U.S. stock markets continued to sell-off after Britain’s June 23 vote to exit the European Union. Dropping the EU’s Gross Domestic Product by $2.85 trillion to $13.35 trillion, the EU now becomes a distant second to the U.S. GDP of $17.937 trillion, still absorbing the short-and-long-term side-effects from the so-called Brexit. London’s newly minted 45-year-old Pakistini-born Mayor Sadiq Khan collected over 100,000 signatures to pressure the British Parliament to let London to secede from the U.K. If that’s not grounds for impeachment, then what is? Weighing in on the Brexit vote, veteran precious metals investor 73-year-old Jim Rogers pulled the fire alarm. “This is going to be worse than any bear market you’ve seen in your lifetime,” said Rogers, encouraging investors to consider precious metals, especially gold. Gold’s been down since hitting a record high Aug. 22, 2011 at $1,900 an ounce.
Rogers sees today’s stock market sell-off as a new opportunity to push cash into precious metals. Seeing markets moving sideways for nearly two years, Rogers sees a more protracted sell-off, much like the 2007-09 market meltdown, taking the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 14,198 Oct. 11, 2007 to a market bottom of 6,443.28 March 6, 2009, losing over $10.2 trillion in market capitalization or 40% of its value. Rogers warns the same thing, or worse, could happen now. Rogers founded the Quantum Fund in 1973 with billionaire currency and hedge fund trader George Soros. “The U.K. already has huge international debts and it has balance of trade problems and budget problems,” said Rogers, warning investors about the prospects of another 2007-type market meltdown. “The bear case is the pound disappears. England becomes Spain or Poland or Italy of something,” said Rogers.
Rogers hyperbole should remind investors that while certain traders like Rogers and Soros like to short economic crises, markets could rebound quickly after plunging nearly $2 trillion or 4% Friday, June 24, when the British pound plummeted to $1.32 U.S. dollars, prompting Moody’s to downgrade U.K. credit from stable to negative. “The EU as we know it will not exist,” said Rogers. “The euro as we know it will not exist. Some people leave, others may join—unlikely, but they could join. There are a lot of angry people all over the world. Look at what’s happening in America,” said Rogers creferring to the rise of billionaire Donald Trump. Rogers and Soros often portray the worst-case-scenario, driving ordinary investors into their hedge funds or precious metals investing. Neither Rogers nor Soros can be trusted during times of crisis because that’s when they make all their cash.
Talking tough about the Brexit vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU can’t renegotiate any trade deals until Britain formally triggers Article 50, officially separating Britain from the EU. British Prime Minister David Cameron signaled today that he would not trigger Article 50 when he meets with EU officials and Secretary of State John Kerry in Brussels today. While Merkel urged the U.K. to move quickly to accelerate the divorce from the EU, Cameron said that task will be left to the next Prime Minister, slated sometime in September. Cameron hoped to the EU would open informal talks to resolve any trade issues that see the Pound Sterling plummet from $1.50 to $1.32 to the U.S. dollar. Merkel was put on notice by senior economists, including Matthias Wissmann of the German Car Makers Assn. [VDA], to not interfere with existing trade deals.
German Business Assn. [BDI] had “very sensibly reminded us that there will continue to be free trade and access to the single market,” said conservative leave campaigner Boris Johnson, though his statements were disavowed by the BDI on the BBC. While it’s difficult to sort out the economic fallout from the Brexit, it’s logical that German, French, Dutch or Belgium markets would want to preserve an open door trade policy with Europe’s second largest economy. Since the Brexit vote, some members of the EU believe its could open doors for other capitals to pursue London’s key role as Europe’s economic hub. Head of the Berlin Stock Exchange Artur Fischer questioned the wisdom of ignoring London. “London has an ecosystem. It’s grown for many years. It’s been cultivated. It’s naïve to think it can be replaced by somewhere else,” said Fischer, looking for things to settle down.
A sign of things to come, U.S. markets trimmed losses from the Dow’s 611-point Friday plunge. Losing only 260 points or 1.50% today, Wall Street’s sell-off already looks like another typical wave of profit-taking. When the dust settles in Berlin and Brussels, the EU will realize it needs trade with Britain just as much as Britain needs trade with the EU. It serves no one to tariff British goods or services, preserving, as Wissman says, free markets. Rogers and Soros see the Brexit as the beginning-of-the-end for the EU. While it’s possible more grumbling or independence votes lie ahead, perhaps in Scotland, Northern Ireland or elsewhere, it’s more likely that the EU will come to realize that Britain never really fit in to the EU, especially it’s Schengen open borders and work policies. There’s zero benefit to the EU to make Article 50 separation provisions more difficult for the U.K.