Despite economic happy talk from Wall Street and the White House, the fact is that the global economy is slowing down. The evidence for this comes from near-recession conditions in Germany, Italy and the U.K., and from steeply falling GDP results from the U.S. and China.

Global trade is contracting in lockstep with global growth. The most recent productivity statistics for the U.S. show an actual decline for the first time since 2015. Considering that all economic growth is simply the output of two factors — population and productivity — these new productivity figures are disturbing.

Beneath these headline factors, there are even more troubling trends as described in this article. These underlying trends include specifics on manufacturing data, external liabilities, world trade in relation to GDP, shrinkage in the supply of “safe assets,” changes in global reserve holdings and more. Whether viewed as headline data or from down in the weeds, the combination of declining growth, increasing debt, reduced trade and liquidity stress is not reassuring.

There’s little chance of a recession in the short run. But investors who don’t prepare now for another liquidity crisis or financial collapse may regret it sooner rather than later.

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