Don't ask me why or how, but there was an IMF meeting a couple of days ago in Washington DC, and me being still in New York, I had the opportunity to talk to a very senior, influential gwailo friend ... I asked for his assessment of just how bad the whole crisis had been over the last few days. His comments shocked me.
Like the rest of the world, we were shaking our heads over the daily dips of 5%-10%, but we also thought that things would stabilise once the central banks of the world got their act together. He said that on Friday, he had never been so "hapless, resigned to fate in a bad way". Mind you, my friend is on the board of two top 1,000 companies and has been on select committees on banking oversight committees. He has access to influential board members of the Federal Reserve and many of the top guys at IMF.
He said things were so ON THE EDGE last Friday, he felt the same way when the Cuban missile crisis was at its peak fervour. During the latter period, he was resigned to either side sending the nuclear missiles to each other and knowing in his heart that there is a very real chance that life as he knows it may evaporate in a matter of hours. Can you imagine a person comparing that to the the situation last Friday. He said that things were so "open and shut" that the central banks were in real danger of not being able to come up with the deposit guarantees and buying of stakes in banks. There was a real chance that all markets was going to continue to collapse further. He added that if people knew how bad things were behind the scenes, they would wobble at their knees. He said on Friday, he was willing to take a bet that the Dow Jones may hit 6,000 in the coming days.
His view has improved now. Now he thinks there is a good chance that things will work, that liquidity will return, but sees thing only returning to normal after 6 months.
p/s photo: Yuri Ebihara