Greece has begun defaulting on its debt and may have to leave the eurozone. Chinese stocks have dropped 28 percent since June 12. And oil prices have plummeted 14 percent since June 23.
"Add it all up, and we’re looking at a turning of events for the worse," writes Canada Financial Post columnist Joe Chidley
. "The Greeks, fittingly enough, had a word for it: catastrophe."
As for Greece, fear lingers that the nation's woes will spread to other debt-laden eurozone countries such as Spain and Italy.
And when it comes to Chinese stocks, there is concern of a meltdown. "Now the bubble has burst, as it inevitably had to, and for about as much reason (or lack thereof) as it had for inflating in the first place," Chidley says. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index has returned 85 percent over the past year.
In the oil market, the issue is supply. The United States keeps cranking out crude, and more may come from Iran if it reaches a nuclear agreement with the United States.
Getting back to China, government officials are working hard to fight the stock plunge, pushing 21 major brokerages to invest 15 percent of their net assets in a 120 billion yuan ($19.3 billion) fund designed to stabilize the market by purchasing shares.
That's basically spitting in the wind, given that the Shanghai Exchange's daily volume often tops 1 trillion yuan, says MarketWatch columnist Craig Stephen
. The Shanghai Index fell 1.3 percent Tuesday.
So why is the government working so hard to sustain the bull market?
"It created this bull market," Stephen writes. "Keeping it going is now seen as a test of the Communist Party’s strength, and possibly even its legitimacy. If you created the boom, arguably that also puts you on the hook for the bust."
Elsewhere on the China front, hedge fund legend George Soros is worried about the political, economic and military conflicts festering between the Asian titan and the United States.
"Both the US and China have a vital interest in reaching an understanding because the alternative is so unpalatable," he writes in The New York Review of Book
s. "The benefits of an eventual agreement between China and the U.S. could be equally far-reaching."
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