Royal Bank of Scotland claims 2016 will financially be 'catastrophic'

Royal Bank of Scotland (Photo by Chandres)

Royal Bank of Scotland (Photo by Chandres)


Comments from the Royal Bank of Scotland have gotten attention in different parts of the world:

January 12, 2016

CNN reported that the Royal Bank of Scotland is warning that 2016 will be a “cataclysmic year” and investors should take immediate action.

Do not wait. Do not pass go, the bank warns.

“Sell everything except high quality bonds,” Andrew Roberts, told the news agency. “We think investors should be afraid.”

He pointed to the red flags for his bank – falling oil prices, an unstable China, shrinking world trade, rising debt, weak corporate loans and deflation.

In fact, in the American stock market alone, $1 trillion has vanished already in the first few days of January.

“To put that stunning figure in context,” wrote Matt Egan at CNN Money, “it’s like wiping out the combined value of the following tech giants: Google ($508 billion), Facebook ($281 billion), Intel ($154 billion), Netflix ($50 billion) and Yahoo ($29 billion).”

He continued, “No wonder there are lots of signs of rising fear on Wall Street. CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index is now flashing ‘extreme fear,’ a dramatic reversal from ‘neutral’ just two weeks ago.”

January 12, 2016

Warnings by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) that financial markets are in for a “cataclysmic year” are overstated, according to some New Zealand investment specialists.

The bank has suggested clients sell everything other than high quality bonds.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, concurred with some of the RBS’ concerns, but said the world was not on the brink of another Global Financial Crisis.

“I do agree with a lot of the themes that they are talking about,” he said.

“We agree that deflation is a real risk and that commodities prices will languish for a long time, and we definitely think that it’s time for caution,” he said.

“Like RBS, we believe that high quality bonds are a good place to be at the moment, but we are not saying sell everything,” he said.

Bernard Doyle, chief investment strategist at JB Were, said RBS’s concerns were overstated.

While I am not a financial adviser, the idea of selling everything except bonds seems a bit extreme.  Especially, because bond prices tend to drop as interest rates rise.  Interest rates, according to the US Federal Reserve, are expected to rise in 2016 (see Federal Reserve votes to raise interest rates; M&M discounts idea of hyperinflation, plus claims Europe to be torn to pieces by 2020).

But there are several potentially ‘catastrophic’ factors to consider.

First is the fact that the debt of the USA keeps going up. The various budget deals in 2015 have assured that. Since the government of the USA has to pay interest on this rising debt, and interest rates are supposed to be going up, this will further increase debt and one day this will lead to the end of the USA according to biblical prophecy (e.g. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

Second is the fact that between increased US debt, legal counterfeiting like the ‘quantitative easing’ programs that the USA, international terrorist worries, and low interest rates,  the USA stock market has been artificially propped up for years.  Thus, drops could be seen.  But as I have written before, stock markets rise and fall.

Third is the fact that 2016 is a presidential election year in the USA. This can also contribute to volatility, especially as the two leading candidates will undoubtedly take shots against each other as they will attempt to paint a picture that the USA will be worse off if the other wins. The currently two leading candidates in the national polls have already done this.

Fourth is the expected likelihood of more terrorism. In addition to the USA and its Anglo-Saxon descended allies, Germany, France, and other parts of Europe are concerned and will take steps. Terrorist steps, as well as terrorism itself, can negatively affect the economy.  The Bible prophesies terrorism, and while it does not identify a specific year for terrorism to hit, various prophecies tie terrorism and lack of God’s protection to turning away from God’s laws (see Why Terrorism? Is Terrorism Prophesied?).

Fifth is the fact that Europe, China, and other parts of the world are attempting to figure out how to come out on top in a world that will no longer be dominated by the USA. China wants to rise up, but will have issues (see also Asia in Prophecy). Europe is working on developing technology and financial matters to be ready to do this (see European Technology and the Beast of Revelation), and while it will have issues ((cf. Daniel 2:41-43), for a time it will succeed (cf. Revelation 13,17, &18).

The change from a world dominated by Great Britain to the USA was less dramatic than the change that will occur from a USA-dominated world to the final time of the Gentiles (see When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018?).

While this will NOT completely happen in 2016, steps towards this will occur in 2016. As far as the timing of the Great Tribulation, a short video is available to watch titled Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?.

Although I am not at all endorsing the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘solution’ for the ‘catastrophic year’ it expects, I do expect volatility and suspect we will see various ‘catastrophies’ in 2016–”but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).

Of course, the only real solution to the financial and other problems facing the world is either massive repentance, which will not happen, or the Kingdom of God which (after the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord) will.

As far as investments go, Jesus said:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

As far 2016 goes, let’s close with Jesus’ words:

32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.  34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.  35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning —   36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.  37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-37)

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.  35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:34-36)

Watch and pray and get your own spiritual life in order as we see much happening around the world.