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What if you could carry and exchange gold in the exact same manner as you do with the dollar bills in your wallet?
I’ve recently been introduced to a technology that’s making this possible.
In today’s podcast, I speak with Adam Trexler, President of Valaurum, about this technology and the gold-infused notes it creates. Valaurum’s mission is to democratize ownership of gold by converting it into a form affordable to anyone.
In short, a fractional gram’s worth of gold is affixed to layers of polyester, creating a note – called an “Aurum” –similar in dimension and thickness to a U.S. dollar bill. This gold (usually 1/10th or 1/20th of a gram) is commercially recoverable. So an Aurum offers similar potential as a coin or bar, in terms of providing a vehicle for storing and exchanging known, dependable increments of precious metals – just in much smaller (and more affordable) amounts than commercially available to date.
The big idea here? In a world where a 1oz coin of gold costs over $1,200, an Aurum will let you hold a few dollars’ worth of gold in a single note. If you’ve got pocket change, you can be a precious metals owner.
And you don’t have to change your behavior. You can store and transport an Aurum in your billfold along with your dollars.
Understanding the Aurum
As the saying goes, a picture’s worth a thousand words. Here’s a picture of an Aurum designed for Peak Prosperity that the Valaurum team produced for us:
(click here to purchase – PP.com will NOT receive a fee if you do)
You’ll see that with even just 1/20th of a gram of gold involved, it’s enough to make the Aurum appear to be “made of” gold. The characteristic luster, color, and shine of the 24-karat gold used is immediately apparent.
The Aurum is designed to be handled in the same manner as we do with our “paper” money. And, despite having a more ‘plastic’ feel to it (resulting from the polyester backing), it’s as flexible, lightweight, and familiar-feeling as paper currency.
The big difference, of course, is that instead of being a claim on something else, it simply is what it is: a fractional gram of gold. It can be stored, traded, or melted down – just like a coin or bar.
Here’s a brief video that gives an overview of the production process:
Being able to hold gold in this form is significant for several reasons.
First, it makes gold ownership available to all budgets. Many of the world’s households have been priced out of gold to date. This changes that completely.
Second, it enables the potential for everyday transactions should we ever return to a precious metal-backed monetary standard. It answers the challenge: How will you pay for your groceries with gold? With an Aurum, it’s now easy.
Whether Valaurum’s product emerges as the winning horse or not, the world definitely needs this type of solution (i.e., convenient fractional physical metal) to go mainstream.
I’m very excited by this new innovation in the bullion industry, and I explore the matter in depth in this podcast. If you’re similarly intrigued, it’s worth the listen.
And for those of you interested in owning an Aurum of your own, you can learn how to purchase the Peak Prosperity Aurum pictured above by clicking here (Peak Prosperity does NOT receive a fee on these sales).
Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Adam Trexler (36m:59s):
Adam Taggart: Hello, and welcome to the Resilient Life podcast. Resilient Life is part of PeakProperity.com, and it is where we focus on practical and actionable knowledge for building a better future. I am your host, Adam Taggart, and today’s guest is Adam Trexler. Adam Trexler is the president of Valaurum, which is a very interesting company that Chris and I have come across.
One of the very common criticisms, I guess you could say, that we will oftentimes encounter with people when we talk about the wisdom of owning precious metals, particularly in physical form, is, Well, hey, if you are ever at a point where we are using precious metals to actually make real purchases in the world, you are not going to bring down your one-ounce gold coin to buy a loaf of bread. How practical actually is returning to some sort of metals-backed standard really going to be?
Well, this company, Valaurum, that Adam has helped found and is running, has built a product that could potentially be an excellent solution for that use-case. What Valaurum does is it has a proprietary technology that applies a certain amount of precious metals – I think right now their majority product is a gold-backed one or a gold-based one – and it injects that gold directly onto a surface; they can put it pretty much on any surface, but right now it is doing it in note form. So it is a product that looks very much, in terms of dimensions, like the dollar bills that you would put in your wallet, but it actually has a certain percentage of a gram of gold actually injected into the product. And it is enough gold that you can actually very clearly see that this product has gold on it or in it. So it is your opportunity and ability to basically transact or share fractional grams of gold with other people.
We will have some images of what Valaurum’s product, it is called the Aurum, looks like, that will accompany this podcast, so you see visually what we are talking about. But I wanted to talk with Adam about the product, about the mission behind the company, why he has decided to create this technology, what his vision for the future is. And how people that are interested in potentially owning some physical precious metal in this format, where they can go to learn more about it, and if they want to actually buy some for themselves, how they can do that as well.
So I would like to welcome Adam to the program. Adam, thank you so much for joining me today.
Adam Trexler: Thanks for having me, Adam.
Adam Taggart: You are very welcome. I know we are going to get a little confusing, I think, with the Adams here, but hopefully our audience can follow along.
Well, first, Adam, I want to give thanks to a mutual friend of ours, a Peak Prosperity reader, who brought Valaurum to our attention. I believe he might be on your board of advisors, and I am sure this person is listening and knows who he is. But I had not been familiar with your product until he made the recommendation. And since you and I have been talking and I have actually gotten the opportunity to hold some Aurums in my hot little hands, I have really become a big fan of the product. And then you and I met when you were out here in Northern California a few months ago, meeting with your production team. We got to talk a little bit more in detail about the company, and I have really found it very intriguing, so I wanted to bring this to the attention of the Peak Prosperity audience.
And I think probably the easiest way to start here is just at the beginning. What is the mission behind the company? Why was it created?
Adam Trexler: Well, Aurum was actually invented, I should say, by a husband-and-wife team, Paul and Laurie, and all credit to them for having the vision that you could have a gold instrument of this size, of a sub-gram size. I came across the technology and thought it was just the most fascinating thing that you could have $2, $4, $6 worth of gold embedded in a form that was far easier to use. And what I saw pretty quickly, when I began to think about this, was that this made gold investment available to all people, and also made gold easier to hold in the physical form than anything else on the market.
And I thought this was a product that people in the U.S. would want, people in the developed world would want, but also where the gold market has been going is in Asia in the developing markets. That is where we see the largest demand for gold. And as gold has gone up from $300 – there was a high there a couple years back, but still, at $1200, $1300 an ounce, people just cannot afford to own gold, and cannot afford to own gold in the increments that are available. And this product makes that possible.
So I believe in gold ownership. I believe in precious metals. I believe in physical assets and an investment relationship to the real world. And I saw that this was something that was truly novel and had the opportunity to be huge, and I wanted to serve that vision.
Adam Taggart: Great. So it really sounds like the democratization of the ownership of precious metals, particularly gold, was a driving force here. And we will get into the Aurum itself in just a moment, but the samples that I have held, one had a 10th of a gram of gold in it and one had a 20th of a gram of gold.
Adam Trexler: Right.
Adam Taggart: And I am not going to embarrass myself by doing the math on the fly here at current prices. But basically, to your point, it is a couple of dollars’ worth of gold that is applied there to the note. So you are taking an option that is probably not affordable for most people, if they are considering buying an ounce of gold, and you are giving them the ability with fractional grams to really take pocket change and actually convert that into precious metals, should they want to.
Adam Trexler: That is right. And one thing that really hooked me when I was first researching this project was, I was traveling in Costa Rica looking at some artisanal gold mines. I got very interested in where gold comes from. And I talked to a gentleman who had had a gold production facility. He made rings, and he had a wonderful business, where all men in Costa Rica had to have gold rings. And it was a way for them to hold tradable, physical wealth.
And what happened is, the rings just became too expensive. Nobody could afford them anymore, and they moved to a more consumerist model of holding wealth. People wanted cheap cars, and suddenly nobody had gold anymore. And there was a transfer away from that, which I think is really significant. And this idea of democratizing gold ownership as gold goes up, as the world recognizes that we need these kinds of hard assets, to me seems really important, a critical issue for our time.
Adam Taggart: Yeah, and one of the things I love about what the technology enables – and I do not know if this is the vision of the company, so do not make me ascribe a motive here to you – but as I have reflected on the product, now that I have actually held samples of it, is, were we ever to move back to a precious metal backing to a currency or our currency, you can have what we had back in the early 1900s, where you have a paper note that is a claim on a certain amount of precious metal, and that you can take your paper note down to the central bank and exchange it for some amount of actual, physical metal. What I love about Valaurum’s technology is, you remove a step there. You actually inject the metal in the note itself, so the note does not need to be brought anywhere to be exchanged. It actually is the amount of precious metals that it says it is. It is one of the things I love about with the promise of the technology here. I do not know if your plans are as grandiose as to have it be used for a national currency somewhere, but I suppose the technology or one like it could do that. Is that correct?
Adam Trexler: That is correct. And it is worth saying that we have anti-counterfeiting features built into it. If a government was ever to adopt it as tender, that would be very interesting. My interest in the technology is that it really puts the gold into the hands of people, and there is not that counterparty risk. So when you see gold held in a vault, promises of gold, these kinds of things, that is wonderful. And it makes a lot of sense for certain kinds of transactions. But I think that people should also seriously consider that they might want to actually, physically hold their metal, and this is a means to do that.
Adam Taggart: And as Peak Prosperity listeners know, Chris and I have been longtime advocates of the precious metals. We have also been longtime advocates of holding a material portion of that, at least, physically. This is just yet another way to do that.
So let us use this to segue into a description of what exactly an Aurum is. And again, just not to lose people here, we have talked about the company itself, which is called Valaurum, and the product they have, which is the note with precious metal actually injected into it, that is called an Aurum. On your website, Adam, for the product, you list a couple of benefits here. I am just going to quickly read them, and then I am going to give you floor to talk about the product in any way you think is meaningful for listeners to know about it.
Adam Trexler: Sure.
Adam Taggart: You describe these precious-metal-injected notes as safe, easier to verify, and harder to counterfeit than conventional gold coins, bars, or foil. They are convenient. They are thin, lightweight. They easily fit in a wallet or purse, so you do not need to change your behavior at all in terms of how you carry this around.
Adam Trexler: Right.
Adam Taggart: They are divisible. They can be in much smaller quantity than traditional coins or bars – and that is very true; we have been talking about fractional grams here versus ounces. They are durable, protected between layers of strong and transparent polyester film. I will let you talk more about that when you talk about the creation process. You have here “beautiful.” That is a design element here, where just like coins can be works of art, the Valaurum notes have designs on them. And to be honest, I think the design options are probably – you have a substantially greater number of options with Valaurum, because basically if you can design it, you can apply that to the surface here, just like you could with any note.
Adam Trexler: That is right.
Adam Taggart: And you experiment with colors and all sort of different things, and I will let you talk about that. I will also give a little preview that we will be previewing what some of these Valaurum look like in the post along with this podcast.
And lastly, they are affordable. We have talked a bit about this, but you can have them in all sorts of increments. But in particular, very small increments, at least relative to other types of precious metals, so you could literally be holding a couple of dollars of gold in your hand, which is actually pretty hard to do with coins and bars.
So those are the benefits that the company itself has been touting. Let me hand the mic over, here, to you, and tell people, what is an Aurum?
Adam Trexler: Well, it is a funny thing, Adam. It is the sort of thing, and I think you can vouch for this, that the Aurum makes much more sense when you see it in a hand. It is something that does not describe well, but as soon as you see it, you get it. It looks just like a dollar bill or a note from another country. It is plastic on the outside, which is what gives it its strength. There is a polyester layer, and laminated within it is 24-karat pure gold. We are able to print on the polyester layer, in quite high-resolution with color, which means that we can put anything we want on it; there is a customizable element. And in fact, we have begun designing a Peak Prosperity Aurum that has some of your stuff on it. We really like Peak Prosperity.
And basically, you can carry it, hold it, just like you would a dollar bill. You can carry it in your wallet. It is really quite durable, and you can do the same sorts of things with it. It moves well. It travels well. For five hundred years, we have had bars and coins, and not much has changed in that; certainly for several thousand years we have had gold coins. The need for the Aurum really emerges when you start to see gold at $1300 an ounce for long periods of time, $1200 an ounce, certainly over $1000 an ounce.
I actually have a one-gram bar. It is almost impossible to hold on to. The only way they sell it is laminated into a credit card. When you start talking about a 10th of gram, a 20th of a gram, it is very, very difficult, almost impossible to keep track of that sort of thing. Similarly, as I am sure many of your readers do, I have one-ounce silver rounds. They are just not very friendly in the pocket. It is not a handy thing to carry around. You can carry the same worth of gold in your wallet quite easily with an Aurum, and I think that’s the convenience – and, frankly, the beauty. We have had some great designers work on them. We hope to continue in that vein, and we are still learning more about the artistic capacities of this. We actually had Aurum in an art show at one of MoMA’s galleries in New York City. We can print in very high resolution, and because of the way that the gold is layered, it actually creates a unique image on the back which is kind of a negative image. It looks almost like the gold is engraved. And that creates quite a striking effect, as well.
Adam Taggart: I will agree with that. And you mentioned a few minutes ago that we have actually created an Aurum for Peak Prosperity. I really like how it looks. And we will have a picture of that, as I mentioned earlier, on the post accompanying this podcast, so people can see it for themselves.
One of the things that is striking about the Aurum is that it makes me think when you go and visit some of these churches and domed structures around the world where they have gold leaf on the dome, and you find out that it takes actually a surprisingly small amount of gold to be hammered into that incredibly thin gold leaf that then gets applied to these structures. But even in that incredibly thin leafing, it is still very bright and very obvious that it is gold. Even though we have a fractional gram on these Aurum notes here, it is certainly enough to coat the entire surface of the bill here such that the whole thing looks like it is made out of gold. So it is very bright; it is very striking to the eye. And I have shown it to a number of people, and I have shown it to a number of people in the gold and silver space. I mean, a lot of the people who, I think a lot of folks listening to this podcast actually read their work or purchase bullion from their dealerships. I have had the pleasure of being the first person to hand them an Aurum and see their eyes light up and them hold it up to the light and have a delighted reaction to it.
So anyways, like you said earlier, it is much better seeing the product than actually hearing someone explain it. And like I said, we will have some pictures on the site, so in this case, I am sure the pictures will be worth thousands of our words here.
Adam Trexler: I would like to pick up, Adam, on something you said comparing it to gold leaf. One of the fascinating things about gold is that it is one of the most malleable materials that we have. It can be drawn into very, very long wire, and it can be hammered into gold leaf. And when people see this, one common thing for people to think is, Oh, well, what is so different about this? There has been gold leaf for, again,thousands of years.
Well, the way that gold leaf is made is that basically people – largely in India, often families, it is kind of a cottage industry – will take a piece of gold, and with a leather mallet, hammer it repeatedly until it gets thinner and thinner and thinner. And there are two problems with that. The first, for our purposes, it works wonderful for art, but it is very delicate, for obvious reasons. And more importantly, at an atomic level, it is not regular at all. It is really wavy, as you would expect if you just hammered something. It is thin but not precise.
And what one of the main benefits of the Aurum and the technology underpinning the Aurum – and really the genius of the inventor; I cannot take any credit for it at all – is that we can get within one percent and never below this precise amount of gold and this small increment of gold. So, using an electron microscope, when you look at an Aurum, the atoms are completely flat, whereas it would look like mountains and valleys with gold leaf. And that precision is what makes this a value instrument that is unprecedented for these increments in precious metals.
Adam Taggart: Right; meaning, you can have confidence that it has exactly what it says it has in there, because the control is so fine.
Adam Trexler: Exactly. And developing that control was no small engineering feat, I can tell you. The other thing I would say, and you mentioned this earlier about verifiability, is that the Aurum has a real benefit in terms of, the gold atoms are spread out very thin. So whereas, with bars, we have heard about scandals with tungsten in the middle of them. With coins, of course, people have been counterfeiting this for centuries by gold-plating other metals. It is much more difficult to do this with an Aurum; the fact that the gold is on such a small surface, the fact that the equipment to make it is far more expensive and very difficult to develop. Anti-counterfeiting features, we have it built in. And for the thinner Aurum, you can actually see through the gold with a strong light. And gold, unlike most other metals, has a precise turquoise/aqua/blue-green color when you look through it. Even most gold experts do not know this, but if you look through a 1/20th gram Aurum, you will see this blue-green color, and it is actually the color of gold as the light passes through it. And that is another anti-counterfeiting feature.
Adam Taggart: Great, and so, to say this in other words, one of the ways in which you can assay or at least quickly check to see if an Aurum, indeed, is gold or not, is, you can shine a light through it.
Adam Trexler: Correct. With the 1/20th. The 1/10th starts to get thick enough that it is difficult to do that, and we have other anti-counterfeiting features. But that word “assay” is very important to us. We assay every batch.
The gold is actually quite easy to recover from an Aurum. If you melt off the plastic and pull out the impurities related from the plastic, you get a very small gold pellet. And we assay every single batch to make sure – we have other checks, but – to make sure that every Aurum that is sent out is a precise amount of gold for our customers. We live and die on that.
Adam Taggart: Great, and that is where I wanted to go next, which is, I think, one of the first questions that arises when somebody has this is in their hand is, How do I know this is real gold? And if I ever want to recover the gold, how is that done? So speak just a little bit more about the process of, let’s just say somebody is holding on to a bunch of Aurums, whether it is an individual, but maybe let us think about the gold dealer. Let’s just say you have decided to actually start accepting Aurums, and at some point, you have got a big stack of them. And you want to recover the gold itself. How would you go about doing that?
Adam Trexler: Well, it is a very simple process. We use a fire assay in our lab, really for every batch. And what we do is we put it into a crucible; we use some borax to pull out the material from the plastic that is residual, and then you have a weighable pellet. It is very common in the gold industry to recover gold from substrates of various kinds; we can provide a list of that.
But there is something else to emphasize, which is that people say, Can I melt this down? Yes, you absolutely can. The gold is absolutely recoverable. It is not lost in any way. We have to do this ourselves. We have to recover the gold because we have overspray when we manufacture these, so we do this quite regularly. But what is important to emphasize as well is that gold in this form is more valuable than a lump of gold. And this is the same as coins and bars. A U.S. tenth of an ounce coin is much more valuable per increment than a kilo bar would be. So you actually lose money by melting them down. And there is a clear economic argument for that. Gold in this form is more useable, it is more precise, it is more easily tradable than gold in a huge lump. So we think there is real value in maintaining the Aurum in this form, and we would want to encourage dealers and individuals to trade for it on that basis.
Adam Taggart: Great, so let us talk about that, then. I had never heard about the Aurum before we were introduced, and of course, I think it is really innovative and interesting. And it or a product like it should be in the solution set of ways to hold physical gold. What type of traction are you seeing right now among the important opinion leaders, participants that are going to help determine whether or not this product – or, again, a product like it – will potentially go mainstream? Are you seeing bullion dealers react positively to it? Are consumers able to find it and start buying? Just where are we in the adoption cycle here?
Adam Trexler: Sure. It is a very exciting time for Valaurum. We are really starting to get huge traction with bullion dealers throughout North America. We are talking to one currently about having the U.S. exclusive distribution rights for a year or two. I cannot announce that as of today yet, but that is looking very exciting. We are setting up Canadian dealers, and it is just a very exciting time.
Sorry, Adam; there was another piece to your question. I want to make sure I answer it.
Adam Taggart: I really just wanted to know what type of reception are you getting so far in introducing it into the ecosystem. Are you getting positive reactions? Sounds like you are, from some of the initial dealers that you have talked to. And what do you see as the key milestones for getting this from something we are telling people about for the first time to something that is hopefully a little bit more mainstream?
Adam Trexler: Sure. I think that it will become mainstream, and it is just a process. The dealers that we see are very, very excited about this. They see that it makes gold available. I have shown it to a dozen industry gold leaders – people who comment on gold, people that your readers would be very familiar with – and I would say that two-thirds of them see it, and their jaw drops, and they say, Oh, my gosh, this makes gold usable in a way that it just has not been. And they are thrilled about it. The other third – and I am willing to admit this – the other third doesn’t get it, and the reason they do not get it is because they say, Hey, what is the problem? All my readers can buy kilo bars. I say to them, I believe that this is the personal computer of gold. There was a time when people thought, Oh, nobody will really need a computer. We have mainframe. Big businesses will need them, but why would you need a computer in the home? I think this is very similar. This makes gold available to all people. And we will see a widespread push to own gold in this form, and we will also see, at some point, a push in terms of the demand for gold as a result as well. That is my real vision for this company.
Adam Taggart: Okay, great. And let us flash forward five, ten years. Hopefully you have hit your strategic objectives for this product. If one of our listeners were to go buy an Aurum in the future, is your hope that this would be something that, they would walk into their typical coin dealer and it would just be there amongst the options right next to the coins and the bars?
Adam Trexler: I think that is right, and one of the reasons we’ve wanted to grow a dealer network is precisely so there is a buy-and-sell market, and that is the first objective. But I think in the longer term, if the Aurum is accessible enough, you will start to see it in other spaces. I would love to see it in financial exchanges. So when you go to the airport, and you are going to England, and you would say, I would like some British pounds or euros, that you would also be able to change that into gold. And I think that could happen at banks as well.
So in the longer term, I think that this will become a means by which you can buy and sell gold just as easily as you buy and sell the paper currency of other countries.
Adam Taggart: Interesting, great. Well, it would be interesting to see if India lets you in, in that scenario. They still have their gold controls in place; hopefully they won’t. So it is also worth noting as with gold coins and bars, that, as you said earlier, the smaller the increment, the higher its economic value, because it is more tradable, etc., but there is also more work involved to breaking a kilo bar up into a bunch of 1/10th of an ounce gold coins. So the premiums per smaller unit are higher in the precious metal space. And I am assuming, too, the technology is still relatively new. And the scale is not where you will be, hopefully, in five or ten years, at least given your goals. So we should probably be very clear about – if people are buying an Aurum – that there is a premium involved in it, and it is going to be a higher premium than you would have if you bought a one-ounce coin, and that is because it is a much smaller fragment.
Do you want to just elaborate a little bit on the percentage of the premium in the current product, where you think that is going to go, just so people have an eyes-wide-open understanding of, when they are buying a Valaurum, what the economics are?
Adam Trexler: Sure. This is a little bit tricky to answer because we generally do not sell direct to the public, so it’s really up to dealers to price this product. And we do not have a set RRP; we let dealers make their decision about what they think the market will bear. Typically what we are seeing is roughly in the double spot area. If you draw an economic curve of what gold should cost as different increments, this seems roughly in line with the curve that you see from kilo bars down to ounce coins, down to sub-ounce coins, and then down to the Aurum. It is very simple – and our readers and your readers, I am sure, are familiar with this – it is not special to precious metals. It is the same reason you can go to Costco and buy a case of detergent much cheaper than if you go to 7- Eleven and buy a one-use set of tabs. My argument would be that you might want the convenience of the Aurum in addition to holding the majority of your gold in ounces or bars.
Adam Taggart: Right, right. Yeah, and I think right now, because you are so early in the adoption curve, most uses I have seen of the Aurum have been almost more sort of, it is more of a collectible, it is more of a fun way for a company to brand itself and whatnot. But as a consumer who actually is looking at this and saying, I am actually willing to pay a premium to have precious metals in this format at this point in time, just for the insurance factor if we ever got to a point where I needed to give somebody a little slice of gold to do something for me, this is a fantastic medium for that. And as you said, there is an economic curve at which the smaller you go, the higher the premium will go anyways. And as I mentioned earlier – if you can comment on this, it would be great – I am sure you have got a cost of production right now that is also going into that premium that will decrease over time if your business grows and you get greater economies of scale. Is that true?
Adam Trexler: That is absolutely true. This is a high-tech nanotechnology, and doing a couple thousand for Peak Prosperity is not the cheap way to manufacture this. But as we grow, we have clear projections and a pretty clear schedule that shows that the price goes radically down.
Adam Taggart: Great, well, hopefully those dealership relationships that you mentioned you have been getting traction with, as those begin to grown and order volumes begin to increase, you begin to hit those economies of scale. So let us transition quickly to talking about the Peak Prosperity Aurum, because we do have one designed. I think it is very pretty; of course, I am an incredibly biased source. But we will have an image of it here, and people can take a look for themselves.
If you are listening to this and looking at the Peak Prosperity Aurum and thinking that might be a fun thing to own, we are going to have a link there, Adam, that is going to plug into Valaurum’s commerce system, and people will actually be able to buy these. Is that correct?
Adam Trexler: That is correct, yes. And you can go ahead and order them from our site, and we will deliver.
Adam Taggart: All right. Well, fantastic. And I assume over time, if Valaurum gains the traction that it hopes it will, and I hope you guys do, they will start seeing other designs with other providers out there in the world as more people decide that having an Aurum of their own makes strategic sense for them – or is just good art and pleasing to the eye.
Adam Trexler: That is right, and I think it is both those things. I think that your readers will hopefully think,Oh, I would like to see one of those and just see what this is about. And then may think, as I do, that If I am going to hold several ounces of gold, I might want to have an ounce worth in an Aurum, or two ounces worth or some percentage of their precious metal ownership.
Adam Taggart: Yep, that is definitely the approach I am taking. So let us see here, Adam, as we begin to wrap up here, you just happen to live and breathe the precious metal space, given this product, so I would be remiss not to ask you if you are seeing any trends or if you have any market intelligence that our readers who are reading other precious metal sites right now may not have already gotten exposure to in terms of your insider viewpoint, your perspective, or whatnot. Basically this is the Where do you see precious metals going from here? question.
Adam Trexler: Sure. I think that the underlying drivers of precious metals are only going up. I think that there will continue to be global risk. I think there will continue to be global debt problems, and we have seen why people want to own that. But I think the larger trends is the growth of wealth in Asia and other developing countries, where people have historically, for hundreds and hundreds of years, owned gold as a way to hedge their wealth. And the demand trends are very clear. The demand for physical gold has continued to grow even as the price has gone down.
And one thing that I look at that most other commentators may not is I look very, very carefully at the demands numbers for jewelry because there is a sector that is buying coins and bars, and you see that quite often in the United States – people who want to invest, invest in coins and bars. In other countries – I mentioned that ring manufacturer. The way that people invest in other countries is they buy jewelry. And it is typically a lower-increment investment, and that is the overlap with the Aurum. And what you see is that as the price of gold has fallen, that number has surged, both in the U.S. and abroad. And what it says to me is that as gold becomes more affordable, more people jump in and want it. And what I think that represents is a huge pent-up demand for gold, and people not being able to afford the increments that have been on the market.
So I think that the future of gold is very bright. I think that we have an increasing population, a limited supply of gold in the entire world. I don’t see that going anywhere except up over the medium term. And I think as more people have access to gold, have access to incremental wealth that lets them want to stick a bit of money away in this form, it can only go up.
Adam Taggart: All right. Well, I cannot say any of that disagrees with my perspective or that of Chris, so I think we do see the world very similarly to you. And as we see and embrace that trend of more people wanting to own gold more widely, which means having it be available to people at price-entry points that they can afford, it is really wonderful to see innovation and new products like the Aurum on the marketplace. So we wish you all the best.
And, Adam, I know I am going to get a ton of questions after this podcast about the actual process for manufacturing and Aurum and the technology that is involved. And I had intended to get into that, but we just did not have the time for it. I know we have a short video clip that you created that I’ll post along with this write up on the site. But I can definitely see myself inviting you back in the not-too-distant future to talk maybe a little bit more nuts-and-bolts about how the product is actually made.
Adam Trexler: Oh, that would be great, Adam. I have really enjoyed my time, and thanks for having me on.
Adam Taggart: Oh, really, my pleasure. Well, great talking with you, Adam, and best of luck with all your goals for world dominance with the Aurum here.
Adam Trexler: Well, it is really about dominance of the world and recognizing that the physical wealth that we can all have a part in, we should all have access to, and the Aurum is just a piece of that.
Adam Taggart: Very well said. All right, look forward to talking to you again soon, Adam.
Adam Trexler: Thank you.
The surprise of 2014 is gold! The yellow precious metal had its fourth week of gains in a row. It seems like the gold market has been ‘set free’ in 2014. This would mean the end of the cyclical correction, which indicates that the market is ready for the big and final phase of the secular bull run in gold. All of this fits perfectly with everything we have been saying for years about gold.
For those who didn’t notice, please read our free Guide to Gold.
One thing becomes very clear here: gold is moving from the West to the East. Chinese gold import from Hong Kong has been rising dramatically since 2011 and at the same time, the gold price has seen a 30% correction. This brought up a lot of questions from subscribers.
Source: Toqueville Funds / Bloomberg
“How is it possible that the price goes down when there is huge demand?!” To know the answer you have to look at the futures market. Because that is where the market price for gold is set. Yes, you read it well: paper contracts dictate the price of the physical metal.
Since 2011 there are a lot of ‘sell contracts’ for gold, better known as short positions. This caused huge downward pressure on the gold price. An ideal way for China to buy physical gold cheaply. But the Chinese were not the active shorters. American investment banks did that, with JPMorgan in the lead. JPM, AKA, the ‘banker’ of the US government.
JPMorgan built up an historical short position over the years. But at the same time, the bank was bringing in more and more physical gold to store it in its vault below the famous Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York. Where does this gold come from? Just look at the chart for the registered physical gold at warehouses with the COMEX, the American futures market.
The COMEX has been sucked dry in the last year. You will never guess who recently signed a sale agreement for the JPM building in the center of New York, underground gold vaults included… yes, you got it, the Chinese!
Those who want an even better view, should check out the next photo of the new situation in NY.
(H/t Koos Jansen)
Yes, that is correct, the vaults of the Fed are right across from the Chase Manhattan Plaza. Coincidence? We do not think so… But the reserves in the US are naturally insufficient to satisfy the Chinese hunger for gold. The effect of the price correction made sure that the ‘weak hands’ in the gold market let go of their gold. Weak hands is a synonym for (small) investors.
Since the rise of the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (GLD) in 2007, more and more investors committed larger amounts of capital to the gold ETF. At the peak of the market there were 1,300 tonnes of gold in GLD, more than countries like China. That was also not part of the Chinese plan. You probably understand by now where this is going. When the gold price got shaken up, those same investors stepped out of GLD.
Meanwhile, more than 500 tonnes of gold was pulled out of GLD, which implies that the ETF has less than 800 tonnes of gold today.
Where did all this GLD gold go? From the vaults in London, to the smelters in Switzerland to the depots in… Hong Kong! And now we are full circle again: the enormous transfer of gold from Hong Kong to China. All of this – large scale price manipulation in combination with huge gold transfers – is not a walk in the park. All parties need to cooperate.
So it would be hard to imagine that it did not happen with the approval of the US government and the Fed. And probably forced by China! Let us clarify that. China has stopped buying US debt since 2011. That was also the moment that the Fed needed to jump in to support the market. After QE we quickly saw QE2, QE3…
Without these actions from the Fed there would not have been a single buyer of US Treasuries, which would probably mean the end of the American empire. China wanted, or rather demanded, its gold from the West! You can say many things about the Chinese but they certainly are not dumb.
The Chinese realized that for years they received a poisoned gift from the Americans. Only through the acquisition of gold, both world powers would be on a ‘level playing field’ again. Of course, we do not know where this level playing field is, but we do assume that China has more or less reached it. How much gold landed in China since 2011, is very hard to determine. In 2013 alone, more than 2,000 tons was transferred from Hong Kong to China. And this is just one of the import routes. China is not just buying gold from its own gold mines, but is also directly or indirectly the largest customer of most gold producers. All melted gold also found its way to China.
In short, China was the gold market in the last two years!
However, we are spotting a few signals indicating that China is releasing its grip on the gold market. Not only has the continuous drain from GLD stopped, but we also read that China has started buying US Treasuries again. Even more, the Chinese portfolio of US government bonds is at record levels! Now you also know why the American central bank suddenly started ‘tapering’, or scaling back the buyback program of US debt.
Does China have enough gold then? It would not surprise us.
A small calculation taught us the following:
- The US owns more than 8,000 tonnes of gold while the yearly US GDP is just shy of 16 trillion dollars. The yearly GDP of China is a little over 8 trillion dollars, almost half. You would expect then that the level playing field for gold in China hovers around 4,000 tonnes.
- The official amount of gold in the Chinese central bank is still 1,054 tonnes today, but because of the huge gold transfers these last years, we expect that China is close to its golden level playing field.
We do admit, it is a lot of information to digest, but it is extremely important! You have to understand that the US, with the largest pile of debt in the world, would be helped hugely by a higher gold price. The higher the value of gold, the lower the real value of their debt. We have the feeling that if China loosens its grip on the gold market, the gold price can move up quite fast. There is nothing that America wants more and China is now well-hedged.
Where can the gold price go to then? Another small calculation to help us out…
The historical ratio of the monetary base of the Fed teaches us that a gold price of 5,000 to 7,000 dollars/ounce should be enough for the US to make its debt bearable again. From the current level this means at least a quadrupled gold price. For most people this seems improbably high, but do not forget that since the start of the secular trend in gold, its price already went 5x higher. Also in the 70s, the gold price skyrocketed in its second phase from 100 dollars to 850 dollars per ounce in barely four years!
As for now, we’re in the midst of the bottoming proces with gold. Once this proces ends- lets say above 1,300 dollars – the gold price could see a voilent upswing towards 1,550 dollars, where the next battle field arrives for gold. We prefer to play the next U-turn in gold with a selection of quality gold stocks, as the current leverage to the gold price – risk/return – is the best in years, even decades!
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With Deutsche Bank quitting the price-setting panel for gold and Bafin bearing down on the manipulators, Eric Sprott provides some more color on where the manipulation in the precious metals markets is underway (and when it will end)…
Submitted by Eric Sprott of Sprott Global Resource Investments,
As we very well know, 2013 was a difficult but also puzzling year for precious metals investors. The price of gold, silver and their related equities declined by a significant amount while demand for physical bullion from emerging markets and their Central Banks was exceptionally strong.
A common argument that has been made to explain the precipitous decline of the price of precious metals in 2013 is of investors’ disenchantment with precious metals, which had been piling up in exchange traded products as a way for investors to gain exposure to the metals. Proponents of this theory point to the large declines in the total holdings of those ETFs as evidence of investors fleeing the precious metal trade. As shown in Figure 1, the price of both gold and silver suffered very significant declines throughout 2013. Therefore, if this explanation is correct, one would expect the total ETF holdings of both metals to be lower as well.
However, this is not the case. As shown in Figure 2 gold ETFs suffered large redemptions whereas silver ETFs saw their holdings remain more or less constant throughout the year, and this without any observable change in trading patterns in the two largest ETFs; GLD and SLV (Figure 3 shows the ratio of the trading values in the ETFs over time). If redemptions are a symptom of investors’ disenchantment with precious metals as an investment, shouldn’t silver have suffered the same fate as gold? Indeed it should have, but we think the reason silver ETFs were not raided like gold was that Central Banks do not have a silver supply problem, they have a gold problem. As we have argued before, the raiding of gold ETFs is bullish for gold because it reflects an imbalance in the physical market.1
Figure 1: Gold and Silver prices declined significantly in 2013
Figure 2: ETF Holdings – Troy oz (millions)
Source: Bloomberg, tickers ETSITOTL & ETFGTOTL
In this article, we further argue that the April raid on gold and gold ETFs almost backfired by creating a tsunami of buying in India and increased demand to unsustainable levels. In May 2013 alone, Indians imported 162 tonnes2 of gold in a market where monthly global mine production is about 182 tonnes. A continuation of this trend, coupled with strong buying from other Emerging Markets and their Central Banks, would have been overwhelming. But, the response was swift. We suspect that, at the behest of Western Central Banks, the Reserve Bank of India reacted by enacting, in incremental steps, restrictive measures to prevent gold imports (See Figure 4 for a timeline of the major changes made by the Indian Government).3
Figure 3: Traded Value – Ratio of SLV to GLD
Source: Bloomberg. Traded Value is calculated by taking the total trading volume for a quarter and multiplying it by the average price over that quarter. A ratio of 1 indicates that SLV traded as much, in $ terms, as GLD.
Figure 4: Efforts to Curb Indian Gold Imports
Source: Bloomberg, Economic Times
Supply and Demand Imbalances: The Indian Effect
We have already discussed at length the supply and demand imbalance in an Open Letter to the World Gold Council, asking them to revise their methodology because it grossly understates the amount of demand coming from emerging markets.4 Our gold supply and demand table (Table 1) reflects the latest available data (2013 Q3 in most cases). World mine production, excluding Chinese and Russian production still stands at about 2,100 tonnes a year. Chinese net imports most likely exceeded 1,700 tonnes for 2013 (81% of world mine production) and demand from the rest of the world is rather stable.5
The overall picture has not changed much since our last article, with the exception of Indian imports. As of the second quarter of 2013, India had cumulative net gold imports of 551 tonnes, which annualizes to 1,102 tonnes.6 However, Q3 data shows net imports of only 31 tonnes (for a total of 582 tonnes YTD), which annualizes to 776 tonnes.
This incredible loss of momentum for “official” gold imports was the result of concerted actions by the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian Government. While the “official” justification for those restrictions is the large Indian current account deficit, this argument makes little sense. According to government officials, Indian’s taste for gold and the corresponding imports worsens the country’s trade balance, worsens its current account deficit and puts downward pressure on their currency, the Rupee.
But, without going into too many details, the classification of gold as a “good” in the trade balance is at best misleading. Since gold is more of an investment vehicle and is not “consumable” per se, it should instead be accounted for in the capital account of the balance of payments instead of the current account. Indeed, Switzerland, which is a large net importer of gold, reports its trade balance “without precious metals, precious stones and gems as well as art and antiques” to reflect fact that those are “investments” rather than consumption goods.9 In this case, why should India be any different and report their trade data excluding gold? To us, all the fuss about gold imports by the Indian Government is a red herring.
So, without the intervention in the Indian gold market, the shortage of gold would have wreaked havoc in the market, a situation that Western Central Banks could not tolerate.
Table 1: World Gold Supply and Demand 2013, in Tonnes
Sources: GFMS data comes from the WGC’s “Gold Demand Trends” publications for 2013 Q1, Q2 & Q3. Chinese mine supply comes from the China Gold Association and is up to October 2013, the annualized number is a Sprott estimate.8 Russian mine supply comes from the Union of Gold Producers and is up to 2013 Q3. Chinese data is taken from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department and covers the period Jan.-Nov. 2013 and is annualized to account for the missing month. Changes in Central Bank gold reserves are taken from the IMF’s International Financial Statistics, as published on the World Gold Council’s website for 2013 Q1, Q2 & Q3 and include all international organizations as well as all central banks. Net imports for Thailand, Turkey and India come from the UN Comtrade database and include gold coins, scrap, powder, jewellery and other items made of gold. The data is for 2013 Q1, Q2 & Q3. ETFs data comes from GFMS as well.
Conclusion and Outlook for 2014
As demonstrated in our Open Letter to the World Gold Council, there was a large supply-demand imbalance in 2013. The evidence presented here suggests that the decline in the price of gold in mid-2013 and the subsequent raid of gold ETFs (but not silver ETFs) was engineered by Western Central Banks to help solve their physical gold supply problem. However, the resulting increase in Indian gold demand exacerbated the problem. The solution was to restrict Indians from importing gold by all means possible in order to help the Western Central Banks regain control of the gold market.
However, the rate of drain in gold ETFs cannot continue forever; at the current pace of 930 tonnes/year, there are less than two years of gold left in ETFs. Moreover, Indians have proved highly creative at finding ways around import restrictions.10 Smuggling is on the rise and will most likely increase as smugglers become more sophisticated. Overall, we believe that interest in physical gold from emerging markets will remain a driving force.
Besides, mine production is unlikely to grow, as reflected by the significant decrease in capital expenditures expected for the major gold producers (Figure 5).
Accordingly, we believe that the manipulation of gold prices by central banks, as demonstrated by the above analysis, cannot continue in 2014. Therefore, we expect substantial increases in the price of precious metals as the true shortages become obvious.
Figure 5: Capital Expenditures ($mm) – XAU Index Members
Source: Bloomberg. Consensus analyst estimates are used for years 2013-2015.
P.S. Due to recent developments, we would also like to highlight some related media stories
|1||See, for example, “Redemptions in the GLD are, oddly enough, Bullish for Gold”.|
|3||See “Do the Western Central Banks have any gold left?”. Sprott Asset Management LP, Markets at a Glance May 2013.|
|4||See the full article at: http://www.sprott.com/markets-at-a-glance/open-letter-to-the-world-gold-council/|
|5||As a reminder, because of our methodology which uses net imports as a proxy for total demand in countries that do not re-export gold, we exclude the “total industrial demand” estimate from the GFMS to avoid double counting. Thus, we underestimate total gold demand because we do not include industrial demand from the countries other than China, India, Turkey and Thailand.|
|6||As reported by the UN Comtrade Statistics. We use the total dollar amount reported and average quarterly prices to infer the total amount of gold imported and exported.|
|7||This is calculated by taking the total consumer demand for jewellery, coins and bars for 2013 Q1 & Q2 from table 10 of the WGC’s “Gold Demand Trends” and subtracting from it demand from the individual countries we have listed in the table (China/Hong Kong, India, Turkey, Russia and Thailand).|
|9||See the Swiss Customs Administration website: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/themen/04096/04101/index.html?lang=en|
|10||See, for example: http://www.thestar.com/business/economy/2013/12/27/insatiable_appetite_for_gold_fuels_indias_smuggling_industry.html http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/12/03/india-gold-smuggling-idINDEE9B20HY20131203 http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-29/chennai/45674552_1_airline-staff-gold-smuggling-flight-attendant|
Germany’s blowback against gold manipulation is accelerating. Following yesterday’s report that Bafin took a hard line against precious metals manipulation, after its president Eike Koenig said possible manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal“, today the response has trickled down to Germany and Europe’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, which announced that it would withdraw from the appropriately named gold and silver price “fixing”, as European regulators investigate suspected manipulation of precious metals prices by banks. As a reminder, Deutsche is one of five banks involved in the twice-daily gold fix for global price setting and said it was quitting the process after withdrawing from the bulk of its commodities business. The scramble away from gold fixing was certainly assisted by the recent first (of many) manipulation expose in the legacy media, when Bloomberg revealed “How Gold Price Is Manipulated During The “London Fix.” And sure enough, with Germany already very sensitive to the topic of its gold repatriation, and specifically why it is taking so long, it was only a matter of time before any German involvement in gold manipulation escalated to the very top.
“Deutsche Bank is withdrawing its participation in the gold and silver benchmark setting process following the significant scaling back of our commodities business. We remain fully committed to our precious metals business,” it said in a statement.
In mid-December, German banking regulator Bafin demanded documents from Deutsche Bank under an inquiry into suspected manipulation of benchmark gold and silver prices by banks, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.
Bafin declined to comment on Friday, but its President Elke Koenig said the previous day that it was understandable that the topic was attracting widespread concern.
“These allegations (about currencies and precious metals) are particularly serious, because such reference values are based – unlike LIBOR and Euribor – typically on real transactions in liquid markets and not on estimates of the banks,” she said in a speech
Needless to say, manipulation of the gold market would not be exactly novel to a bank which has also been named in cases related to the sub-prime crisis, credit default swaps, mortgages, tax evasion and a decade-old lawsuit suit brought by the heirs of late media mogul Leo Kirch, who accuse the bank of undermining the business.
Reuters also reports that Deutsche is now actively marketing its gold and silver fixing seats to another LBMA member, however now that the cat is out of the bag on the gold fixing manipulation scheme (the first of many), it is likely that others will seek to follow in Deutsche’s footsteps and seek to put as much distance between themselves and the wood-paneled room once located in theRothschild office on St. Swithin’s Lane in London.
We wonder which of these five gentlemen is from Deutsche?
So if everyone exits the London fixing market, what happens then?
“It wouldn’t surprise me if the other banks were looking at pulling out as well. Why would they want the aggravation?” said the source, who declined to be named.
“The more worrying point is that, if you don’t have the fixing, what do you have? There’s a lot of contractual business done on the gold fix, and if you’ve got no basis for where the price is, someone is going to lose out.”
Well considering that the fixing process over the years was manipulation pure and simple, those who will lose out are the… manipulators? it would seem rather logical. And speaking of manipulation, if indeed Germany is so keen on breaking the manipulators’ back, perhaps it can demand that the pace of its gold returns from the NY Fed and Paris accelerates. It may be surprised at what it finds.
Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest “conspiracy theory” of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy “theory” into the “fact” bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany’s top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates,manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?
More on what Eike said from Bloomberg:
The allegations about the currency and precious metals markets are “particularly serious, because such reference values are based — unlike Libor and Euribor — typically on transactions in liquid markets and not on estimates of the banks,” Elke Koenig, the president of Bafin, said in a speech in Frankfurt today.
Actually, what makes the most serious, is that precisely because they are on liquid markets means they implicitly have the blessing of the biggest New Normal market maker of call – the central banks, and their own “regulator” – the Bank of International Settlements (hello Mikael Charoze).
“That the issue is causing such a public reaction is understandable,” Koenig said, according to a copy of the speech. “The financial sector is dependent on the common trust that it is efficient and at the same time, honest. The central benchmark rates seemed to be beyond any doubt, and now there is the allegation they may have been manipulated.”
Bafin has also interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank AG as part of a probe of potential manipulation of gold and silver prices, a person with knowledge of the matter has said.
We wonder how long until this particular investigation is stopped based on an “executive order” from above, because Bafin is now stepping into some very treacherous waters with its ongoing inquiry of gold manipulation: what it reveals will certainly not be to the liking of the financial “powers that be.”
By: Tom Chatham
So, you’ve got your food all stored away to last the next several years. You have your fuel barrel full and your generator and solar panels ready for the end of the power grid. You have enough weapons and ammo to deal with anything. You are mentally and physically prepared for the long hard days ahead.
You are prepared to fight the war that will eventually show up at your front door someday in some form and for an unknown length of time. You are prepared for the chaos, but are you prepared for the eventual peace?
At some point, the situation will stabilize in some form. It will become possible to walk down the street without being shot at. It will become possible to reopen businesses or to barter. It will become possible to breathe a sigh of relief.
When that day comes, how will you survive? You probably have your stash of silver or gold and some barter items but how long will that last? When the system goes down it will take most peoples jobs, their savings, their retirement accounts and pensions and much of the property they thought they owned.
Everyone will be forced to start over again. It could be years before the job market is functioning again. Until then, how do you plan to take care of yourself and your family? What is your plan to generate some income to live on and acquire the things you need?
Surviving the chaos will be a full time job but when it’s over, then what? Your gold and silver will take you a long ways but they only provide you with a temporary solution to your future needs. At some point you will need to start saving for the day when you are no longer able to do useful work.
Most people are busy preparing to just survive the coming chaos but some thought needs to be given to the day after it all ends. Even a few minutes spent now developing a basic plan will be critical to helping you transition to the new normal. A basic idea and the acquisition of a few basic tools or supplies to help you develop your new income stream will help you leverage your time and supplies to get by in the future.
Knowledge is the primary tool you need to navigate the future. Knowing how to make physical things or repair things will help you meet the future needs of society. Next to that, the storage of tools, machines, raw materials and information relevant to start a new business needed by the community will give you an edge.
In a prolonged period of chaos much of our infrastructure will likely be destroyed. In the aftermath, those with the skills and tools to rebuild will be a valuable asset to society. The ability to repair vehicles or machines, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, healthcare, farming and skills to build physical products will all be needed by a populace that wishes to regain some of the creature comforts they have lost in past years.
The more skills and materials you have when that day comes the sooner recovery can happen. Some may say it is a bit presumptive to plan for a day when things get better but if you feel things will never get better then why prepare to get through the worst of times at all? If you have the courage to plan for difficult times then you should also give yourself the ability to enjoy the day when things get better. Planning ahead for the distant future was never more important than it is right now.
Last evening (January 12, 2014) I sat down to create a compilation of beliefs I hold about the world complex. The first twenty that popped into my head were pretty easy with the last few (I only went as far as once through the alphabet) requiring a little thinking. In no particular order I offer this quickly composed list with some links to articles/websites to support them:
a) Economic markets are rigged.
b) Gold has been moving from the West to the East.
c) The world’s primary reserve currency never lasts forever.
d) Central banks have been coordinating their monetary policies from interest rates to ‘money printing’ to ‘forward guidance’ that is resulting in currency devaluations
e) Central banks have been monetizing sovereign debt through increased holdings of government bonds.
f) Sovereign nations are in extreme debt.
g) Private households are in extreme debt.
h) All fiat currency experiments eventually end.
i) Robotic technology is replacing increasing number of jobs.
j) There exist trillions of dollars of IOUs supporting the financial system.
k) Unemployment has skyrocketed across western nations, especially for the young (under 25).
l) Production of conventional oil has begun to decline.
m) New technologies and dirtier sources are being increasingly required to sustain fuel production.
n) Fuel production barely sustains demand.
o) The Shale Oil Revolution is not.
p) Models of future fuel production rely on significant ‘yet-to-be-discovered’ sources.
q) Fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and use have polluted the planet with numerous toxins.
r) Climate extremes are increasing in frequency, duration, and magnitude.
s) Polar ice caps are melting.
t) We are experiencing peak water.
u) Deserts are expanding.
v) Sea levels are rising.
w) Honeybees have been decimated by human chemical use.
x) Governments are spying on their citizens.
y) Governments are spying on each other and themselves.
z) Governments are manipulating the data they provide to the public.
I know many people would prefer to hear a message of hope but when these ‘realities’ exist I can’t help but be fairly pessimistic about our chances of a ‘sustainable’ future or a ‘soft landing’ for our economic woes. Unless some unforeseen miracle can save us from ourselves, I can only conclude that the day of reckoning is quickly approaching; it’s a matter of when, not if. Some event, minor or major, will be that snowflake that begins a cascading collapse of our interrelated, complex world. And by collapse, I mean a sudden, devastating drop in the standard of living (similar to Dimitry Orlov’s Five Stages of Collapse) OR an elongated, slow contraction (similar to James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency or John Michael Greer’s The Long Descent); to me, these are not too dissimilar and require simply a change in time perspective to interpret the change as either ‘sudden’ or ‘lengthy’.
To quote William Catton Jr., from his book Overshoot: “…the pressure of our numbers and technology upon manifestly limited resources has already put out of reach the previously acceptable solutions to many of our problems. There remains steadfast resistance to admitting this, but facts are not repealed by refusal to face them. On the other hand, even the ‘alarmists’ who have been warning of grave perils besetting mankind have not fathomed our present predicament…” (p. 5).
Update 1. January 17, 2014
1. Far more ‘paper’ precious metals exists than actual ‘physical’ metal in existence (a type of ‘fractional reserve’ banking):
2. Large Western financial institutions (i.e. U.S. Federal Reserve; Bank of England) have sold/leased their gold holdings and misled their clients about this:
3. The United States government and/or people within it have carried out domestic assassinations of numerous leaders:
4. The Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Plant disaster is far worse than the corporate media is letting on:
5. ‘Democratic’ countries are becoming more secretive and totalitarian through ‘legislation’:
Interesting thoughts: Murray Rothbard, Anatomy of the State (ISBN 978-80-87888-43-8):
“…the government is not ‘us.’ The government does not in any accurate sense ‘represent’ the majority of the people…Briefly, the State is the only organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue …by use of complusion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonnet. Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects…The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society….The State has never been created by a ‘Social Contract’; it has always been born of conquest and exploitation…”
Feel free to offer some further ‘beliefs’, and three ‘credible’ links, in the comments. I will update the list periodically.
Here is some very cogent rationale for owning gold and silver. None pertain to the
ever-ending reasons that demonstrate great demand. Everyone has been hearing
about them in a steady stream for the past year, and the impact on the market has
been nil. Often in tandem with the latest news, like record coin sales from…[pick a
mint or country], is the lament from PM holders on where the current price of gold
is, at lows for the past two + years, making many question the validity of owning PMs.
For any self-doubters, especially those who paid for their PMs at 50% to 100% higher
in the past year or two, by example, we still hold some gold purchased at $1800 the
ounce, some silver at $48 the ounce. That just happened to be where gold and silver
were at the time. We were engaged on a consistent plan of purchasing, regardless of
price. There were specific reasons for wanting to own physical gold and silver, and none
of those reasons have changed. In fact, they have increased.
We now live in a financially insane world. The government tells everyone that 2 + 2 =
5, consistently, and people continue accept the lies. If you listen to the government
and the bought-and-paid-for mainstream media, all is well in this country, when in
reality, we are dealing with recession, inflation, joblessness, and general instability.
The biggest problem is debt. Actually, it is the core issue. Bury people and countries in
debt, and demand their hard assets as payment in return, aka the Rothschild formula,
in use for hundreds of years. The debt burden is now so onerous that it is becoming
almost impossible to keep under control. The elites are so skilled at getting their false
message out, through governments, that people are more than willing to believe the
Greece was a warning shot for the rest of what passes as a [not so] free world. The
message? It is mathematically impossible to sustain the growing debt burden in any
given country with no ability to ever pay it back. The United States has become a
welfare state for too many of its citizens. The largest growth sector in this country is
the federal government. The government produces nothing. Everything it spends
has to come from the people, or increased borrowing. It is a tapeworm consuming
The Fed has kept the stock market propped up by tapered window dressing. Interest
rates are artificially being held low to enable the government and all the banks to keep
the debt Ponzi scheme on life-support, which ultimately leads to death, financially.
Zero rates means keeping the accumulating interest costs of government lower.
Allowing rates to rise to a more normal 3% – 5% would collapse the federal government
and all of the insolvent banks which are responsible for every financial problem everyone
now faces, except the privileged 1%.
No one in the past 100 years, since the Federal Reserve Act was passed and the privately
owned Federal Reserve bank usurped the organic Constitution and took over issuing this
nation’s money, has done anything to abolish the Fed.
“Give me control of a nation’s money, and I care not who makes the laws.”
-Mayer Amschel Rothschild
It really is not hard to connect the dots if one truly wants to do so. The information is out
there, but few are willing to seek out the truth, and instead, prefer dwelling in the [dis]
comfort of debt-laden lives.
There was one person who tried to make a difference: John F Kennedy, when he decided
to print billions of silver-backed dollar certificates. The world knows that Kennedy was
assassinated and replaced by Lyndon Baines Johnson. One of Johnson’s first official acts,
within days of being sworn in, was to rescind Kennedy’s order to issue the silver-backed
certificates. The elites have their priorities, and puppet presidents must do their bidding.
Why aren’t politicians doing everything possible to get rid of the legal [but not lawful]
privately owned Federal Reserve Banking system that charges the government interest
on the purely fiat money the Fed issues? Very few people in this country wonder why the
U S government does not issue its own currency, [as it did prior to the Federal Reserve
Act of 1913], and not have to pay interest on the currency issued. One of the largest
expenses is the federal government is the debt owned to a foreign entity that controls
this country’s own money. Federal Reserve Notes are not money. They are debt
instruments. Debt can never be money. Dwell on that thought for a while.
The elites use the Federal Reserve to entirely control the government and used FDR
to ban gold ownership in 1933. Previously, gold and silver were used exclusively in
backing United States Notes and gold and silver coins issued by the U S Treasury.
Since 1933, gold has been absent from the public arena, and 1963 for silver. So many
in this country are unaware of the important role gold and silver have played.
Prior to 1933, people used gold and silver in all ways of their daily lives. No one used
credit cards, and people had no need for socialist government services. This is why
the elites had gold and silver removed from circulation as money. It was accomplished
over decades, by design, so people would not notice the change and gradually accept
the substituted Federal Reserve Note system.
United States issued Treasury Notes, backed by gold and silver, were allowed to circulate
along side Federal Reserve Notes, [debt instruments], and people began to equate the
two as the same. At that point, the Federal Reserve began withdrawing all US Treasury
Notes and had them destroyed.
You do not need more statistics about the current shortage of gold and silver, or more
citing on the number of tonnes of gold China continues to import. That information has
been of little practical use. What you need to know is the kind of factual history we just
briefly presented in order to know that it is incumbent upon your future to take whatever
measures necessary for surviving the financial time bomb waiting to explode.
It is not important to know what others are doing, but it is critically important to know
what others are doing to you, and what you are going to do for yourself and your family.
It is a proven historical fact that every fiat system has failed, utterly. The U S is in that
process, right now.
The actions of the government will be your first signs of imminent collapse. Anyone
who chooses to keep money in the banking system is fodder for the banking whores.
They will steal your money. It is a known fact that all money you deposit into the banking
system becomes their money, and you, by banking laws, become an unsecured creditor.
The government will raid private pensions, like Hungary and Poland have done. Your
pension will likely become nationalized, and you may receive a 10 year government bond
in return for whatever money you have saved. It happened in Argentina just a decade ago.
There is ample evidence throughout the world of what a government will do to survive, at
You want a reason to own gold and silver instead of anything paper-issued? Forget
about statistics and the demand side of the equation. All of the events discussed here,
and worse, are on the agenda of the elites to gain world control over everyone. Without
gold and/or silver, it will be almost impossible to survive what is to come. No one knows
when, but when it does, and it is a historical certainty, are you really going to care
what you paid for your gold and silver?
We all have choices to make, and we all deal with the consequences of these choices. Do
not worry if you paid a high price for your gold and silver. You do not intend to sell it,
so any loss is imagined. Stay true to what history has proven. No one knows when the
collapse will be realized, but one has to continue to prepare for the inevitable in a world
that makes no sense, financially.
We were interviewed on this topic, last week, and the audio can be found on our site,
edgetraderplus.com, under the category “Interview,” for anyone interested.
The charts may be closer to showing signs of bottoming. Here is our current read.
Bearish spacing develops when a low is broken, last April, and the next rally swing high,
August, fails to reach and retest the previous swing low, leaving a space. It indicates a
There was a strong rally on Friday, but when seen on the weekly chart, the results are
less impressive. That observation is amplified when you compare the last two bar ranges
and respective volume. The second bar from the end shows ease of upward movement by
a wide range and strong close with volume greater than the previous day.
On Friday, volume increased sharply compared to day 2, yet the price bar range narrowed.
Increased effort, volume, yielded less results, a smaller range. The reason why the range
narrowed was due to sellers meeting the increased effort of buyers and preventing the
price range from extending higher.
You can expect to see this kind of activity in a down trend where sellers have been in
control. From a weekly chart perspective, gold continues to struggle, even with a strong
rally effort on Friday. This is the way to read the “message” of developing market activity.
Friday’s rally stopped at a minor resistance area, [thin horizontal line]. Continuation to
the upside would be expected on Monday. We will now begin to see if gold can develop
a sustained upside rally and begin to change the trend, from down to at least sideways.
The last time silver spent 8 weeks in a TR, June – August, the 9th week was a strong rally.
There are now 8 weeks completed in the current TR, and Monday starts week 9. The last
three weeks have a close clustering of closes. This reflects balance between sellers and
buyers, and from balance comes unbalance.
All three of the last closes are upper range, indicating buyers won the battle each week,
and it would indicate that buyers are absorbing the effort of sellers prior to moving
higher. That is the probability read, but the market always has the final say.
The daily does not have a similar positive read as the weekly, and as we noted on the
chart, the increased volume, last bar, did not quite generate as wide a price range as
occurred 6 bars earlier. Price is still within the established TR, moving farther along
the Right Hand Side, where resolve takes price out of the TR.
For the moment, momentum is on the buy side.
The futures still have issues, and one cannot buy into rallies in a down trend. The
physical gold and silver metals also have issues, but the resolve is going to eventually
lead to an explosive upside. Continue to buy the physical. These are great prices.
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 Could Send The Price Of Gold Skyrocketing (etfdailynews.com)
- Gold As A System Hedge (etfdailynews.com)
- GET READY: The Great Transfer of Wealth in Gold & Silver is Coming (srsroccoreport.com)
- Will Gold Be a Medium of Exchange Again? (azizonomics.com)
- Ted Butler: JPM is Cornering the Gold Market! (silverdoctors.com)