Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Stock Market Crash and Recession Indicator Warning: Extreme Danger Ahead - Harry_Dent
2. Is This How World War III Begins, In Almost Complete Silence? - Jeff_Berwick
3.Trump Wins 2nd Presidential Debate, Betfair Betting Markets Odds Bounce - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Why Krugman, Roubini, Rogoff And Buffett Dislike Gold - GoldCore
5.End of SPX Stock Market Correction Nears - Tony_Caldaro
6.Get Ready for the Future - Exponential Machine Intelligence Mega-trend towards Singularity - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Housing Market Bubble II – It’s Happening Again! - Andy_Sutton
8.FTSE BrExit Stock Market Panic Crash Resolves towards New All Time Highs - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Can Trump Still Win Despite Opinion Polls, Bookmakers and Pundits all Saying Hillary has Won? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Gold’s, Miners’ Stops Run - Zeal_LLC
Last 7 days
The Current Message of Yield Curves: Inflation or Deflation? - 25th Oct 16
Broken Central Banks: 4 Quick Pix - 25th Oct 16
Government Stimulus is an Oxymoron, Debt to GDP - 25th Oct 16
Where Will Crude Oil Price Head Next? - 25th Oct 16
Diamonds in the Gold and Silver Mining Stocks - 25th Oct 16
Trump’s Gettysburg Address against the New World - 25th Oct 16
This Past Week in Gold - 24th Oct 16
Can Gold Continue To Rise, Since The Usd Is Moving Higher Too? - 24th Oct 16
Why are Americans Avoiding the Stock Markets; Fear or Lack of Money? - 24th Oct 16
The US Is NOT a Low-Tax Jurisdiction - 24th Oct 16
Stocks, Crude Oil and EURUSD Trend Forecasts - 24th Oct 16
Stock Market Another Month to Go? - 24th Oct 16
Large Sell-off in Stock Market Looming - 24th Oct 16
Ungovernability - 24th Oct 16
Stock Market Boredom Before The Storm - 24th Oct 16
Establishment Mainstream Media Elite Buys US Election for Hillary Clinton, Time Running Out for Trump - 23rd Oct 16
Inflation About To Explode Higher - 22nd Oct 16
Still waiting for SPX uptrend to kick off - 22nd Oct 16
Will a Rising US Dollar Crush Gold’s Fledgling Bull? - 22nd Oct 16
Why The Global Economy Will Disintegrate Rapidly Back to Olduvai Gorge - 22nd Oct 16
GLD Bleeds Out; Weekly Gold Update - 22nd Oct 16
Stock Market Investment Success Through the “Investment Rule of 72” - 21st Oct 16
The Final Bottom in Gold - WHEN - 21st Oct 16
Gold Green Lights Upleg - 21st Oct 16
Demand for US Mints Silver Eagles has ‘Returned with a Vengeance’ - 21st Oct 16
Central Bankers Can't Stop The Death Blow Of The Post US Election Recession - 21st Oct 16
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Golden Opportunity for Frontier Asia - 21st Oct 16
Have You Taken These 4 Simple Steps to Improve Your Trading? - 21st Oct 16
The Stock Market is an Accident Waiting to Happen - 20th Oct 16
It's Rally Time for Gold and Silver Equities - 20th Oct 16
Cashless Society – Risks Posed By The War On Cash - 20th Oct 16
China's insane Housing Market Will Tumble and Crash in 2017 - 20th Oct 16
Donald Trump Bounces Going into 3rd and Final US Presidential Election Debate - 20th Oct 16
Attention Please: Phase Two of the Gold and Silver Train Now leaving the Station. All Aboard? - 19th Oct 16
How to Successfully Trade a Stock Market Crash - Black Monday October 19th 1987 - 19th Oct 16
Tesla, Apple and Uber Push Lithium Prices Even Higher - 18th Oct 16
Silver, Debt, and Deficits – From an Election Year Perspective - 18th Oct 16
UK Property Market: Slow Growth Does Not Equate To Decline - 18th Oct 16
Trump Election Victory is in Your Power - 18th Oct 16
Stock Market More to Come! - 18th Oct 16
This Past Week in Gold and Silver - 17th Oct 16
A Falling Stock Market Cannot Be Allowed - Financial Repression Is Now “In-Play”! - 17th Oct 16
Commodities, Forex and Stock Market Trend Forecasts - 17th Oct 16
Stock Market Crash..or No Crash? - 17th Oct 16
A perspective on risk rally – Risks abound but Stock Market is Confident - 17th Oct 16
Bank of England Blames Brexit for Sterling Drop Inflation, Masks QE Money Printing Cause - 17th Oct 16
From Piety to Pride to Pity, America's Racial Divide - 17th Oct 16
Is Obama Juicing US Government Spending To Get Hillary Clinton Elected? - 16th Oct 16
Seek Your Independence: Anything Else Will Destroy You - 16th Oct 16
SNL - US Presidential Debates, 1st, 2nd, VP - Like You've Never Seen them Before! - 16th Oct 16
End of Economic Growth Sparks Wide Discontent - 16th Oct 16

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

LEARN to Trade

Will 2016 Be the End of the Current Skyscraper Boom?

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2016 Jan 02, 2016 - 06:10 PM GMT



Mark Thornton writes: With more financing in place, the world’s tallest skyscraper is moving forward.

Recent media reports indicate that the final segment of financing has been obtained for the $1.2 billion Jeddah Tower project in Saudi Arabia. This is the financing that would be necessary to bring the project to record heights. Media reports also show that the structure has risen to more than seventy-five meters (246 feet) and construction is proceeding at an uninterrupted pace.

Above ground construction on the long delayed Jeddah Tower started in September 2014, but there was considerable doubt that the financing of the one kilometer (3,280.84 feet) tower could be obtained, given the shaky financial conditions in Saudi Arabia.

But the Jeddah Tower is only the latest phase in an enormous boom that began setting new records in 2014. As I reported nearly a year ago:

Super tall buildings, or skyscrapers, are being built at an astonishing rate. Ninety-seven buildings that exceed 200 meters (656 feet) high were constructed in 2014, setting a new record. The previous record was eighty-one buildings completed in 2011. The total number of skyscrapers in existence now is 935, a whopping 350 percent increase since the year 2000.

If completed as planned, the Jeddah Tower will be the tallest in the world. The International Business Times reports:

Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower in Jeddah is slated to become the world’s highest skyscraper when it is erected in 2020, knocking Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower from its perch as tallest building at 2,716 feet. The new tower will claim the title if it reaches its planned height of 3,280 feet. …The 200-floor Kingdom Tower will be part of a reported $8.4 billion project to construct Jeddah City. Construction of the skyscraper will entail 5.7 million square feet of concrete and 80,000 tons of steel …

Time for a Skyscraper Alert?

In other words, the Tower is just part of an even more massive project, and it’s time for a new skyscraper alert.

A skyscraper alert is a market indicator suggesting a significant economic crisis in the near future. This alert could have been issued earlier because the alert is based on the ground breaking ceremonies of a world record setting skyscraper, not the initial announcement of the project which occurred in August of 2011.

The completion of record-setting skyscrapers has long seemed to indicate the beginning of economic crises.

The Singer Building (September 1906) and Metropolitan Life Insurance Building (1907) began construction before the Panic of 1907 and were later completed in 1908 and 1909, respectively.

Construction began on 40 Wall Street (now the Trump Building), Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building all prior to the crash on Wall Street which began in the fall of 1929 only to have the record-setting buildings open in the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, 1930, and 1931, respectively.

Construction of the World Trade Center towers began in August 1968 and January 1969 and opened in December 1970 and January 1972, respectively. The economy was then in a bad recession and the Bretton Woods Crisis at hand. The Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) began construction in April of 1971 and opened in May of 1973 during the 1973–1974 stock market crash and the 1973 oil crisis.

Such alerts indicate looming danger in the economy of significance. However, the danger is not necessarily imminent. The next pivotal date is when the construction project reaches a point where it has broken the record. That date is difficult to estimate given the whims of construction. Media reports indicate that the Jeddah project will possibly be completed in 2020 without indicating whether that date is the record setting date, the completion date, or the opening ceremonies.

It is significant that the record being broken by the Jeddah Tower is the record set by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. In some ways, the Burj Khalifa has become something of a symbol of the excesses of the last bubble.

Set to become the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in 2009 began to experience financial trouble and had to delay payment on its debt to finance construction. When the Burj Khalifa officially opened in January of 2010, the sovereign fund of the United Arab Emirates, which built the skyscraper, was broke and had to be bailed out by the sheikh of Abu Dhabi for $10 billion.

So, will this latest frenzy of new construction tip us off to the next bust? The skyscraper index is silent on the issue of timing so the dating of when the skyscraper curse is apparent is just guess work. It seems that the boom-bust cycle reaches its peak around the time the new record is set and is called a Skyscraper Signal, if imminent economic danger is looming. In most episodes, record breaking skyscrapers have their opening ceremonies when the economic crisis is readily apparent.

The important thing to remember is that skyscrapers do not cause economic crises. Rather they are just a very noticeable example of the distortions taking place throughout the economy when interest rates are keep artificially low by the central bank.

In addition to record breaking skyscrapers, there are many less perceptible changes taking place. Entrepreneurs are building bigger, longer term projects and production processes. Relative prices, i.e., interest, land, capital, and labor prices, are being distorted. Technology, nearly everywhere, is on the fast track. The economy is booming.

If the Skyscraper Curse is at work, then these distorted economic activities will soon be revealed to be malinvestments.

Mark Thornton is a senior resident fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the Book Review Editor for the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He is the author of The Economics of Prohibition and co-author of Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War. Send him mail. See Mark Thornton's article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2015 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2016 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife