Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,
People often refer to the “perfect storm.” A perfect storm is generally understood as two or more events that are independent but converge to produce an outcome much worse than either event alone.
The term is an overused cliché, and as a writer I avoid clichés whenever possible. But though rare, perfect storms do exist. The most common example is the devastating 1991 storm popularized by the book and movie of the same name, although it was initially known as the “Halloween storm.”
In that case, three separate weather dynamics all converged in one place on one day to produce a perfect storm. The odds of all three coming together at once were less than one in 100,000. That’s less than once in 270 years. That’s a perfect storm.
Do metaphorical perfect storms happen in politics and capital markets?
The answer is yes, provided the conditions of the perfect storm definition are satisfied. The multiple events that make up the true perfect storm must be independent and rare and come to converge in an almost impossible way.
Unfortunately, a political and market perfect storm is now on the way and may strike as early as Halloween 2019, marking a new “Halloween storm.” Get ready.
Today I’ll be discussing the components making up this perfect storm, and how I see them all coming together at the same time.
In my 40-plus years in banking and capital markets, I have lived through a number of financial fiascos that arguably qualify as perfect storms. Here’s a partial list:1970: Penn Central bankruptcy, the largest in history at that time 1973–74: Arab oil embargo 1977–80: U.S. hyperinflation 1982–85: Latin American debt crisis 1987: One-day 22% stock market crash 1988–92: Savings and loan (S&L) crisis 1994: Mexican tequila crisis 1997: Asian financial crisis 1998: Russia/Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) crisis 20...