With stocks tumbling along with crude oil and the U.S. dollar, below King World News is featuring an incredibly powerful interview that ends with the most terrifying surprise of 2015. Let's hope this catastrophic scenario does not unfold because it would be a unmitigated disaster for humanity.
The following piece by Art Cashin features the remarkable interview that all KWN readers around the world must read.
January 9 (King World News) – More From The Gundlach Interview – Let's return to Jeff Gundlach's interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft. We'll shift to his thoughts on falling oil prices and end with a scary "surprise":
The crash in the oil market is already causing jitters in the financial markets around the globe. What is your take on that?
"Oil is incredibly important right now. If oil falls to around $40 a barrel then I think the yield on ten year treasury note is going to 1%. I hope it does not go to $40 because then something is very, very wrong with the world, not just the economy. The geopolitical consequences could be – to put it bluntly – terrifying."
At present, a barrel of WTI oil trades at around $55. What are the consequences of that?
"Those who want to be optimistic on asset prices say this a tremendous economic benefit because it is a tax cut. Clearly there is some truth to that: You pay less for gasoline and you can buy more junk food. But there are some other, pretty substantial ramifications, not only on inflation. At this level oil is starting to have an impact probably on employment in the United States.
The job growth and the economic growth in the fracking regions is monumental and it has to slow down with oil below $60. So you could see employment starting to drop a little bit. At some point with the global economy weakening and the Dollar strengthening, there is a real chance that the U.S. will import economic weakness and deflation. So if the Fed raises the Federal Funds Rate I actually think long rates will not even go up."
How about the risk that the drop in oil prices spills over into the financial markets?
"Something between 14 and 19% of the junk bond market are energy related. So when you have oil prices staying where they are for several months – which is likely because that is a policy decision that some oil producers have made – some of these companies will start to really run into financial troubles. Now, some people are saying: «That is confined to energy, it is a pocket of the economy, everything else is OK and insulated.» But that argument usually does not work. When the housing market started to get weak in the subprime category, even Ben Bernanke said: «That does not matter, it is just subprime.» But things are linked together."
And now for the surprise:
What could be the biggest surprise of 2015?
"Russia starts a war and that would be very, very bad for the financial markets. The probability is still low and I am not predicting this. But with oil at $55 there is a lot of pressure on Russia. Now the question is: Is Putin suddenly going to play nice? I doubt it. It just does not seem like his personality. So if he is not going to play nice what is going to happen? It is not unthinkable that he is going to get killed by the Oligarchs who are going to get mad. That has happened before. So maybe he starts another war. Leaders often start wars when there is pain and tension. I just think the risk of Russia going off the reservation is much higher with oil at $55 than at $95."
Art Cashin closed out today's piece with these comments: Certainly not a guarded reply.
Consensus – Markets in Europe pull back on new doubts both the size and efficacy of any ECB QE. Traders will again be watching WTI. Stay wary, alert and very, very nimble. Have a wonderful weekend.
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