Situations Worse in Iceland & South Africa

Northern Shore of Reykjavík, Iceland


As I have been reporting lately, Iceland and South Africa are having problems which seem to be worsening:

Icelandic government becomes first to be brought down by the credit crunch

Daily Mail, UK – Jan 23, 2009

The government of Iceland today became the first to be effectively brought down by the credit crunch.

After several nights of rioting over the financial crisis, Prime Minister Geir Haarde, surrendered to increasing pressure and called a general election for May.

A poll would not normally be held until 2011.

Haarde also revealed that he had been diagnosed with a malignant tumour of the oesophagus and would not seek re-election.

‘I have decided not to seek re-election as leader of the Independence Party at its upcoming national congress,’ he told a news conference.

The global financial crisis hit Iceland, which has a population 320,000, in October, triggering a collapse in its currency and financial system under the weight of billions of dollars of foreign debts incurred by its banks

The economy is set to shrink 10 percent this year and unemployment is surging...

Special forces had to rescue Haarde from his car after he was surrounded by an furious mob hurling eggs and cans outside the government offices, in Reykjavik.

The seething crowd spattered the building with paint and yoghurt, yelling and banging pans, hurling fireworks and flares at the windows and even lighting a fire in front of the main doors.

‘There were a couple of hundred (protesters) when they had to use the gas,’ police spokesman Gunnar Sigurdsson said. ‘It went on for two hours or so. There were no arrests. Some injuries, but not serious.’

Latvia, Bulgaria and other European countries hit hard by the global economic meltdown have also seen unrest.

Beleaguered rand could head towards 7 year lows

Reuters – Jan 22, 2009

There appears no let up for South Africa’s struggling rand, with political uncertainty and global and domestic economic gloom leading to the possibility of a fall back towards levels last seen in 2001.

Analysts say a tough election, in which the ruling ANC faces an unprecedented challenge from a break-away party, and fears of a drift to leftist policies will keep investors wary.

Prospects may improve in the second half of the year as an expected fall in interest rates frees up consumer spending and world growth shows signs of recovery. But the risk aversion that drove the rand almost 30 percent weaker against the dollar and euro last year has not abated, while South Africa has a big problem from its massive current account shortfall.

The deficit in the current account stood at 7.9 percent of GDP in the third quarter of 2008 and is forecast to widen further. The rand has lost another 5 percent so far this year, trading at about 10.10 to the dollar on Thursday, and chances of a recovery are slim…

Economic growth skidded to its lowest level in a decade, touching just 0.2 percent in last year’s third quarter, also stung by stifled consumer spending due to high interest rates.

Retail sales are falling, manufacturing is contracting and mining has long been in decline, pointing to more pain to come. Rates should fall sharply early this year to help boost growth, with many analysts expecting a full percentage point cut on Feb. 5, which will skim off some of the lure of the country’s large rates differential.

South Africa’s repo rate stands at 11.5 percent after December’s 50 basis point cut, compared to a U.S. benchmark rate of near zero and 2 percent for the euro zone…

Alviso Marino, emerging markets economist at IDEAglobal, said the rand’s fortunes remained closely linked to international sentiment and was bound to suffer numerous bouts of volatility in the next few months.

“Volatility is and remains uncomfortably high, which could open the field for quick swings in either direction,” he said, suggesting a near-term push towards 10.50.

“On top of it all, we would note that political tensions are brewing at home.”

South Africans go to the polls in around April and the outlook has never been so uncertain.

An African National Congress breakaway party, COPE, may challenge the ruling party’s supremacy, while infighting and lawsuits have rattled the ANC leadership.

Party president Jacob Zuma — the frontrunner for national president after the ballot — faces corruption charges that may force him to step aside.

Investors, however, will likely be more concerned about the shift in power to more left-leaning leaders and the risk of a jump away from the current business-friendly, prudent stance.

We seem to live in what the Apostle Paul referred to as perilous times:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

But, even with problems, according to Jesus, the end is not yet:

6 See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:6-8).

But, also according to Jesus, the end will be soon thereafter (cf. Matthew 24:14-21).

And while ultimately the entire world will be affected (cf. Revelation 3:10), the Anglo-American nations will apparently have the most troubles (cf. Jeremiah 30:7) at the  beginning of it.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? What is ahead for Europe?
Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Will God call all the Africans?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be devastated first?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Are there biblical and non-biblical prophecies about Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”. Might Bible prophecy be fulfilled since he is to be the USA president?

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