"The best we can hope for is to delay the inevitable, and/or to make a very severe recession or depression as quick and painless as possible. Recent actions by political leadership and monetary authorities in the US and the UK have delayed the most severe part of the recession. But the cost has been high, and the eventual downturn may be worse than if they had taken different actions or simply done nothing. My expectation is that the next economic downturn will come quickly starting about mid-year, and those who fail to prepare will be blindsided, and suffer a very large loss of wealth. The time to make preparations is when confidence is high, and the cost of preparations is low, because fear has receeded. After a strong nine months rally in global stocks (which by the way, I forecast back in March as the market was turning up), there is now widespread denial of problems, and huge complacency. Preparations can be made now, and hedges put in place, at a low and bearable cost. The basic problem that I see is two-fold: Too much debt, and widespread malinvestments. There is no longer a reasonable balance between the funds needed to service the debts and the cash flows generated by investments. The severity of the problem is masked, but only temporarily, by ultra-low interest rates. Even with the low rates, debts are continuing to default, and the number of troubled loans is increasing. When the inevitable rise in rates comes without a big rebound in earnings and cash flow, debt problems will multiply, and the financial sector will seize up with another severe credit crisis."
Michael Hampton, AKA Dr.Bubb - February 10, 2010
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