Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hang on to your hats

The Royal Bank of Scotland has issued a global stock and credit crash alert, predicting that the S&P 500 will dive to 1050 as panic overtakes corporate debt markets and national banks get squeezed between recession and inflation. Bob Janjuah, the RBS's strategist, believes this will not be confined to American markets.

Oh, and NPR says there's a commodities bubble about to pop, too. Looks to be another case where overly leveraged derivatives destabilized the market. Derivatives always do that. Derivatives have much the same effect as levees on a river: most of the time, they prevent any flooding, but when they fail, they fail big. You can never eliminate all the risk, and in those situations where you manage to neutralize most of it, what remains is magnified many times over.

From the sounds of it, the only safe place to be is cash... and by that I don't think they mean dollars, either.