Swiss investor Marc Faber, known for a long track record of good calls (he was a commodities bull until late this spring, for instance, when he reversed his view) and a fine grasp of financial markets history, confirms the estimate earlier in the week by Ken Ohmae that the US needs a salvage operation much bigger than the one envisaged by the Treasury plan, and the damage may come to $5 trillion:
Marc Faber, managing director of Marc Faber Ltd. in Hong Kong, said the U.S. government’s rescue package for the financial system may require as much as $5 trillion, seven times the amount Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has requested….
“The $700 billion is really nothing,” Faber said in a television interview. “The treasury is just giving out this figure when the end figure may be $5 trillion.”…
“The decline in home prices of 20 percent is a relatively minor decline so far and it has created so many problems,” Faber added. “The US is in much worse shape” than Japan was when its stock market crash ushered in a decade-long slump in 1990.
There is other juicy stuff in the Bloomberg video. Some of Faber’s other comments:
The problem is excessive leverage, not housing per se.
Stocks may rally once a bailout package is in place, since on a short-term basis stocks are oversold, but a durable bull market for financial is “out of the question.”
The one bubble that has not been pricked is US Treasuries. Higher interest rates are in the offing.
While the dollar may decline sharply in the next few days, Faber regards it as attractive because even though the US is in bad shape, the rest of the world is even worse off.