Global Markets: Reality Check, Again

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My favorite banking analyst, Meredith Whitney,  is at it again.  She forecast the meltdown in the US financial market in 2007 and now has some sobering comments for those that want to bottom fish in the equity markets:  Meredith Whitney on the Banks.  Here are some excerpts:

We are in a new part of cycle. We have digested the fact that the securitization is not coming back. Securitization made up 85% of mortgages and 50% of credit cards. Market is not coming back. Contraction of capital is one thing. But what happens going forward is contraction of the overall mortgage market - this has never happened before.
Banks just will not make a lot of money and the street is still expecting them to make a lot more money. My estimates are 30-70% below the street and i think I am too high.
With regard to the global markets and China, please read the following article by Andy Xie:  Some excerpts:
The Anglo-Saxon economies will follow a similar pattern to that which East Asian economies experienced a little over a decade ago, when the Asian financial crisis led to a 70-90% drop in asset prices, and a 5-10% contraction in most East Asian economies. Australia, the UK, and the US could contract by 2-5%, only held up by their large service economies and strong social welfare systems.
If the property bubble were to burst, as now seems to be happening, its economic impact would be much bigger than what we’ve seen so far. And with hot money leaving China as investors rush for safe havens, and weakening exports exacerbating the liquidity drain, there seems to be little that can be done at the moment to reverse falling property prices. Exports and property are currently the biggest drivers of Chinese growth. While I expect infrastructure construction will pick up, fiscal stimuli simply can’t offset the impact of a fall in these two markets. China’s 2009 growth rate will likely reach a 10-year low.
Households first need to decrease leverage if they’re going to take out further debt. The total wealth in the world may have declined by USD 15 trillion. A similar amount could be lost in the next 12 months. It is not possible to get consumers spending again with wealth destruction of such magnitude.

After the recession, I don’t see how the global economy can resume robust growth quickly. Debt-driven Anglo-Saxon consumption has powered the global economy for years. But, after the fallout, investors are unlikely to make the same mistake twice. Most people have long memories.
India is not immune...reduce risk, reduce leverage, hoard cash.  There will be a time to invest,; this is not the time.

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