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“Great Depression” Ahead? IMF Sounds Dire Warning

Oct 17, 2018 | Asia Times |

“Great Depression” Ahead? IMF Sounds Dire Warning

Written by William Pesek via Asia Times

Is another “Great Depression” on the horizon? It would be easier to dismiss these words from Nouriel Roubini, Marc Faber or other doom-and-gloom prognosticators. Coming from Christine Lagarde’s team, though, they take on a new dimension of scary.

The International Monetary Fund head isn’t known for breathlessness on the world stage. And yet the IMF sounded downright alarmist in its latest Global Financial Stability report, stating that “large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression.”

Even some market bears were taken aback. “Why,” asks Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog would the IMF use this phrase “in a report that they know the entire world will read?”

Perhaps because, unfortunately, the findings of other referees of global risks – including the Bank for International Settlements – hint at similar dislocations.

Ten years after the Lehman Brothers crisis, these worrisome warnings that will be explored in depth at this week’s annual IMF meeting in Bali. The tranquil setting, though, will offer few respites from cracks appearing in markets everywhere – from Italy to China to Southeast Asia, where currencies are cratering like it’s 1998 again.

Potential flashpoints and a long line of dominos

Italy is the current flashpoint – and the latest target of “domino effect” chatter in frothy world markets. China’s shadow-banking bubble, and the extreme opacity and regulations that enable it, also came in for criticism. And, of course, the 800-pound beast in any room where global investors gather these days: Donald Trump’s assault on world trade.

But the real worry is the health of foundations underpinning these and other risks.

As the BIS warned on Sept. 23, the global economy faces a potential “relapse” of the “Lehman shock” of 2008. “Things look rather fragile,” says BIS chief economist Claudio Borio. Equally worrying, he adds: “There’s little left in the medicine chest to nurse the patient back to health or care for him in case of a relapse.”

Read the full article in Asia Times: “Great Depression” Ahead? IMF Sounds Dire Warning | Asia Times