Bro. Erle Frayne Argonza
Since the stock markets began to plunge late last year, downturns that began with the implosion of the housing subprime mortgage bubble, over 2000 points were already shaved off from the Dow Jones index, the prime index of the USA’s stock markets. It’s now down to nearly 11,000 points from its best time total of 13,000+ points last year, representing actually a 20% plunge.
Each point in the Down Jones is worth $1 Billion as the roughest minimum estimate, though this may range up to $1.5 Billion, depending on the season of trading. Using the minimum as the yardstick, a 20% plunge from a total of 13,000+ index represents at least $2 Trillion worth of loses. If we were to add the loses in the other indices notably the Nasdaq, the figure can get us up to $3 Trillions loses.
Do note that the figure of $3 Trillions is only a conservative estimate. If we use the same figure to compute for the Global Portfolio loses, and multiply this with the number 6 (US’ portfolio capital flows represent 16% or 1/6 of total global flows, using BIS index), the operation would yield a total of $18 Trillions worth of portfolio investments gone down the drain.
It should be stressed that those loses are now gone forever. The stock market investors should better think of other options at this moment, since the plunge hasn’t ceased yet. Those loses of theirs will not return, rest assured. The plunge, per my forecast, will take a long time going yet till middle of next year.
The alarm bells are now up for a total global financial meltdown, and so every concerned fellow of the planet must make necessary preparations for the worst, whatever the worst could be. Corporate social responsibility or CSR may now need to do some contingency re-assessment and re-adjustment of goals and strategies, in the light of the continuing plunge.
Likewise should states rethink their goals and options, recheck their fiscal situation and re-adjust targets accordingly. There has been so much knee-jerked reactions by state players, central banks included, that must be re-examined, including pumping too much liquidities, rescuing ailing or bankrupt banks the erroneous way, and re-allocating budgets for populist welfare subsidies that would, in the short run, only lead to serious fiscal problems in the short run.
What is surfacing much clearly is that the old tools being applied—to salve the crisis—don’t seem to work as much as expected. The search for sound options is a tough challenging one, and the expectations from consumers, who have already slowed down consumption generally, are intensifying. Let us watch out for more contingent events.
[Writ 26 June 2008, Quezon City, Manila]