Housing Crash vs Oil Crash, One Systemic One Sectoral

Zerohedge reporting today through Reuters that a UK bank called Standard Chartered is reporting a $4.4B loss on bad oil industry loans. You may remember Standard Chartered as the one that paid that $600 something million fine for doing business with Iran. Will this cause another systemic financial collapse? Probably not.

Systemic financial collapses usually start with one big whale going down, but for systemic monetary reasons. In 2008 it was Lehman Brothers, when the money supply was contracting after expanding fast in the 8 years prior. In 1931 it was the CreditAnstalt bank in Austria, which collapsed after the Fed could no longer inflate the money supply fast enough. Standard Chartered may be a big whale, but it’s losses do not have to do with a systemic monetary phenomenon.

The housing collapse was also a result of monetary phenomenon. The oil collapse is, however, the result of a price war between OPEC and the US, possible aided and abetted by the Obama Administration in order to punish Putin for whatever it is he supposedly did in Ukraine. Depending on how many bad oil debt is out there, which depends on how many loans were made by banks to shale companies on the assumption that oil would not collapse to $45, there could be a chain reaction of failures going down the links of oil industry loans, but in order to have a complete economic collapse, the entire money supply needs to contract.

That is not happening right now.

So we’ll see how far these bank failures go, but don’t expect it to be the trigger that lights the final meltdown just yet.

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