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Off The Cuff: Signs Of An Approaching Downturn

We're seeing more & more of them
Thursday, June 8, 2017, 12:00 AM
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In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Wolf Richter discuss:

  • The Late-Stage Housing Bubble
    • From the US, to Canada, to China
  • Signs Of The Approaching Downturn
    • Data everywhere is flat-lining
  • Soaring Debt Levels
    • At levels that make 2008 look tame
  • Canary In The Coal Mine
    • The bullet-proof Bay Area showing weakness?

The diverse data sets that Wolf tracks are showing increasing signs of building weakness across the global economy:

We see weakness all over the place now in the United States. In terms of the corporate credit cycle, we have commercial and industrial loans flat-lining since November, meaning they have grown very strongly from the financial crisis and they peaked in October. Since then, it’s all just flat-lining.

And the only time this ever happened in the past, it’s been affiliated with a recession because these are loans that companies take out to fund equipment purchases and for expansion purposes and for the things that are useful to an economy. These are not loans that are used to buy back stocks. This is not for financial engineering. These are actual productive funds. And when you see companies putting a lid on this, they’re not expanding anymore. They’ve borrowed as much as they’re going to borrow, and at some point, these commercial industrial loans will turn down. And this has happened in every recession before.

Plus, we have now a surge in bankruptcies in the United States in terms of commercial bankruptcies. I just did a report on that earlier in May. The prior peak in bankruptcies was during the financial crisis.

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