He said the bank's red flags for 2016 -- falling oil, volatility in China, shrinking world trade, rising debt, weak corporate loans and deflation -- had all been seen in just the first week of trading.
"We think investors should be afraid," he said.
Morgan Stanley warned this week that oil could touch $20 a barrel. RBS says if it falls below $30, then $16 is on the horizon.
âThe world is in a global recession,â Roberts wrote. âThis terrible cocktail means investors should now be thinking about getting a return of capital, not return on capital."
RBS compares the market mood with that of 2008 before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the start of the global financial crisis.
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