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Western central banks have tried to shake off the constraints of gold for a long time, which has created enormous difficulties for them. They have generally succeeded in managing opinion in the developed nations but been demonstrably unsuccessful in the lesser-developed world, particularly in Asia. It is the growing wealth earned by these nations that has fuelled demand for gold since the late 1960s. There is precious little bullion left in the West today to supply rapidly increasing Asian demand. It is important to understand how little there is and the dangers this poses for financial stability.
An examination of the facts shows that central banks have been on the back foot with respect to Asian gold demand since the emergence of the petrodollar. In the late 1960s, demand for oil began to expand rapidly, with oil pegged at $1.80 per barrel. By 1971, the average price had increased to $2.24, and there is little doubt that the appetite for gold from Middle-Eastern oil exporters was growing. It should have been clear to President Nixon’s advisers in 1971 that this was a developing problem when he decided to halt the run on the United States’ gold reserves by suspending the last vestiges of gold convertibility.
After all, the new arrangement was: America issued the petrodollars to pay for the oil, which were then recycled to Latin America and other countries in the West’s sphere of influence through the American banks. The Arabs knew exactly what was happening; gold was simply their escape route from this dodgy deal.
The run on U.S. gold reserves leading up to the Nixon Shock in August 1971 is blamed by monetary historians on France. But note this important passage from Ferdinand Lips’ book GoldWars:
Because Arabs did not understand bonds and stocks they invested their surplus funds in either real estate and/or gold. Since Biblical times, gold has been the best means to keep wealth and to transfer it from generation to generation. Gold therefore was the ideal vehicle for them. Furthermore after their oil reserves are exhausted in the distant future, they would still own gold. And gold, contrary to oil, could never be wasted.
According to Lips, Swiss private bankers, to whom many of the newly-enriched Arabs turned, recommended that a minimum of 10% and even as much as 40% should be held in gold bullion. This advice was wholly in tune with Arab thinking, creating extra demand for America’s gold reserves, some of which were auctioned off in the following years. Furthermore, Arab investors were unlikely to have been deterred by high dollar interest rates in the early eighties, because high interest rates simply compounded their rapidly-growing exposure to dollars.
Using numbers from BP’s Statistical Review and contemporary U.S. Treasury 10-year bond yields to gauge dollar returns, we can estimate gross Arab petrodollar income, including interest from 1965 to 2000, to total about $4.5 trillion. Taking average annual gold prices over that period, ten percent of this would equate to about 50,500 tonnes, which compares with total mine production during those years of 62,750 tonnes, over 90% of which went into jewellery.
This is not to say that 50,000 tonnes were bought by the Arabs; it could only be partly accommodated even if the central banks supplied them gold in very large quantities, of which there is some evidence that they did. Instead, it is to ram the point home that the Arabs, awash with printed-for-export petrodollars, had good reason to buy all available gold. And importantly, it also gives substance to Frank Veneroso’s conclusion in 2002that official intervention – i.e., undeclared sales of significant quantities of government-owned gold – was effectively being used to manage the price in the face of persistent demand for physical gold as late as the 1990s.
Transition from Arab demand
Arabs trying to invest a portion of their petrodollars would have left very little investment gold for the advanced economies. As it happened, U.S. citizens had been banned from holding bullion until 1974, and British citizens were banned until 1971. Instead, they invested mainly in mining shares and Krugerrands, continuing this tradition by using derivatives and unbacked unallocated accounts with bullion banks in preference to bullion itself. This meant that, until the mid-seventies, investment in physical gold in the West was minimal, almost all gold being held in illiquid jewellery form. Western bullion investors were restricted to mainly Germans, French, and Italians, mostly through Swiss banks. The 1970s bull market was therefore an Arab affair, and they continued to absorb gold through the subsequent bear market.
By the late-nineties, a new generation of Swiss investment managers, schooled in modern portfolio theory and less keen on gold, persuaded many of their European clients to reduce and even eliminate bullion holdings. At the same time, a younger generation of Western-educated Arabs began to replace more conservative patriarchs, so it is reasonable to assume that Arab demand for gold waned somewhat, as infrastructure spending and investment in equity markets began to provide portfolio diversification. This was therefore a period of transition for bullion, driven by declining Western investment sentiment and changing social structures in the Arab world.
It also marked the beginning of accelerating demand in emerging economies, notably India, but also in other countries such as Turkey and those in Southeast Asia, which were rapidly industrialising. In 1990, the Indian Government freed up the gold market by abolishing the Gold Control Act of 1968, paving the way for Indians to become the largest officially-recognised importers of gold until overtaken by China last year.
Lower prices in the 1990s stimulated demand for jewellery in the advanced economies, with Italy becoming the largest European manufacturing centre. At the same time, gold leasing by central banks increased substantially, as bullion banks exploited the differential between gold lease rates and the yield on short-term government debt. This leased gold satisfied jewellery demand as well continuing Asian demand for gold bars.
So, despite the fall in prices between 1997-2000, all supply was absorbed into firm hands. When gold prices bottomed out, Western central banks almost certainly had less gold than publicly stated, the result of managing the price until 1985, and through leasing thereafter. This was the background to the London Bullion Market Association, which was founded in 1987.
In 1987, the unallocated account system became formalized under London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) rules, allowing the bullion banks to issue gold IOUs to their customers, making efficient use of the bullion available. The ability to expand customer business in the gold market without having to acquire physical bullion is the chief characteristic of the LBMA to this day. Futures markets in the U.S. also expanded, and so derivatives and unallocated accounts became central to Western investment in gold. Today the only significant bullion held by Western investors is likely to be a small European residual plus exchange-traded fund (ETF) holdings. In total (including ETFs), this probably amounts to no more than a few thousand tonnes.
The LBMA was established in 1987 in the wake of the Financial Services Act in 1986. Prior to that date, the twice-daily gold fix had become the standard pricing mechanism for international dealers, whose ranks grew on the back of the 1970s bull market. This meant that international banks established their bullion dealing activities in London in preference to Zurich, which was the investment centre for physical bullion. The establishment of the LBMA was the formalization of an existing gold market based on the 400-ounce “good delivery” standard and the operation of both allocated and unallocated accounts.
During the twenty-year bear market, attitudes to gold diverged, with capital markets increasingly taking the view that the inflation dragon had been slain and gold’s bull market with it. At the same time, Asian demand – initially from the Arab oil exporters but increasingly from other nations led by Turkey, India, and Iran – ensured that there were buyers for all the physical gold available. Mine supply, which benefited from the introduction of heap-leaching techniques, had increased from 1,314 tonnes in 1980 to 2,137 tonnes in 1990 and 2,625 tonnes by 2000. Together with scrap supply, London was in a strong position to intermediate between a substantial increase in gold flows to Asian buyers, and it was from this that central bank leasing naturally developed.
Gold backed by these physical flows was the ideal asset for the carry trade. A bullion bank would lease gold from a central bank, sell the gold, and invest the proceeds in short-term government debt. It was profitable for the bullion bank, governments were happy to have the finance, and the lessor was happy to see an idle asset work up some extra income. However, leasing only works so long as the bullion bank can hedge by accessing future supply so that the lease can eventually be terminated.
Before 2000, this was a growing activity, fuelled further by Swiss portfolio disinvestment in the late 1990s. As is usual in markets with a long-term behavioral trend, competition for this business extended the risks beyond being dangerous. This culminated in a crisis in September 1999, when a 30% jump in the price threatened to bankrupt some of the bullion banks who were in the habit of running short positions.
Bull markets always start with very little mainstream and public involvement, and so it has proved with gold since the start of this century. So let us recap where all the gold was at that time:
- Total above-ground gold stocks were about 129,000 tonnes, of which 31,800 tonnes were officially monetary gold. Of the balance, approximately 85-90% was turned into jewellery or other wrought forms, leaving only 10-15,000 tonnes invested in bar and coins and allocated for industrial use.
- Out of a maximum of 15,000 tonnes, coins (mostly Krugerrands) accounted for about 1,500 tonnes and other uses (non-recovered industrial and dental), say, 1,000 tonnes. This leaves a maximum of 12,500 tonnes and possibly as little as 7,500 tonnes of investment gold worldwide at that time.
- After Swiss fund managers disposed of most of the bullion held in portfolios for their clients in the late 1990s, there was very little investment gold left in European and American ownership.
- Frank Veneroso in 2002 concluded, after diligent research, that central banks had by then supplied between 10-15,000 tonnes of monetary gold into the market. Much of this would have gone into jewellery, particularly in Asia, but some would have gone to the Middle East. This explains how extra investment gold may have been supplied to satisfy Middle Eastern demand.
- Middle Eastern countries must have been the largest holders of non-monetary gold in bar form at this time. We can see that 10% of petrodollars invested in gold would have totalled over 50,000 tonnes, yet there can only have been between 7,500-12,500 tonnes available in bar form for all investor categories world-wide. This may have been increased somewhat by the addition of monetary gold leased by central banks and acquired through the market.
It was at this point that the second gold bull market commenced against a background of very little liquidity. Investment bullion was tightly held, the central banks were badly short of their declared holdings of monetary gold, and from about 2004 onwards, ETFs were to grow to over 1,500 tonnes. Asian demand continued to grow (led by India), and China began actively promoting private ownership of gold at about the same time.
Other than through physically-backed ETFs, Western investors were encouraged to satisfy their demand for bullion through derivatives and unallocated accounts at the bullion banks. There are no publicly available records detailing the extent of these unallocated accounts, but the point is that Western demand has not resulted in increased holdings of bullion except through securitised ETFs. Instead, the liabilities faced by the bullion banks on uncovered accounts will have increased to accommodate growth in demand. Therefore, the vested interests of the bullion banks and the central banks overseeing the gold market call for continued suppression of the gold price, so as to avoid a repeat of the crisis faced in September 1999 when the price increased by 30% in only two weeks.
Where are the sellers?
Price suppression can only be a temporary stop-gap, and there has never been sufficient supply to allow the central banks to retrieve their leased gold from the bullion banks. Therefore, Frank Veneroso’s conclusion in 2002 that there had to be existing leases totalling 10-15,000 tonnes is a starting point from which leases and loans have increased. There are two events which will almost certainly have increased this figure dramatically:
- When the price rose to $1900 in September 2011, there was a concerted attempt to suppress the price from further rises. The lesson from the 1999 crisis is that the bullion banks’ geared exposure to unallocated accounts was forcing a crisis upon them; if they had been forced to cash-settle these accounts, the gold price would almost certainly have risen further, risking a widespread monetary crisis.
- Through 2012, Asian demand, particularly from China, coinciding with continued investor demand for ETFs, was already proving impossible to contain. In February this year, the Cyprus bail-in banking crisis warned depositors in the Eurozone that all bank deposits over the insured limit risked being confiscated in the event of a wider Eurozone banking crisis. This drove many unallocated account holders to seek delivery of physical gold from their banks, forcing ABN-AMRO and Rabobank to suspend all gold deliveries from their unallocated accounts. This was followed by a concerted central- and bullion-bank bear raid on the market in early April, driving the price down to trigger stop-loss sales in derivative markets and subsequent liquidation of ETF holdings.
It is widely assumed that the unexpected rise in demand for bullion that resulted from the April take-down was satisfied through ETF sales, but an examination of the quantities involved shows they were insufficient. The table below includes officially reported demand for China and India alone, not taking into account escalating demand from the Chinese diaspora in the Far East and from elsewhere in Asia:
These figures do not include Chinese and Indian purchases of gold in foreign markets and stored abroad, typically carried out by the rich and very rich. Nor do they include foreign purchases by the Chinese Government and its agencies. Despite these omissions, in 2012, recorded demand from these two countries left the world in a supply deficit of 131 tonnes. Furthermore, ahead of the April smash-down in the first quarter of this year, the deficit had jumped to 88 tons, or an annualised rate of 352 tonnes.
Demands for delivery by panicking Europeans in the wake of the Cyprus fiasco could only provoke one reaction. On Friday 12th April, 400 tonnes of paper gold were dumped on the market in two orders, triggering stop-loss sales and turning market sentiment bearish in the extreme. Western investors started to think about cutting their losses, and they sold down ETF holdings to the tune of 325 tonnes in 2013 by the end of May. However, this triggered record demand among those who looked on gold as insurance against currency and systemic risks.
Later that year, in July, Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee he didn’t understand gold. That was probably a reference to the April gold price smash orchestrated by the central banks and how it unleashed record levels of demand. It was an admission that he thought everyone would follow the new trend by acting like portfolio investors, forgetting that if you lower the price of a commodity, you merely unleash demand. It was also an important admission of policy failure.
Since those events in April, someone has been supplying the market with significant quantities of gold to keep the price down. We know it is not Arab gold, because I have discovered through interviewing a director of a major Swiss refiner that Arab gold is being recast from LBMA specification bars into one-kilo .9999 bars, which has become the new Asian standard. Arab gold does not appear to be being sold, only recast, and anyway, it is only a small part of their overall wealth. We also know from our long-term analysis that any European gold bullion is relatively small in quantity and tightly held. There can only be one source for this gold, and that is the central banks.
I discovered that there was a discrepancy in the Bank of England’s custodial gold of up to 1,300 tonnes between the date of its last Annual Report (28th February) and mid-June, when a lower figure was given out to the public on the Bank’s website. This fits in well with the additional amount of gold needed to manage the price between those months. Furthermore, the Finnish Central Bank recently admitted that all its gold held at the Bank of England was “invested” – i.e., sold – and further added that the practice “was common for central banks.”
Bearing in mind Veneroso’s conclusion in 2002 that there must be 10,000-15,000 tonnes out on lease and loan from the central banks at that time, one could imagine that this figure has increased significantly. Officially, the signatories of the Central Bank Gold Agreement, plus the U.S. and U.K. own 20,393 tonnes. A number of other central banks are likely to have been persuaded to “invest” their gold, but this is bound to exclude Russia, China, the Central Asian states, Iran, and Venezuela. Taking these holders out (amounting to about 3,000 tonnes) leaves a balance of 8,401 tonnes for all the rest. If we further assume that half of that has been deposited in London, New York, or Zurich and leased out, that means the total gold leased and available for leasing since 2002 is about 12,000 tonnes. And once that has gone, there is no monetary gold left for the purpose of price suppression.
Could this have disappeared since 2002 at an average rate of 1,000 tonnes per annum? Quite possibly, in which case, the central banks are very close to losing all control over the gold price.
In Part II: The Very Real Danger of a Failure in the Gold Market, I discuss why the Chinese are buying so much gold and why the Reserve Bank of India is trying to suppress gold demand. I show that gold is substantially undervalued and why that undervaluation is likely to correct itself spectacularly, precipitating a financial crisis.
“We’ve Been Conditioned Over The Years To Trust Paper Money”
By Mark O’Byrne
Today’s AM fix was USD 1,231.75, EUR 911.60 and GBP 760.57 per ounce.
Friday’s AM fix was USD 1,241.75, EUR 918.59 and GBP 766.75 per ounce.
Gold remained unchanged Friday, closing at $1,243.20/oz. Silver slipped $0.12 or 0.6% closing at $19.87/oz. Platinum fell $5.50 or 0.4% to $1,437.74/oz, while palladium dropped $6.50 or 0.9% to $729.72/oz. Gold and silver both fell on the week at 3.46% and 4.24% respectively.
Gold initially ticked slightly higher in Asia overnight after the U.S., China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany reached an agreement with Iran yesterday to limit Iran’s nuclear programme. The agreement allows for the easing of sanctions on trading gold with Iran. This has prevented Iran from diversifying into gold in recent months.
Two hours into trading and gold was slightly higher at $1,244.50/oz. However, gold prices then came under pressure, with more concentrated, significant sell orders commencing at exactly 0600 GMT. Sharp, concentrated selling took place which pushed gold prices from $1,238/oz to $1,225 or $13 in less than two minutes. Interestingly, a volume buyer then stepped in and gold then bounced higher to $1,233/oz.
The detente with Iran is not as bearish for gold as is thought. While the threat of any imminent conflict with Iran has eased in the short term, the move allows Iran to begin accumulating gold again – another source of significant sovereign demand.
There is also still risks of a military confrontation in the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia were extremely opposed to the deal and significant tensions remain in the powder keg that is the Middle East.
On Friday, gold managed to close with a slight gain, but that didn’t stop prices from suffering their biggest weekly loss in 10 weeks – down 3.4%. Gold’s falls came amid peculiar trading on the COMEX last week which saw COMEX suspend trading twice on Wednesday. The incessant speculative chatter over possible, but unlikely, tapering of the Federal Reserve’s debt monetisation programme continues.
DEMAND IN CHINA remains robust as seen in Shanghai gold premiums. Closing wholesale premiums continue to strengthen, gold closed at a $33 premium at $1,265.69 (see table below) today, up from a $11.25 premium at $1,265.69/oz on Friday.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange saw ‘recorded deliveries’ of 17.950 tonnes bringing November totals to 216.018 tonnes. Gold deliveries on the SGE are headed for another extremely large delivery month once settled as Chinese jewellers and bullion dealers stock up for Chinese New Year.
LATEST CFTC DATA from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed hedge funds got increasingly bearish on gold, with speculators scaling back exposure after the most aggressive pullback in positioning since March 2012 the week prior. Net longs on gold dropped to the lowest level in four months.
COMEX warehouse activity was interesting Friday as physical silver bullion saw very significant movement in COMEX warehouses. 2,554,353 troy ounces were received and 18,335 troy ounces shipped out. HSBC USA was the large recipient of 1.954 million ounces of silver.
JOHN PAULSON, hedge fund billionaire recently told his clients that he won’t invest any more of his own money in his gold fund, owing to an uncertainty over when inflation will accelerate. Paulson’s PFR Gold Fund is reportedly down 63% year-to-date.
It is important to note that Paulson is not selling his gold and is maintaining his very large position in gold which is a vote of confidence by one of the largest investors in the world.
GOLDCORE’S MARK O’BYRNE was interviewed by the SGT Report over the weekend and the video has just been released and can be viewed here .
“We have these huge fundamental factors that should be contributing to higher gold (and silver) prices, and that’s why many people are scratching their heads and asking ‘why isn’t this happening?’”
“We’re down about 25% year to date despite these strong fundamentals.”
Mark explains how for 53 years the Chinese people were banned from owning gold. But that all changed in 2003, and now the enormous demand by 1.3 billion Chinese over the last ten years is causing a paradigm shift, as gold and silver moves from the West to the East.
He says how silver remains very undervalued and will likely reach its inflation adjusted high of $140/oz in the coming years.
Silver remains a tiny market with all above ground refined silver in the world at roughly 1 billion ounces for a total valuation of less than $20 billion at today’s prices.
Therefore, all the silver in the world is worth less than the total market capitalisation of one tech darling, Twitter. It is worth less than the total market capitalisation of Tesla.
All the investment grade silver in the world, is worth roughly what the Federal Reserve prints in one week – $19.6 billion. Incredibly, at $85 billion per month, the Federal Reserve is printing money and buying its own debt to the tune of $19.6 billion a week – “mind boggling”.
As for the race to debase and the manipulation of precious metal prices, Mark says, “They can mess around with the price all they want, ultimately the price of everything in the long term will be dictated by supply and demand, particularly for a physical commodity like gold.”
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Jim Rogers hope-driven wish is that the politicians were smart enough at some point to say (to the central bankers), “we’ve got to stop this, this is going to be bad.” He adds, on the incoming QEeen, “she’s not going to stop it, first of all she doesn’t believe in stopping it, she thinks printing money is good.” However, Rogers warns in this excellent interview with Birch Gold, “eventually the markets will just say, “We’re not going to play this game anymore”, and we’ll have a serious collapse.” The world is blinded by central bank liquidity, and as Rogers somewhat mockingly notes “if everybody says the sky is blue, I urge you to look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window…” Rogers concludes, “everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy,” because as he ominously warns, when ‘it’ collapses, “there will be big change.
Transcript (via Birch Gold Group)
Rachel Mills, Birch Gold Group (BGG): This is Rachel Mills forBirch Gold, and I am very pleased to be joined today by Jim Rogers, legendary investor. Thank you so much Jim for joining me.
Jim Rogers: I am delighted to be here Rachel.
BGG: So today I wanted to talk a little about stock market highs and Quantitative Easing and inflation and a little bit of Federal Reserve and when is the taper is going to happen and currency wars. But there is one question that I don’t have to ask you, which you get asked a lot, I know, and that is what your secret to being so prescient in the marketplace?
“…if everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge you to go and look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window…”
JR: As far as I know, I’m not quite sure. I do know that I have learned over the years, always, when nearly everybody is thinking the same way that means somebody’s not thinking that means we got to start thinking about it and see if there’s not another way, another approach. Because if everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge you to go and look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window. If they see on the television or in the newspaper or something that everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge them to look out the window. I find that most people don’t want to do their homework, that’s the first problem that many people have, is just doing simple homework.
“…no matter what we all know today, it’s not going to be true in 10 or 15 years…”
Second, I have learned that if everybody says the sky is blue and I go and look out the window and see that it is blue, I have also learned that, well wait a minute, if everybody knows the sky is blue, is that going to change? Now that everybody knows something, is it time to start thinking about “Well maybe tomorrow the sky will not be blue?” And again, most people say “Well everybody knows the sky is blue and that’s all we need to know.” No, it’s not all you need to know because another thing I have learned in my life is that no matter what we all know today, it’s not going to be true in 10 or 15 years. You pick any year in history and go back and then look to see what everybody thought was true in that year, 15 years later the world had changed enormously. Enormously. And yet in that particular year everybody was convinced that this is the way the world was. Pick 1900, 1930, 1950, any year you want to pick, and you will see that 15 years later, the world was totally, totally different from what everybody thought it was at that time.
So I have learned, for whatever reason, to know that change is coming, to know to think against the crowd, that the crowd is nearly always wrong and to try to think for myself. Now, I certainly make plenty of mistakes and have made plenty of mistakes in my life, but these are some of the things that I have learned, to try to think around the corner, try to think to the future if you want to be successful.
BGG: Yeah that’s right. And I read somewhere, tell me if this is true, that you were shorting real estate in 2006?
JR: Yes, yes, 2006, 2007, 2008. Yes, yes. I was short Fannie Mae, I was short all of the investment banks. I was short all the banks.
BGG: And I bet, were people rolling their eyes at you, were they laughing at you?
JR: Oh very much so. I went on television quite a lot in those days saying it’s crazy. And I was on CNBC and I explained that I was short Fannie Mae and had been short Fannie Mae and Fannie Mae finally started to collapse. And the lady said to me, “Well it’s your fault that Fannie Mae is going down, it’s the short sellers that are causing problems with Fannie Mae.” And I explained to her, “Listen lady, if you really think that short sellers are making Fannie Mae collapse, you better get another job, because that’s not the way the world works.” Short sellers do not make Fannie Mae go from $70 to $0, I assure you, the only thing that can make that happen is serious fundamental problems. So yes, everybody knew I was nuts back in those days!
And then, they started blaming it on me and on the short sellers, all of the problems. Nobody likes to take responsibility for their mistakes, certainly not politicians, but it was clear that first they laugh at you, then they ridicule you and say it’s your fault and blame it on you. Eventually they all say, “Oh, well we knew that. We thought of it ourselves! We knew that Fannie Mae was a fraud.” But that’s a difficult and sometimes painful process.
BGG: Sounds like they were attributing more power to you than you actually have!
JR: It’d be wonderful if all I had to do was sell something short and it would go down. Unfortunately it usually goes up when I sell it short, my timing is usually pretty wrong.
BGG: I want to talk a little bit about currencies. It seems that all the major countries in the world are in this race to the bottom to devalue their currency relative to all the others to appease their export industry. Meanwhile, workers and savers are getting killed by the cost of living increases that this is causing. Do you have any observations or predictions about how this currency war is going to end, or can it continue somehow indefinitely? And who wins in a currency race to the bottom?
“Eventually the markets will just say, ‘We’re not going to play this game anymore’, and we’ll have a serious collapse.”
JR: Well, the first thing you need to know is that nobody ever wins a trade war, a currency war, which is just another kind of trade war. Everybody loses in the end, some may temporarily come out ahead but it’s temporary if nothing else. As you have pointed out, the cost of living of many people is going up, and it certainly is, my gosh, in Japan you have a currency that’s down 25% in a year. Well I assure you the Japanese are feeling that because everything that Japan imports has gone up fairly substantially AND even the things that they don’t import are up because the Japanese manufacturers and the Japanese producers can raise prices because they don’t have to worry about competing with the foreigners any more.
“We’ve got to stop this, this is going to be bad.”
So we’re all losing in currency wars. How long can it go on? Well, it can go on as long as politicians can continue to print money. The problem is, of course, eventually the markets will just say, “We’re not going to play this game anymore” and we’ll have a serious collapse. You and I can print money all day long, but at some point, you, I and everybody else is going to say, “Wait a minute, guys, this money is getting worse and worse and more and more worthless, so why don’t we stop playing this game?” I wish the politicians were smart enough at some point to say, “We’ve got to stop this, this is going to be bad.”
But unfortunately they never have, and probably never will. Mr. Bernanke is certainly not going to stop it, because he doesn’t want to go down in history as causing the collapse. Mrs. Yellen, when she comes in, she’s not going to stop it, first of all she doesn’t believe in stopping it, she thinks printing money is good. And she knows – I hope she’s smart enough to know – that if she stops, oh my gosh, it’s going to collapse. So she’s not going to stop. Nobody wants to go down as causing the collapse of the world. So I’m afraid this is going to go on until the market eventually says to them, “Okay, enough is enough,” we have a big collapse and then they’re all thrown out and we can start over.
“Eventually they will try to cut [QE], it will finally cause the collapse, at that point we will have a big change, because they will throw them out, whether it’s the politicians or the central bankers or whoever.”
BGG: Wow, that’s a painful scenario actually. Do you think there is any chance that Larry Summers would have stopped Quantitative Easing at all?
JR: Well, first of all it’s irrelevant because he’s not going to be Federal Reserve Chairman. Second, even if he started, you know, if somebody came in and said, “Okay, we’ve got a terrible problem, we’ve made horrible mistakes, now let’s change things.” And even if everybody in the world said, “You know, he’s right, we’ve got to do something” and they started, well, within a few months or a year or two, the pain would be pretty horrible and then everybody’s going to say, “Well we didn’t know the pain was going to be this bad, this is not what we signed up for.” And then the guy would either be thrown out or assassinated or who knows what!
BGG: Oh yeah, they would blame everything on whoever stopped the party.
JR: Yeah. At first they say “It’s fine, we want to do it”, but once the pain comes, the pain is going to get pretty serious. We had Mr. Volcker who came in, was told “stop the madness” back in the 1970s and he did. Well, Jimmy Carter got thrown out, because he was who had told him to do that, because the pain was so bad. Reagan of course thought it was wonderful, that pain was taking place because that got him elected. And it was help to clean up the problems. That’s what happens, you cause the pain and they throw you out.
BGG: So, you don’t think there is any way they’re gonna make good on their threats or promises to taper?
JR: They might, no I don’t. They might start, as I said, somewhere along the line they’re going to start doing it. But when the pain gets pretty serious, the lady or the person or whoever it is, is going to have real problems. Let’s say that in 2015, Yellen says, “We’ve got to stop this” and they start stopping it, well, at that point it’s going to be pretty serious for the parties in power and they’re going to get thrown out and the next guys will continue to taper because, as I’ve said, they got power because of the tapering and the problems, and they’ll clean up the problems.
But that’s the only way that you’re going to see it stop someday. The market is just going to say, “We don’t want to play.” That’s what happened with Jimmy Carter when he was in, everything was collapsing: bond yields were falling apart, you know, inflation was everywhere. “Thank you Mr. Carter, we don’t want to play this game anymore. It’s absurd.”
BGG: What tip-offs are you looking for for where the top of the market is and when would you start to see the collapse coming? Are there signs that you’re looking for?
JR: Well, I wish I was that smart or it was that easy. Back in the late 1970s, Mr. Volcker was told and he came in and said: “I am going to kill inflation because Mr. Carter has told me to.” And Mr. Carter was very clear that he had to stop inflation. I doubt if we’ll have that kind of scenario again but we would think, we would hope, that the Federal Reserve will announce, you know, that they publish their numbers so we can all see what’s happening. At the moment they are buying a trillion dollars a year – that’s a trillion with a “T” – of assets. Eventually we will see that they stop that if they do or slow it down.
What will probably happen is that they will slow it down at first to see what happens, and if things aren’t too bad at first – and they probably won’t be too bad at first – well what is likely to happen is they will slow it down, things will drop, and then they will rally and the Federal Reserve will say “Hey, this is not so bad, we can do it.” And they’ll cut some more. Things will drop again and then rally, because it will take a while for people to really believe how bad it can get, or will get. And so eventually they will try to cut [QE], it will finally cause the collapse, at that point we will have a big change, because they will throw them out, whether it’s the politicians or the central bankers or whoever … will continue because they like it, they got the job because of the collapse and then we’ll finally start over. But it may be really painful in the meantime.
“I’ve owned gold for many years, I’ve never sold any gold and I can’t imagine I ever will sell gold in my life because it is somewhat of an insurance policy.”
BGG: Sure. And when we do begin the process of starting over, whenever that happens, it will be really good to have something substantial, something real, something other than paper in your portfolio. And that’s what Birch Gold is trying to help people figuring out how to do. So, we’ve always said that precious metals are a type of insurance for the long term. I read in your interview in Barrons that you are holding gold right now and expecting maybe a buying opportunity to come up. Do you still feel that way?
JR: Yes, I’ve owned gold for many years, I’ve never sold any gold and I can’t imagine I ever will sell gold in my life because it is somewhat of an insurance policy. I hope that my daughters own my gold someday, I mean I owned gold, I’ve never sold any gold and if gold comes down and I expect it to go down, doesn’t mean it will, I’ll buy more. I’m certainly not going to sell.
“Everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy. So if they don’t have any right now, I would urge them to go buy something.”
BGG: Right. So what advice would you give someone who as of yet has no precious metals in their portfolio right now?
JR: Well, everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy. So if they don’t have any right now, I would urge them to go buy something, buy themselves a gold coin if nothing else, and see that it’s not going to hurt. It won’t hurt you to buy the first gold coin, the first silver coin, and from that you start accumulating as your own situation dictates.
First, do your homework, don’t buy gold because you heard me say it or even because you hear you say it. But if people don’t own they should start after they have done their homework. And then they will probably, if they do their homework, most people will then realize, “Oh my gosh, I better have insurance, and gold and silver may get me through serious problems ahead.”
BGG: Yeah. How do you feel about silver? Do you favor silver over gold? How do you feel?
JR: Well, silver is historically down 60% from its all-time highs, so yes, I would prefer silver at the moment because gold is down only what, 30 or 40% from its all-time highs.
BGG: Well, thank you so much for talking with me today. I think we will leave it there. Thank you so much, Jim Rogers.
JR: Thank you Rachel, anytime. Let’s do it again.
BGG: I would love to.
JR: Bye bye.
BGG : Bye, thank you!
As the U.S. Government continues to waste time debating over the “Debt Ceiling Delusion”, the death of the fiat monetary system grows closer. Since 2000, the value of gold and silver have increased substantially compared to the world’s fiat currencies.
According to GoldSilver.com article, Race to Debase 2000 – 2013 Q3 Fiat Currencies vs. Gold & Silver, fiat currency has lost on average of 78.16% of its value compared to silver.
You can check and see which currencies have lost the most of their value compared to silver and gold at the link above. Below is only part of the table which includes 120 fiat currencies from around the globe:
If you had purchased silver in South Africa in 2000, it would be worth 563% more today. We can see also why the Vietnamese have been buying the precious metals as silver is worth 519% more today than it was in 2000.
The world is now in the last stages of the Fiat Monetary System. The debate on the U.S. Debt Ceiling is masquerading the fact that there is no solution or remedy except a grand collapse of the financial system.
Mike Maloney explains in this brief video how there is always much more debt than available currency in existence to pay back the debt:
Video Link Here: Why The Debt Ceiling is Impossible – It’s a Delusion
This is also a preview of Episode 4 of the series, Hidden Secrets of Money which I highly recommend watching the full version when it is released shortly.
Gold & Silver Will Be Much More than Stores of Value
As I have mentioned in prior articles, many precious metal analysts believe gold and silver are either “Insurance” or “Stores of Value” rather than investments. They believe that the precious metals should be held as insurance against the collapse of currency or governments, while others believe that it will retain a store of value against inflation and etc.
While I believe these are valid reasons to own gold and silver, they fail to address the energy issues going forward and their impact on the monetary metals. The Dollar was able to survive for another 3+ decades after gold and silver peaked in 1980, due to a rising global energy supply.
A Fiat Monetary System based on fractional reserve and compound interest needs a growing energy supply to survive. Peak Oil should have already come and gone several years ago, however massive amounts of new debt allowed non-commercial oil deposits to be extracted.
Even though shale oil production from the Bakken in North Dakota has provided a great deal of oil to the United States, it has come at cost. According to Rune Likvern of Fractional Flow, his estimated cumulative net cash flow of the Shale Oil producers in the Bakken is now at a Negative $16 billion.
The Red area of the chart shows the estimated cumulative net cash flow and the black bars represent the monthly net cash flow. Thus, the shale oil companies in the Bakken had to acquire an estimated $16 billion of additional funding not providing by their operations alone.
Unfortunately, unconventional oil resources such as Shale oil and gas will not be able to allow “Business as Usual” in the world to continue as the costs are greater than what consumers can afford to pay.
This is indeed the reason why we have been witnessing the “Great Shale Energy Hype” by the oil industry and official institutions. Without shale oil or gas, the Fiat Monetary System would have more than likely died a few years ago.
Gold and silver will become excellent investments as they will be the GO TO ASSETS as most others will become increasingly worthless as the global energy supply peaks and declines. Furthermore, it may not be prudent to switch out of the majority of ones gold and silver investments and into other asset classes when the GREAT REVALUATION OCCURS.
I will explain why in more detail in the future. However, most Real Estate values on average will decline substantially in a peak energy environment. Real Estate in selected areas and regions will do better than others. Moreover, warehouse and commercial real estate will suffer significantly as the market will deal with decades of overbuilding on top of dwindling demand.
Very few realize just how much a peak energy environment will affect the economy and their investments going forward. The SRSrocco Report will provide information and updates on how energy will impact the precious metals, mining and overall economy.
- Bitcoin exceeds $200 mark, investors worry about bubble (zdnet.com)
- Debt Ceiling Delusion Awakens the Silver Bull (outsiderclub.com)
- That US debt ceiling and the Fed (cobdencentre.org)
- Race to Debase – 2000 to 2013 Q3 – Fiat Currencies vs Silver & Gold (financialsurvivalnetwork.com)
This story is just further proof of the complete and total mess that has been made of the Indian gold market over of the course of this year due to government intervention. The other part of the problem is that when you are dealing in physical supplies you can’t just deliver paper contracts. Somehow I don’t think that would cut it for Indians on festival days or their daughters’ weddings.
(Reuters) – Gold premiums in India, the world’s biggest buyer of the precious metal, hit a record $100 an ounce, about 8 percent over London prices, on a shortage of supplies to meet festival demand, traders said on Tuesday.
“There are no supplies in the domestic market, and there is a little demand due to festivals… what little supplies that come, go to exporters,” Bachhraj Bamalwa, director at the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) told Reuters.
Most suppliers in Mumbai and Kolkata have started quoting premiums in excess of $100 an ounce above London prices, more than double the $40 charged last week, Bamalwa said.
Gold imports have virtually dried up in India after the federal government introduced the 80/20 rule, creating confusion among government officials on its implementation and halting shipments for about two months.
The World Gold Council has said India’s gold demand could rise as much as 15 percent this quarter to 300 tonnes as pent-up demand following a good monsoonkeeps the country on track for yearly demand estimated at 1,000 tonnes.
If that demand number is correct, then India and China alone are on track to consume 75% of the world’s total gold production in 2013. Fortunately for them, Western investors are more than comfortable accepting pieces of paper.
Full article here.
- Indian Premiums Surge $30 To Record On Physical Demand, Supply Crunch (goldcore.com)
- Indian Premiums Surge $30 To Record On Physical Demand, Supply Crunch (maxkeiser.com)
- Gold Premiums in India Jump on Festive Demand, Supply Crunch (financialsurvivalnetwork.com)
- Monday Humor: On The Insanity Of Fiat Money (zerohedge.com)
- From Fiat to Credit (reclaimmoney.wordpress.com)
- Quantitative Easing Worked For The Weimar Republic For A Little While Too (sgtreport.com)
- The S&P 500 is relatively high Compared to Gold & Gold Equities (silveristhenew.com)
- MUST WATCH: Hidden Secrets of Money – Episode 2 (srsroccoreport.com)
- Janet Yellen will bring Negative Interest Rates (silveristhenew.com)
- LUIS MIRANDA – Will the US Fed stop pumping fiat currency in 2014? (prn.fm)
- Deviation Between Gold And Money Supply Presents Rare Opportunity (goldsilverworlds.com)
- The Consequences Of QE For The Long-Term (etfdailynews.com)
- FDR’s Gold Confiscation, 80 Years On (dailyreckoning.com)
- EPA Confiscating Gold In Alaska (12160.info)
- Will China Confiscate its Citizen’s Gold? (financialsurvivalnetwork.com)
- 130830 – India Gold Confiscation? (video) (brotherjohnf.com)
- Can you control gold demand? Pt I (therealasset.co.uk)
- Marc Faber: I Don’t Feel Comfortable Holding Cash With Banks (etfdailynews.com)
Backwardation in gold is a sign that the regime of irredeemable paper money based on the dollar is coming to an end. When it becomes permanent, then gold will no longer be offered in exchange for dollars (or yuan, pounds, euro, etc.) There will be no gold “price”. In other words, paper money will be worthless.
- ZeroHedge: Don’t Trade Last Week’s Silver Story! (silveristhenew.com)
- Ted Butler: I Own Silver Because Of The Coming Silver Shortage (goldsilverworlds.com)
- Supply and Demand Metrics Suggest A Bright Future For Gold Ahead (etfdailynews.com)
- Gold: Physical Demand Vs Paper Supply (zerohedge.com)
- How Hyperinflation Happens (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- HYPERINFLATION – Chicken or the Egg (armstrongeconomics.com)
- First Signs of Hyperinflation Have Arrived (12160.info)
- Inflation, Hyperinflation or Deflation? (sgtreport.com)
- Hyperinflation __ The Answer To Our Prayers for Small Government and Free Markets? (conservativesonfire.wordpress.com)
- Gold, Silver, and Hyperinflation (sgtreport.com)
- Hyperinflation 101 + Syria Outlaws the U.S. Dollar (ftmdaily.com)
Gold Confisaction Imminent? Or Does India Simply Have An Offer For Its Citizens They Can’t Refuse… | Zero Hedge
- Is India preparing to ‘Confiscate’ its Citizens’ Gold? (news.goldseek.com)
- Can you control gold demand? Pt I (therealasset.co.uk)
- Will China Confiscate its Citizen’s Gold? (safehaven.com)
- What Gold Nationalization Really Means | Zero Hedge (zerohedge.com)
- Dutch bank defaulted on physical gold deliveries to customers (waronjesus.wordpress.com)