World View: Stocks Plunge Again, as Economy Spirals into Deflation

World View: Stocks Plunge Again, as Economy Spirals into Deflation

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Stocks plunge again, as economy spirals into deflation
  • Russia may pause military hostilities in Ukraine for the winter
  • Uganda calls for mass Africa pullout from International Criminal Court

Stocks plunge again, as economy spirals into deflation

NY Stock Exchange
NY Stock Exchange

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 315 points on Friday, cappingoff a brutal 3.8% fall this week on Wall Street. In Europe, Britain’sFTSE fell 2.5%, Germany’s DAX fell 2.7%, and France’s CAC 40 fell2.8%.

Oil prices continued their free fall, into the below-$60 range. WestTexas Intermediate oil fell 3.6% to $57.81 per barrel, down 12.6% forthe week.

Also on Friday, the Dept. of Commerce announced the wholesale prices(Producer Price Index) fell 0.2% in November, faster than the 0.1%fall predicted by analysts.

The fall in wholesale prices was led by a fall in overall energycosts. Those prices fell 3.1% on the month, due to a sharp drop inthe cost of petroleum products. Energy prices have declined for fivestraight months. The gasoline index declined 6.3% in November.Home-heating oil costs fell 2.8% and diesel-fuel prices declined3.5%. From a year earlier, energy prices were down 5.9%, according tothe producer measure.

According to Friday’s Wall Street Journal, the plunge in stock prices has pushed the S&P500 Price/Earnings index (stock valuations index) on Friday morning(December 12) down to an astronomically high 18.66, down from the evenmore astronomically high 19.54 from last Friday (December 7). This isfar above the historical average of 14, indicating that the stockmarket is in a huge bubble that could burst at any time. GenerationalDynamics predicts that the P/E ratio will fall to the 5-6 range orlower, which is where it was as recently as 1982, resulting in a DowJones Industrial Average of 3000 or lower.

As I’ve been saying for years, starting in 2003, Generational Dynamicspredicts that the economy is in a deflationary spiral. Sincemainstream economists have been predicting inflation andhyperinflation, it’s pretty clear that mainstream economists don’thave the vaguest clue what’s going on. Today’s reports maygive them pause.

One more warning: Hedge funds and other investors now have the entireweekend to think about what they’re going to do next, and they may allreach the same decisions — up or down. The major plunges of the 1929crash and the 1987 false crash both occurred on Monday. So we mayknow by midday Monday whether the stock market is going to continueplunging, or whether it’s going to recover in the short run. USA Today and Nasdaq

Russia may pause military hostilities in Ukraine for the winter

In the last few days, Russian military attacks on Ukrainian positionsin east Ukraine have markedly subsided, and Russia’s state media hascooled its rhetoric on the highly nationalistic “Novorossiya” (NewRussia) project, referring to all of southern and eastern Ukraine.According to Ukrainian General Staff estimates, Russian troops inDonbas currently total 32,000, including between 6,000 and 10,000regular Russian Army personnel, the remainder being irregularsrecruited locally and from Russia. But the Russian troops haveavoided full scale conflict, for fear that the West would imposefurther sanctions. Instead, the troops transitioned to a kind ofpositional warfare, but have failed to make any gains against theUkrainian forces in doing so. In particular, the Ukrainianshave blocked Russian probing moves on Mariupol, and the landroute from Russia to occupied Crimea.

Part of the calculation is that Russia’s economy is heading fordisaster. Putin’s policy of state and crony capitalism plusprotectionism has eliminated Russia’s economic growth. Since July,Western sanctions have stopped all refinancing of Russian foreigndebt, whether private or public. Since June, the price of oil hasfallen by 40 percent and with it the ruble exchange rate. Thesethree factors are likely to worsen.

Russia’s adventures in Ukraine, while politically popular, have beenextremely costly for Russia. Now that Russia has invaded, occupiedand annexed Crimea, Moscow is saddled with annexation costs andproviding any humanitarian aid that’s necessary. In east Ukraine,Russia must provide for an estimated 3.5-4 million people that live onon the territory that Russia occupies. Russia is now preparing itstenth humanitarian convoy of hundreds of trucks with food, medicinesand other supplies, but these are only a temporary emergencyprocedure.

There’s a debate among economists as to how long Russia can continuein this way. It’s true that Russia has hundreds of billions ofdollars in foreign reserves that it can tap, but it’s also true thatRussia’s economy may be in a downward spiral. So it now appears thatRussia is going to pause for the winter in order to consolidate itsgains, and make plans for warmer weather. Jamestown and Peterson Institute for International Economics

Uganda calls for mass Africa pullout from International Criminal Court

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni said Friday that at the nextmeeting of the African Union, set for January 30-31, he willpropose that all African countries withdraw from theInternational Criminal Court (ICC)

I will bring a motion to the next sitting of theAfrican Union to have all African states withdraw from the court,then they [Western nations] can be left alone with their owncourt. They have used it as a tool to targetAfrica.

Museveni’s remarks came just a few days after an ICC case targetingthe president of Kenya collapsed in an embarrassing debacle. Museveniaccused the West of using the ICC to destabilize African nations.

Although that ICC does appear to have targeted Africa, that’s onlybecause war crimes trials for other countries have taken place inother courts. There are trials targeting the Khmer Rouge for theiralleged war crimes in Cambodia’s “killing fields” war in the 1970s,but that trial is being held in the “Extraordinary Chambers in theCourts of Cambodia” (ECCC) in Angk Snuol, Cambodia.

There’s a trial targeting Ratko Mladic for atrocities committed at the1995 Srebrenica massacre in the Bosnian war, but that trial is beingconducted in the “International Criminal Tribunal for the formerYugoslavia” in The Hague.

There were trials in 1945 for Nazi war criminals, but they were heldin special courts in Nuremberg, Germany. Japan’s war crimes trialswere held in 1946 in the International Military Tribunal for the FarEast (IMTFE) in Tokyo.

So, taken as a whole, war crimes courts have certainly notspecifically targeted Africa.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, these war crimetrials are only for political show, and will do nothing to prevent warcrimes in future. AFP and Al-Jazeera

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Dow Jones Industrial Average,West Texas Intermediate, wholesale prices,Russia, Ukraine, Novorossiya,Uganda, Kenya, International Criminal Court, ICC,Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, ECCC,Srebrenica massacre, Bosnian War, Nuremberg,International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,International Military Tribunal for the Far East, IMTFE
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