When it comes to the financial world, it is important to listen to what the "smart money" is saying, but it is much more important to watch what the "smart money" is actually doing. The ultra-wealthy and those that run the biggest financial institutions on the planet are far more "connected" to what is really going on in financial circles behind the scenes than you and I could ever hope to be. But if we watch their behavior we can get clues as to what they think is about to happen. As is the case with so many other things, if you want to figure out what is really going on in Europe, just follow the money. And right now, money is rapidly flowing out of southern Europe and into northern Europe. In fact, some large corporations are now pulling the money that they make in Greece during the day out of the country every single night. It is becoming increasingly clear that the upper crust of the financial world considers a Greek exit from the euro to be "inevitable" and that it also considers much of the rest of southern Europe to be a lost cause. Unfortunately, a financial collapse across southern Europe is also likely to trigger another devastating global recession.
Even though all the warning signs were there, very few people actually expected to see the kind of financial crisis that we saw back in 2008.
But it happened.
Now very few people actually expect another "Lehman Brothers moment" to happen in Europe although the warning signs are all around us.
Sadly, most people never want to believe the truth until it is too late.
The following are 25 signs that the smart money has completely written off southern Europe....
#1 Lloyd's of London is publicly admitting that it is rapidly making preparations for a collapse of the eurozone.
#2 According to the New York Times, top global law firms are advising their clients to withdraw all cash and all other liquid assets from Greece....
So their advice is blunt: Remove cash and other liquid assets from Greece and prepare to take a short-term hit on any other investments.
“My personal view is that it is irrational for anyone, whether a corporation or an individual, to be leaving money in Greek financial institutions, so long as there is a credible prospect of a euro zone exit,” said Ian M. Clark, a partner in London for White & Case, a global law firm that has a team of 10 lawyers focusing on the issue.
#3 According to CNBC, large numbers of wealthy Europeans have been moving their money from banks in southern Europe to banks in northern Europe....
Financial advisers and private bankers whose clients have accounts too large to be covered by a Europe-wide guarantee on deposits up to 100,000 euros ($125,000), are reporting a "bank run by wire transfer" that has picked up during May.
Much of this money has headed north to banks in London, Frankfurt and Geneva, financial advisers say.
"It's been an ongoing process but it certainly picked up pace a couple of weeks ago We believe there is a continuous 2-3 year bank run by wire transfer," said Lorne Baring, managing director at B Capital, a Geneva-based pan European wealth management firm.
#4 The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Charles Plosser, says that the Federal Reserve is advising money market funds to reduce their exposure to Europe....
The Fed and regulators have tried to stress to money market funds, for example, to reduce their exposure to European financial institutions.
#5 The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds is rapidly moving toward the very important 7 percent level.
#6 Many multinational corporations that operate in Greece are now pulling their funds out of the country on a nightly basis.
#7 Juergen Fitschen, the co-CEO of Deutsche Bank, has publicly proclaimed that Greece is a "failed state".
#8 The head of the Swiss central bank has admitted that Switzerland is developing an "action plan" for how it will handle the collapse of the eurozone.
#9 The European Commission has urged all member states to develop contingency plans for a Greek exit from the euro....
Last week, the European Commission said that it has asked member states to make plans to deal with a potential Greek exit, ahead of a second round of Greek elections on 17 June.
#10 PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian says that a Greek exit from the euro "is probably inevitable".
#11 Spanish stocks continue to drop like a rock.
#12 The percentage of bad loans on the books of Spanish banks has reached an 18 year high.
#13 Late on Friday, the Spanish government announced that banking giant Bankia is going to need a 19 billion euro bailout.
#14 Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of five more Spanish banks to junk status on Friday.
#15 Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of 16 Spanish banks back on May 17th.
#16 According to the Telegraph, "struggling European banks could be seized and controlled by Brussels as part of secret plans being drawn up".
#17 The head of equity strategy at Societe Generale, Claudia Panseri, is warning that European stocks could fall by as much as 50 percent if Greece leaves the euro.
#18 Economist Marc Faber is warning that there is now a "100% chance" that there will be another global recession.
#19 There seems to be an increasing attempt to pin the problems that Greece is now experiencing on the behavior of Greek citizens. The following are some of the shocking things that the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said in a recent interview....
"Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax."
Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? "I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively." How? "By all paying their tax. Yeah."
It sounds as if she's essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you've had a nice time and now it's payback time.
"That's right." She nods calmly. "Yeah."
And what about their children, who can't conceivably be held responsible? "Well, hey, parents are responsible, right? So parents have to pay their tax."
#20 According to the Telegraph, an unidentified member of Angela Merkel's cabinet has stated that Germany simply will not "pour money into a bottomless pit".
#21 This week the Bank of England is holding a "secret summit" of global central bankers to address the European financial crisis....
The summit will be dominated by central bankers including the host, Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, have been invited.
#22 According to Zero Hedge, a major German newspaper is reporting that a Greek exit from the eurozone is a "done deal"....
"The Greece-exit is a done deal: According to the German economic news from financial circles EU and the ECB have abandoned the motherland of democracy as a euro member. The reason is, interestingly, not in the upcoming elections - these are basically become irrelevant. The EU has finally realized that the Greeks have not met any agreements and will not continue not to meet them. A banker: "We helped with the Toika. The help of the troika was tied to conditions. Greece has fulfilled none of the conditions, and has been for months now."
#23 According to CNBC, preparations are quietly being made to print up and distribute new drachmas should the need arise....
British banknote printer De La Rue is drawing up plans to print new drachma notes in the event of a Greek euro exit, according to an industry source with knowledge of the matter.
The world's biggest security firm G4S expects to be involved in distributing notes around the country.
#24 Citibank's chief economist Willem Buiter is warning that any new currency issued by the Greek government could "immediately fall by 60 percent".
#25 Reuters is reporting that a planning memo exists that suggests that Greece could receive as much as 50 billion euros to "ease its path" out of the eurozone.
If Greece does leave the eurozone, the cost to the rest of Europe is going to be astronomical. The following is from a recent article by John Mauldin....
The debate among very knowledgeable individuals and institutions as to the future of Europe is intense. There are those who argue that the cost of breaking up the eurozone, even allowing Greece to leave, is so high that it will not be permitted to happen. Estimates abound of a cost of €1 trillion to European banks, governments, and businesses, just for the exit of Greece. And that does not include the cost of contagion as the markets wonder who is next. Keeping Spanish and Italian interest-rate costs at levels that can be sustained will cost even more trillions, as not just government debt but the entire banking system is at stake. Not to mention the pension and insurance funds. If the cost of Greece leaving is €1 trillion, then who can guess the cost of Spain or Italy?
As I have written about previously, a Greek exit from the euro would cause the "bank jogs" that are already happening in Spain and Italy to accelerate.
The problem in Europe is not just government debt. The truth is that the entire European financial system is in danger of melting down.
Unfortunately, there are no more grand solutions on the horizon and so things are going to continue to get worse for Europe.
As I have talked about so many times, the next wave of the economic collapse is going to start in Europe, but it is going to deeply affect the entire globe.
During the next major economic downturn, the official unemployment rate in the United States will rise well up into the double digits.
Once that happens, perhaps many more Americans will finally figure out that they should have been paying much more attention to what was taking place in Europe.