|Rouble Crash Course - Fortis Predicts Meltdown of American Financial Market|
|Written by ')">Copy Dude|
|Tuesday, 01 July 2008|
According to De Telegraaf (in Dutch) , the world is coming to an end at lunchtime. Since it’s already gone 12, maybe it will be tomorrow now.
If this is news to you, it’s a doomcast by the Chairman of one of Europe’s largest banks, Fortis. Fortis reckons it raised 8 billion in the nick of time, since the ‘volledig instorten’ - complete collapse - of the American financial market will happen within a few days. Just for good measure, General Motors will follow the banks down the toilet.
Fortis’ CEO thinks he has hoovered some of the last liquidity around. Looking at the number of British banks struggling with rights issues, he’s probably right. So, what happens when the banks run out of money?
Fortunately, we have a precedent in Russia with the 1998 rouble crash. You’ll have to get down to your bank at 6am and get signed on for a place in the queue. Panic buy food on the way. Put a table out on the street and sell what possessions you can. If your bank has already gone under, get some vegetable plants and head off for the country. The Russian bust saw a boom in survival strategies and you can learn a lot.
At the moment, we have most of the propellants of the Russian crash. A bursting, bubble economy. An expensive war. (More expensive than Chechnya.) Absurd levels of Government debt. (Even more than the Soviets owed.) An overvalued currency and rising inflation.
Inflation is cool. In the death throes of the Yeltsin economy, Russians went on a spending spree, since anything could cost 10 or 20 percent more the next day, who knows how much by the end of the week. Avto Vaz sold out its entire stock of Zhigulis. So if you have anything left under the mattress, spread it around while things are still at old prices.
Recently, the Independent’s correspondent revisited Russia and asked people what was the worst thing about the Yeltsin years. ‘The rouble crash, doh’, they replied. She then asked, ‘ . . and what was the best thing?’ After a pause and a headscratch, ‘the rouble crash’. Of course, it destroyed a bonkers economy and put a working market in its place. For bonkers, read bankers. When crunch comes to phut, they won’t be missed.