all intended. The reasons, as this article proposes, are as awesome as the scheme itself.
World Markets About To Crash Together
by Christopher Laird, Finantial Sense University (May 31, 2006)
Look at your stock portfolio right now. Imagine how you would feel if it dropped 50%.
Why the Global Financial System is About to Collapse
by John Law (May 29, 2006)
The global financial system is about to collapse because the US dollar is about to collapse.
The US dollar is about to collapse because of a simple economic fact that no one has the power to change or conceal.
The fact is that the spontaneous remonetization of the precious metals is a Nash equilibrium.
What this means in English is that an ideal financial strategy for everyone on Earth is to buy as much gold and silver as they can, as soon as possible.
To oversimplify wildly, the reason to buy gold and silver is just that everyone else should buy gold and silver, too. There are two reasons to do it as soon as possible.
One is that anyone with an investment account can move money into gold and silver with a few mouse clicks. They trade on the US markets as the stock symbols GLD and SLV.
Two is that once this information becomes widely understood, US and probably global financial markets will be closed.
There is no way to know when this will happen. It could be tomorrow. It could be a year from now. It could be longer. Since the only way this kind of a financial panic meme can spread is through the Internet, history tells us nothing.
And the good news is that if governments manage the situation well, it does not have to be a global economic and political disaster. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Remonetization of precious metals is the next step in the slow, difficult reconstruction of the peaceful and prosperous liberal world that World War I destroyed. The lights are not going out. They are coming back on. The return to classical liberalism, which some call globalization, has barely started. It has already rescued hundreds of millions of people in liberalizing countries like China and India from lives of poverty and depression. Its only opposite is nationalism, which is a recipe for war and misery. It is not perfect, but nothing is, and it must continue.
These are obviously provocative assertions. I explain them below. My hope is that you will evaluate them by thinking for yourself, rather than trusting me or any other authority.
Gold or Dross? Political Derivatives in Campaign 2000
by Reginald H. Howe (Aug 1, 2000)
(....) From leaving the gold standard in 1933 to today, excessive economic nationalism has characterized American conduct in international monetary affairs. But all tyrannies end, and the tyranny of the dollar will be no exception. Developing nations will not forever accept being milked of wealth and economic opportunity by dollar imperialism.
Gold Derivative Banking Crisis
by Bill Murphy (May 1, 2000)
(...) Extensive research has led the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) to the conclusion that the gold market is being recklessly manipulated and now poses a serious risk to the international financial system.
*Annual gold demand, currently at record levels, exceeds mine and scrap gold supply by more than 1,500 tonnes. In the Washington Agreement of Sept. 26, 1999, 15 European central banks announced that they were capping their lending of gold and would limit their official sales of gold to 400 tonnes per year for the next five years. Some major gold producers have reduced their forward sales, and speculators have reduced their borrowed gold selling. Commodity prices and wages are rising. Yet the price of gold has declined steadily. With demand so much greater than supply, the price of gold should be rising sharply.
* According to the Office of the Controller of the Currency, the notional value of the off-balance- sheet gold derivatives on the books of U.S commercial banks exceeds $87 billion, which is greater than total U.S. official gold reserves of approximately 8,140 metric tonnes.
* Gold derivatives surged from $63.4 billion in the third quarter of 1999 to $87.6 billion in the fourth quarter, after the Washington Agreement was announced. The notional amount of off-balance-sheet gold derivative contracts on the books of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. went from $18.36 billion to $38.1 billion in the last six months of 1999.
* Veneroso Associates estimates that the private and official-sector gold loans stood at 9,000 to 10,000 tonnes at the end of 1999. Most of these loans represent gold that has been sold in the form of jewelry and cannot be retrieved. Mine supply of gold for all of 1999, according to trade sources, was only 2,579 tonnes. Thus the gold loans are far too big too be repaid back in a short time. The swift $84 rise in the gold price following the Washington Agreement caused a panic among bullion bankers. But that was only a warning of what is to come.
* Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, responding to GATA's inquiries through members of Congress, have denied any direct involvement in the gold market by the Fed and the Treasury Department. But they have declined to address whether the Exchange Stabilization Fund, which is under the control of the treasury secretary, is being used to manipulate the price of gold.
* Several prominent New York bullion banks, particularly Goldman Sachs, from which the immediate past treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, came to the Treasury Department, have moved to suppress the price of gold every time it has rallied over the last year.
* The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee believes that U.S. government officials and these bullion banks have induced other governments to add gold supply to the physical market in recent years to suppress the price. Britain's National Accounting Office is now investigating the Bank of England's decision to sell off more than half its gold. Contrary to proper accounting practice, reductions in gold in the earmarked accounts of foreign governments at the New York Federal Reserve Bank are being listed by the Commerce Department as the export of non-monetary gold. These "exports" from the Fed occur upon rallies in the gold price.
*Why would anyone want to suppress the price of gold?
1) Suppressing the price of gold has made it a cheap source of capital for New York bullion banks, which borrow it for as little as 1 percent of its value per year. Gold is borrowed from central banks and sold, and the proceeds are invested in the financial markets in securities that have much greater rates of return. As long as the price of gold remains low, this "gold carry trade" is a financial bonanza to a privileged few at the expense of the many, including the gold-producing countries, most of which are poor. If the price of gold was allowed to rise, the effective interest rate on gold loans would become prohibitive.
2) Suppressing the price of gold gives a false impression of the U.S. dollar's strength as an international reserve asset and a false reading of inflation in the United States.
*Too much gold is being consumed at too cheap a price. Massive amounts of derivatives are being used to suppress the gold price. If this situation is not corrected soon, there will be a gold derivative credit and default crisis of epic proportions that will threaten the solvency of the largest international banks and the world standing of the dollar.
The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee requests that a full and complete investigation be launched into this matter as soon as possible. The longer the gold price is artificially held down, the bigger the eventual banking crisis.
OAM #123 25 MAI 2006