Posts tagged Gold
Jim Rickards: The Demise Of The U.S. Dollar
(And Mutualy Assured Financial Destruction) Video
It won’t happen tomorrow but slowly but surely the world is moving from dollars. The petrodollar system which has been key to the world economy over the last 40 years is eroding. More and more country to country deals are being done in currencies other than the dollar. The economic world as we have known it, after Bretton Woods in the Cold War Era, the post Cold War era, and the post 9-11 era is fundamentally shifting. The dollar is not what it once was. It is no longer “almighty” and one should be prepared.
People have been predicting the death of the dollar for quite a while now, but many falsely believe that because hyperinflation hasn’t taken hold (there’s plenty of inflation though despite what we are told) we must be out of the woods. This would be a foolish assumption.
Since 2008 particularly I have watched the power of the dollar erode steadily. Countries are figuring out how to unwind their dollar positions without causing panic and killing the value of their dollar denominated assets. In order to unload dollar denominated assets and debt there has to be a willing buyer. Moving too quickly is suicide, but many “international actors” think not moving at all is also.
No one wants to get stuck holding the bag of dollars when things go south. But if things go bad (for the dollar) slowly the theory is an orderly less disruptive liquidation can occur. This will take, and has taken years. But it’s happening.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
By Peter Schiff
The Stealth Rally: Gold Under the Radar
So far, 2014 has been a paradoxical year for gold. Many investors aren’t even aware that it has rallied more than 7%. On the rare occasion that the financial media mentions the yellow metal, it is only in the context of comparing the recent rise to last year’s decline.
In spite of this overwhelming negative sentiment, gold is experiencing a stealth rally as one of the best performing assets of the year. Let’s look at some important metrics of the most under-valued sector in this market.
So many investors want to believe that last year was the death knell for the yellow metal that they’ve stop paying attention to the technical metrics responsible for driving the price down. These metrics have already started to reverse.
Last year, technical speculators – and everyday investors trading behind them – influenced gold’s price more than anything else. Notably, 2013 was the first year since their creation in 2003 that gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) experienced a net outflow of their gold holdings. This played a pivotal role in driving down both the gold price and investor expectations for the yellow metal.
Gold ETFs sold off their holdings by a whopping 881 metric tons last year. GLD, the largest fund, sold 550 of those tonnes on its own. This was influenced by, and then compounded, the effects of extremely bearish gold futures speculators, whose large net-short positions were responsible for some landmark drops in the gold price throughout the year. As is typical with markets, negative sentiment became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For the previous decade up until last year, physical gold demand had driven the gold bull market. However, ETFs have over this time accumulated a greater and greater share of the market. Thus, last year’s sudden ETF sell-off was enough to drive total global gold demand down 15% year-over-year. Even 28% growth in bar and coin demand – resulting in record-breaking total demand – couldn’t counter the market’s bearish turn. But ETFs are getting back in the game. GLD started adding to its holdings again in February, the first increase since December 2012. And by mid-March, COMEX gold futures contracts had the most net-long positions since November 2012.
Gold Versus Equities
Why are ETF and futures traders reversing their previously bearish positions?
Prices are up in every area of the gold sector. GLD and COMEX futures are both up more than 7% this year. GDX, one of the broadest gold-mining ETFs, is up more than 15%. Even with a sell-off in the last week of March, physical gold was up almost 8% in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, the general stock market is barely performing at all. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ are up barely 2% YTD, while the Dow is down.
Most importantly, when measured in terms of gold, the Dow has actually started to drop significantly. At the end of March, the Dow was about 12.5 times the gold price. This is already a 9% decline since December. For the majority of the last 100 years, the Dow has traded far below this level.
To get back to its historical average, either the Dow is going to have to drop significantly or gold will have to skyrocket. I believe it will be a combination of both.
Overpriced and Under-Earning
Anyone who really buys the story of economic recovery is likely riding a wave of irrational exuberance after a year in which the major indices hit record high after record high. They don’t express the slightest concern that the stock market is already in dangerous bubble territory.
However, one of the most important metrics of stock market valuation completely contradicts this.
The Shiller Price/Earnings Ratio (Shiller P/E) is well-respected for helping analysts like me identify one of the most over-valued markets in history – the dot-com bubble. This metric gauges the return on investment for someone buying into the broader stock market. A higher ratio indicates investors are paying more for shares of companies that are earning less; therefore, they are receiving less value.
At the end of March, the Shiller P/E stood at 25.60 – almost 55% higher than the historical average of 16.5. As you can see in the chart below, the only previous times the ratio has breached 25 were during the 1929 stock craze, the dot-com bubble, and just before the ’08 financial crash.
I would not want to be anywhere near an investment with such poor yield.
Don’t Look Back
Investors often make the mistake of investing in the last trade, the same way that governments always fight the last war. After a year in which stocks brought in about a 30% return while gold was pummeled, nobody wants to be the first one to jump back into hard assets.
But fortunes are often made by ignoring the popular trend and buying underpriced assets when nobody else sees their value. Sometimes this is a risky maneuver, but in the case of today’s gold market, it’s as close as we can get to a sure thing.
It’s hard to predict what will trigger the next collapse of stocks, but gold is already on the road to new highs. Janet Yellen is gearing up to unleash a new torrent of freshly printed dollars onto global markets. I’d recommend building your ark well in advance.
Peter Schiff is the CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, best-selling author and host of syndicated Peter Schiff Show.
Order your copy of Peter Schiff’s latest book, How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.
You Can’t Eat Gold And Silver
In the event that a major crisis or emergency strikes the United States, you are not going to be able to eat your gold and silver. If we get into a situation where supermarkets get cleaned out and food supplies get very tight, you are going to wish that you had stored some things away for your family. Now don’t get me wrong – I actually love gold and silver. I believe that they are both going to multiply in price during the years ahead. I particularly love silver for a couple of reasons. Unlike gold, silver is used in thousands upon thousands of different consumer products, so the physical supply is constantly diminishing. And historically, silver comes out of the ground at about a 10 to 1 ratio compared to gold, but right now the price of gold is about 65 times the price of silver. At some point there is going to be a massive adjustment there. But if you just rely on accumulating gold and silver and you never store up any food, you could end up deeply regretting that choice someday.
If things get bad enough, people are not going to want to trade you their precious food no matter how much gold and silver you may have.
When a real crisis arrives, priorities change very rapidly. When you realize that you can’t feed your family, the need for basic supplies become extremely important. Just check out what is happening in Venezuela right now…
Alvaro Villarueda starts his morning the same way every day — putting in a call to his friend who has a friend who works at a Caracas, Venezuela, supermarket.
Today, he’s looking for sugar, and he’s asking his friend if he knows if any shipments have arrived. As he talks on the phone, his wife Lisbeth Nello, is in the kitchen.
There are 10 mouths to feed every day in this family — five of them children. The two youngest are still in diapers.
“The things that are the scarcest are actually what we need the most,” Nello says. “Flour, cooking oil, butter, milk, diapers. I spent last week hunting for diapers everywhere. The situation is really tough for basic goods.”
And the truth is that what is happening in Venezuela is just a very small preview of what is going to happen in much of the world during the years ahead.
In such an environment, people become extremely desperate, and desperate people do desperate things.
That is why self-defense needs to be another high priority for preppers. When desperate people in search of supplies get desperate enough to break into your home, things can get Medieval very rapidly.
For example, one homeowner in Detroit was recently forced to use a hammer to confront a man that had broken into his home late at night…
Police say an elderly man fended off a home intruder by hitting him on the head with a hammer.
On Sunday, March 9, 82-year-old George Bradford was asleep when he was woken up by the screams of his daughter and granddaughter.
Someone had broken into their house through a basement window.
“I could hear him walking up the stairs. … I had my choice to get ready,” Bradford tells FOX 2′s Andrea Isom. He says he went into the kitchen and got a hammer from the drawer.
Bradford says he asked the intruder to leave but he wouldn’t so that’s when Bradford says he “let him have it.”
Could something similar happen to you and your family when things start really getting crazy out there?
That is something to think about.
And even without a major emergency, food supplies in this country are already starting to get tighter.
But back in 1951, the size of the U.S. population was less than half of what it is today.
A few days ago, we learned that during the month of February the price of beef increased at the fastest pace since November 2003, and it is now at a new all-time record high.
Earlier today, one of my readers sent me the following photo. It shows a price of $24.32 for 0.695 pounds of beef tenderloin steak. This isn’t even prime rib…
And don’t think that you are just going to switch to pork either. A highly contagious virus known as “Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus” has killed more than 4 million pigs in the United States since last May, and it continues to spread rapidly. Experts acknowledge that this is going to drive up pork prices significantly as well.
In addition, the crippling California drought threatens to drive fruit and vegetable prices up to unprecedented levels. Below, I have posted a recent video news report about the drought. As you will notice, in this clip they use the term “Dust Bowl” to describe what many farmers fear may be happening…
So now is the time to get prepared while food prices are still relatively low.
They certainly aren’t going to go any lower than they are now.
To some, this type of talk is “gloom and doom”, but I do not believe that is the case at all. I believe that there is great hope in understanding what is happening and in getting prepared.
These sentiments were echoed by a Canadian prepper named Daisy Luther in one of her recent articles…
Preparedness: It means that whatever may come, you intend to not only grimly survive, but to thrive. It means that you foresee a day when the imminent threat, whatever that may be, diminishes, and you will rebuild. It means that you have taken responsibility for yourself and your family, and that you will not be forced to rely on others. It means that your mind is focused on life itself, not some imaginary life of some reality star that actually has no grasp on reality whatsoever. You have chosen not to be misguided by the lies that the media uses to pacify you.
Preparing yourself is the most optimistic and hopeful thing you can do in a world that would prefer to choose immediate gratification over a firm grasp on reality. Readying yourself to deal with whatever might happen is a joyful act, an expression of gratitude to the Creator, peace made tangible, and the personification of faith itself.
So what do you think?
Is now the time to ramp up our preparation for the years ahead?
This article first appeared here at the The American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
Why do we stay in Afghanistan? $30 trillion in the ground
There are actually 2 major reasons. The first is that Afghanistan is at the crossroads of Asia. The power which controls Afghanistan controls the Kyber Pass and with it access to the Indian sub-continent. To the east is China. To the north Russia, to the west the Middle East. Though it’s a rough neighborhood the real estate is prime location-wise.
The other is that Afghanistan is full of minerals we (and other countries) need. Lithium, vital to electronics is in abundant supply. As is copper, iron ore, gold, and a host of rare earth materials. The countries of the world are licking their chops, and we just happen to be sitting on top of all the wealth. Well good for us.
The problem (one of them) is there is no way to get all this wealth out of the backwater. Iron ore is much heavier than heroin which can be packed out on the back of a camel. So, a railroad has to be built – in Afghanistan.
This ought to work like a charm. No way anyone will blow up the rails in a turf war or anything like that. I wonder who will be tasked with keeping the lines open? I wonder who will be tasked with paying for this?
Like I said, we won’t be leaving completely anytime soon.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
China Starts To Make A Power Move Against The U.S. Dollar
In order for our current level of debt-fueled prosperity to continue, the rest of the world must continue to use our dollars to trade with one another and must continue to buy our debt at ridiculously low interest rates. Of course the number one foreign nation that we depend on to participate in our system is China. China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet (including the United States), and most of that trade is conducted in U.S. dollars. This keeps demand for our dollars very high, and it ensures that we can import massive quantities of goods from overseas at very low cost. As a major exporting nation, China ends up with gigantic piles of our dollars. They lend many of those dollars back to us at ridiculously low interest rates. At this point, China owns more of our national debt than any other country does. But if China was to decide to quit playing our game and started moving away from U.S. dollars and U.S. debt, our economic prosperity could disappear very rapidly. Demand for the U.S. dollar would fall and prices would go up. And interest rates on our debt and everything else in our financial system would go up to crippling levels. So it is absolutely critical to our financial future that China continues to play our game.
Unfortunately, there are signs that China has now decided to start looking for a smooth exit from the game. In November, I wrote about how the central bank of China has announced that it is “no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves”. That means that the pile of U.S. dollars that China is sitting on is not going to get any higher.
In addition, China has signed a whole host of international currency agreements with other nations during the past couple of years which are going to result in less U.S. dollars being used in international trade. You can read about many of these agreements in this article.
This week, we learned that China started to dump U.S. debt during the month of December. Many have imagined that China would try to dump a flood of our debt on to the market all of a sudden once they decided to exit, but that simply does not make sense. Instead, it makes sense for China to dump a bit of debt at a time so that the market will not panic and so that they can get close to full value for the paper that they are holding.
China, the largest foreign U.S. creditor, reduced holdings of U.S. Treasury debt in December by the most in two years as the Federal Reserve announced plans to slow asset purchases.
The nation pared its position in U.S. government bonds by $47.8 billion, or 3.6 percent, to $1.27 trillion, the largest decline since December 2011, according to U.S. Treasury Department data released yesterday.
This is how I would do it if I was China. I would try to dump 30, 40 or 50 billion dollars a month. I would try to make a smooth exit and try to get as much for my U.S. debt paper as I could.
So if China is not going to stockpile U.S. dollars or U.S. debt any longer, what is it going to stockpile?
It is going to stockpile gold of course. In fact, China has been voraciously stockpiling gold for quite some time, and their hunger for gold appears to be growing.
According to Bloomberg, more than 80 percent of the gold that was exported from Switzerland last month went to Asia…
Switzerland sent more than 80 percent of its gold and silver bullion and coin exports to Asia last month, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said today in an e-mailed report. It imported most from the U.K.
Hong Kong was the top destination at 44 percent on a value basis, with India at 14 percent, the Bern-based customs agency said in its first breakdown of the gold trade data since 1980. Singapore accounted for 8.6 percent of exports, the United Arab Emirates 7.9 percent and China 6.3 percent.
When China imports gold, most of it goes through Hong Kong. We know that imports of gold from Hong Kong into China are at an all-time record high, but we don’t know exactly how much gold China has accumulated at this point because they quit reporting that to the rest of the world a number of years ago.
When it comes to global finance, China is playing chess and the United States is playing checkers. China knows that gold is a universal currency that will hold value over the long-term. As the paper currencies of the world race toward collapse, China could end up holding most of the real money and that would be a huge game changer when they finally reveal that fact…
The announcement of China’s new gold hoard will send shockwaves through the financial markets, and make China and the Chinese yuan (their national currency) even bigger players at the international table.
International banking expert James Rickards compared it to a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker:
“You want a big pile of chips. The U.S. has a big pile of chips, Europe has a big pile of chips. The U.S. has 8,000 tonnes [metric tons] of gold, 17 members of the euro system have 10,000 tonnes. China at 1,000 tonnes is not a player, but at 5,000 tonnes, they are a player.”
There are some really good points made in the quote above, but I do take exception with a couple of things. First of all, I believe that China now has far more than 5,000 tons of gold. Secondly, I seriously doubt that the U.S. still actually has 8,000 tons of gold or that Europe still actually has 10,000 tons of gold.
As China (and eventually the rest of the world) moves away from a U.S.-based financial system, the consequences are going to be dramatic.
For instance, right now the average rate of interest that the U.S. government pays on debt is just 2.477 percent. That is ridiculously low and it is way below the real rate of inflation. It is simply not rational for anyone to lend the U.S. government money so cheaply, and at some point we are going to see a dramatic shift.
When that day arrives, interest rates are going to rise dramatically. And if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that in the past), we will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
Even more frightening is what a rapidly changing interest rate environment would mean for our banking system. There are four large U.S. banks that each have exposure to derivatives in excess of 40 trillion dollars. You can find the identity of those banks right here. Interest rate derivatives make up the biggest chunk of those derivatives contracts. As John Embry told King World News just the other day, when that bubble bursts the carnage is going to be unprecedented…
“Stockman brought up a brilliant point, the fact that we have hundreds of trillions of dollars of interest rate swaps, which are polluting the world’s banking system. If we see growing volatility in interest rates, and I think that’s inevitable with what’s going on, that would cause spasms in the financial system. And if something goes wrong in the derivatives market, Heaven help us because the leverage that is imparted to the banking system through these derivatives is unholy.”
Unfortunately, very few of the “experts” will ever see this crash coming.
Very few of them saw it coming in 2000.
Very few of them saw it coming in 2008.
And very few of them will see it coming this time.
I really like what Paul B. Farrell had to say about this…
Early warnings of a crash are dismissed over and over (“just a temporary correction”). They gradually numb us about the inevitable. Time after time we forget history’s lessons. Until finally a big surprise catches us totally off-guard. Financial historian Niall Ferguson put it this way: Before the crash, our world seems almost stationary, deceptively so, balanced, at a set point. So that when the crash finally hits — as inevitably it will — everyone seems surprised. And our brains keep telling us it’s not time for a crash.
Till then, life just goes along quietly, hypnotizing us, making us vulnerable, till a shocker like Lehman Brothers upsets the balance. Then, says Ferguson, the crash is “accelerating suddenly, like a sports car … like a thief in the night.” It hits. Shocks us wide awake.
Don’t let the upcoming crash take you by surprise.
The warning signs are very clear.
Get ready while you still can.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Peter Schiff: Gold Update, The Dollar Will Collapse First, Janet Yellen Wants More Inflation & More
Published by Greg Hunter
http://usawatchdog.com/were-going-to-… – Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, says, “The messes get progressively bigger because the bubbles get progressively bigger. We have the biggest bubble ever blown right now because we have a simultaneous bubble in the stock market and the real estate market and the bond market. . . . The air is coming out of all of them. The Fed knows this bubble is too big to pop. That’s why the Fed is going to come back with an even bigger round of QE (money printing) than the last round. We’re going to be hit with a tsunami of inflation. . . . I think we’re going to be stuck with a lot of the money, which means it will bid up consumer prices right here in America. New Fed Chief Janet Yellen said she wants more inflation. Well, she’s going to get it.”
Schiff thinks the U. S. Dollar will be in trouble first and not Treasury Bonds. Why? Schiff says, “The dollar will go poof first. Remember, the Federal Reserve can buy up all those bonds to stop the prices from collapsing, but in order to do so, it has to print dollars. But, eventually, the dollar collapses because the world figures out the game. The Fed can print all the dollars they want, but they can’t force people to accept them. That is going to be the problem.” (There is much more in the video interview.)
Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with money manager Peter Schiff.
Glenn Jacobs spoke to a group regarding Austian Economics several months back in the video shown below which I had intended to share. Today I realize that despite the best of intentions and saving the video I had not yet posted the presentation by Glenn Jacobs, published by messengersforliberty, which I would encourage all to watch. Should you have the opportunity to attend a meeting featuring Glenn Jacobs as speaker I would recommend attending, as you will find him to be a highly personable and intelligent individual, and that you will find your time very well spent.
Austrian Economics with Glenn Jacobs
Published by messengersforliberty
This economic presentation with Glenn Jacobs, aka Kane, was documented on September 5, 2013.
“It really ticks me off when I hear leftists and statists talk about how the free market causes wealth inequality, the free market doesn’t. The free market though out history has allowed poor people to pull themselves up and has given people more socio economic ability to move up and down the socio economic ladder, up, than anything else in history.
Paul Krugman, who is a keynesian economist par excellence, just wants to inflate like crazy, but yet he writes a column for the New York Times and it’s called ‘Conscience of a Liberal’, because he loves poor people despite the fact that he’s the guy that’s killing them, but then he’ll look at someone like me and say you hate the poor. I don’t hate the poor, I hate the fact that they’re poor.”
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By Peter Schiff
Dark Gold: Shedding Light on a Mysterious Market
Gold is the simplest of financial assets – you either own it or you don’t. Yet, at the same time, gold is also among the most private of assets. Once an individual locks his or her safe, that gold effectively disappears from the market at large. Unlike bank deposits or stocks, there is no way to tally the total amount of gold held by individual investors.
I like to call this concept “dark gold.” This is the real, broader gold market that exists below the surface-level transactions on the major exchanges. It’s impossible to know precisely how much dark gold exists around the world, but we do know that it is enough to render “official” gold holdings insignificant. That’s why I don’t buy and sell gold based on the decisions of John Paulson, or even J.P. Morgan Chase. It is a long-term investment that requires a deep understanding of the nature of money – and how little Wall Street’s media circus really matters.
Observing Dark Gold
Think of dark gold like dark matter. Dark matter is a mysterious substance that scientists hypothesize is an essential building block of our universe. All we know is that the universe is a certain size and that a huge amount of its mass is unobservable – this is what we’ve come to call dark matter.
We haven’t yet looked directly at dark matter. We can only observe phenomena that suggest there is a substance we aren’t seeing and can’t quite measure.
Likewise, dark gold is an essential building block of global financial stability. But the extremely private nature that makes it so valuable also makes it nearly impossible to directly observe.
But every now and then, we get a glimpse into the hidden undercurrents of dark gold. In the past year, the Federal Reserve slipped up in a big way and momentarily poked a hole that we can peek through to see what’s happening with some of the largest stores of dark gold in the world.
Gib Mir Mein Gold!
A year ago, the big news was that the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, would begin the process of repatriating a portion of its foreign gold reserves, including 300 metric tons stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
The controversy really started in late 2012, when Germany simply wanted to audit its gold reserves at the Fed. They were denied this access, so the Germans switched their approach. If they weren’t allowed visitation with their holdings, they would instead demand full custody. In response, the Fed said it would oblige – within seven years!
As of the end of 2013, a Bundesbank spokesman reported that only 5 tons had been transported from New York to Germany so far, leaving the repatriation far behind schedule.
“But wait,” some might argue, “the repatriation process might be delayed, but we know the gold is there. Central bank holdings constitute the most visible gold in the world. These institutions report their holdings to the world regularly. The gold at the Fed isn’t dark gold at all!”
If this is a true and certain fact, then why was the Bundesbank denied a third-party audit of its gold in the Fed’s vaults? The closest we’ve seen was an internal audit by the US Treasury last year. Of course, the US government holds the sovereign privilege of answering to no one but itself, but that hardly makes for reassuring statistics on which to base one’s investments.
The truth is that we have no clue of the official gold reserves of any central bank in the world. All the Fed has to do to convince me otherwise is let an outside party into its vaults and count the gold. They’ve shown lots of paper; now show us the money!
It is very simple to count bars of gold where they exist. And it is clearly moral (and generally good business) to return assets that are held in trust when the creditor demands them. The Fed’s reluctance on both counts suggests that there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Fortunately, the veracity of the Fed’s claimed gold holdings has little bearing on the long-term precious metals investor. It’s the same with gold futures contracts and the daily spot price. These have no effect on whether or not you have a chest of real money buried in your backyard.
So why is it important that intelligent investors do keep some gold “buried” in their possession? Germany’s repatriation scandal begins to answer this question. The maneuverings of the New York Fed are like the patter and flourish of a magician – it distracts you from the real trick being played.
Or, in this case, where the most impressive piles of dark gold reside.
China Going For Gold
I’d bet that Western central banks are very pleased that the media has latched onto the dustup between Germany and the Fed. It means they are paying much less attention to the massive unreported stores of gold that many observers believe China has been accumulating, and which could have dire repercussions for the US dollar reserve system.
China last reported its gold reserves in 2009, clocking in at 1,054 metric tons. In the official rankings, this makes China’s reserves the sixth largest in the world. Germany comes in second with 3,387 metric tons (or so they hope), and all nations trail the United States’ claimed 8,133 metric tons.
Many speculate that China’s reserves have grown far beyond its official number in the past five years. However, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is playing its cards close to its chest.
Last year, a deputy governor of the PBOC tried to convince the world that its reserves have not changed much since 2009. He explained that the Chinese government is keeping a limit on its gold reserves, because “if the Chinese government were to buy too much gold, gold prices would surge, a scenario that will hurt Chinese consumers.”
But a quick look at the numbers coming from the Chinese government shows that they just don’t add up.
China is the largest producer of gold in the world, pulling an estimated 437 metric tons of gold from the earth in 2013 – way more than runner-up Australia, with only 259 metric tons.
On top of this, China imported far more gold than any other country in the world in 2013. Via Hong Kong alone, China imported 1,158 metric tons of gold last year – a more than 107% increase from 2012.
This gold is not leaving the country in large quantities. Sure, China is the biggest exporter of gold jewelry to the Western world, but the value of these trinkets is negligible compared to the thousands of tons of bullion they are creating and importing.
Jim Rickards has estimated that China has probably added at least 1,000 metric tons to its reserves every year since 2010, meaning it has well over 4,000 metric tons today.
This is a conservative estimate. Wikileaks documents claim that China actually imported more than 2,000 metric tons from Hong Kong in 2011 alone.
If this is the case, when China does finally reveal how much gold it’s holding, it will leap from the sixth largest reserves in the world to the second, easily surpassing Germany in a single bound.
They might even give the US a run for its money.
Out From Under
It’s no longer a secret that China would prefer a “de-Americanized world.” Whether it’s the PBOC or average Chinese consumers hoarding all this dark gold, the effects will be the same when China decides it is fed up with the funny-money central banking system long dominated by the US dollar.
It certainly seems like the East is preparing for this endgame. Several new physical gold vaults have opened in Singapore in the past year, Moscow recently launched a spot gold exchange, and Dubai is planning a new spot gold contract for this year. Let’s not forget that the Hong Kong Exchange bought the London Metals Exchange in 2012, and there have been rumblings of physically moving it to Hong Kong.
If China were to initiate a gold-backed currency attractive to international trade partners, its government and citizens are poised to become extremely wealthy and powerful overnight. Americans, on the other hand…
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Some investors avoid the gold market because of its innate unofficial nature. But in a time when governments are in a race to tax anything that moves and inflate anything that prints, gold’s privacy becomes the difference between preserving wealth or facing destitution.
I challenge my readers to worry less about the short-term movements in the gold futures market, or even which central bank has what holdings. Understand that gold is a deep, global market that has witnessed the rise and fall of countless empires. Your decision is simple: you either own it, or you don’t.
Peter Schiff is the CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, best-selling author and host of syndicated Peter Schiff Show.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – U.S. Gold Gone
Published by Greg Hunter
Published on Jan 20, 2014
http://usawatchdog.com/fed-they-do-no… Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, the Father of Reaganomics, predicts, “I think, this year, you are going to see a further downturn in the economy. The signs are not only that we do not have a recovery, but it’s going to get worse. . . . Christmas sales were very negative. There’s no growth in people’s income and no jobs. So, if the economy goes down further, what does that mean? It means the deficit widens. It means they have a greater debt ceiling lift. They have to have a bigger debt ceiling increase, and all of this will alarm the world. They’ll say, good heavens, they already had a trillion dollar deficit. Now it’s gone up, and the Fed can’t stop the quantitative easing without the stock and bond market collapsing. The banks’ solvency will become an issue. So, the world is watching a bigger deficit, more printing of money, and they are likely to start dumping dollars. When they do that, they’ll say ‘gold, I want gold.’ There’s not much supply to meet demand, and the price has to escalate. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if that shows up this year.” Dr. Roberts also contends that America’s gold is “mainly gone.”
Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with economist and former Assistant Treasury Secretary, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.
Related post: The Hows and Whys of Gold Price Manipulation
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler
The Hows and Whys of Gold Price Manipulation
The deregulation of the financial system during the Clinton and George W. Bush regimes had the predictable result: financial concentration and reckless behavior. A handful of banks grew so large that financial authorities declared them “too big to fail.” Removed from market discipline, the banks became wards of the government requiring massive creation of new money by the Federal Reserve in order to support through the policy of Quantitative Easing the prices of financial instruments on the banks’ balance sheets and in order to finance at low interest rates trillion dollar federal budget deficits associated with the long recession caused by the financial crisis.
The Fed’s policy of monetizing one trillion dollars of bonds annually put pressure on the US dollar, the value of which declined in terms of gold. When gold hit $1,900 per ounce in 2011, the Federal Reserve realized that $2,000 per ounce could have a psychological impact that would spread into the dollar’s exchange rate with other currencies, resulting in a run on the dollar as both foreign and domestic holders sold dollars to avoid the fall in value. Once this realization hit, the manipulation of the gold price moved beyond central bank leasing of gold to bullion dealers in order to create an artificial market supply to absorb demand that otherwise would have pushed gold prices higher. The manipulation consists of the Fed using bullion banks as its agents to sell naked gold shorts in the New York Comex futures market. Short selling drives down the gold price, triggers stop-loss orders and margin calls, and scares participants out of the gold trusts. The bullion banks purchase the deserted shares and present them to the trusts for redemption in bullion. The bullion can then be sold in the London physical gold market, where the sales both ratify the lower price that short-selling achieved on the Comex floor and provide a supply of bullion to meet Asian demands for physical gold as opposed to paper claims on gold.
The evidence of gold price manipulation is clear. In this article we present evidence and describe the process. We conclude that ability to manipulate the gold price is disappearing as physical gold moves from New York and London to Asia, leaving the West with paper claims to gold that greatly exceed the available supply.
The primary venue of the Fed’s manipulation activity is the New York Comex exchange, where the world trades gold futures. Each gold futures contract represents one gold 100 ounce bar. The Comex is referred to as a paper gold exchange because of the use of these futures contracts. Although several large global banks are trading members of the Comex, JP Morgan, HSBC and Bank Nova Scotia conduct the majority of the trading volume. Trading of gold (and silver) futures occurs in an auction-style market on the floor of the Comex daily from 8:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. New York time. Comex futures trading also occurs on what is known as Globex. Globex is a computerized trading system used for derivatives, currency and futures contracts. It operates continuously except on weekends. Anyone anywhere in the world with access to a computer-based futures trading platform has access to the Globex system.
In addition to the Comex, the Fed also engages in manipulating the price of gold on the far bigger–in terms of total dollar value of trading–London gold market. This market is called the LBMA (London Bullion Marketing Association) market. It is comprised of several large banks who are LMBA market makers known as “bullion banks” (Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorganChase, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Mitsui, Societe Generale, Bank of Nova Scotia and UBS). Whereas the Comex is a “paper gold” exchange, the LBMA is the nexus of global physical gold trading and has been for centuries. When large buyers like Central Banks, big investment funds or wealthy private investors want to buy or sell a large amount of physical gold, they do this on the LBMA market.
The Fed’s gold manipulation operation involves exerting forceful downward pressure on the price of gold by selling a massive amount of Comex gold futures, which are dropped like bombs either on the Comex floor during NY trading hours or via the Globex system. A recent example of this occurred on Monday, January 6, 2014. After rallying over $15 in the Asian and European markets, the price of gold suddenly plunged $35 at 10:14 a.m. In a space of less than 60 seconds, more than 12,000 contracts traded – equal to more than 10% of the day’s entire volume during the 23 hour trading period in which which gold futures trade. There was no apparent news or market event that would have triggered the sudden massive increase in Comex futures selling which caused the sudden steep drop in the price of gold. At the same time, no other securities market (other than silver) experienced any unusual price or volume movement. 12,000 contracts represents 1.2 million ounces of gold, an amount that exceeds by a factor of three the total amount of gold in Comex vaults that could be delivered to the buyers of these contracts.
This manipulation by the Fed involves the short-selling of uncovered Comex gold futures. “Uncovered” means that these are contracts that are sold without any underlying physical gold to deliver if the buyer on the other side decides to ask for delivery. This is also known as “naked short selling.” The execution of the manipulative trading is conducted through one of the major gold futures trading banks, such as JPMorganChase, HSBC, and Bank of Nova Scotia. These banks do the actual selling on behalf of the Fed. The manner in which the Fed dumps a large quantity of futures contracts into the market differs from the way in which a bona fide trader looking to sell a big position would operate. The latter would try to work off his position carefully over an extended period of time with the goal of trying to disguise his selling and to disturb the price as little as possible in order to maximize profits or minimize losses. In contrast, the Fed‘s sales telegraph the intent to drive the price lower with no regard for preserving profits or fear or incurring losses, because the goal is to inflict as much damage as possible on the price and intimidate potential buyers.
The Fed also actively manipulates gold via the Globex system. The Globex market is punctuated with periods of “quiet” time in which the trade volume is very low. It is during these periods that the Fed has its agent banks bombard the market with massive quantities of gold futures over a very brief period of time for the purpose of driving the price lower. The banks know that there are very few buyers around during these time periods to absorb the selling. This drives the price lower than if the selling operation occurred when the market is more active.
A primary example of this type of intervention occurred on December 18, 2013, immediately after the FOMC announced its decision to reduce bond purchases by $10 billion monthly beginning in January 2014. With the rest of the trading world closed, including the actual Comex floor trading, a massive amount of Comex gold futures were sold on the Globex computer trading system during one of its least active periods. This selling pushed the price of gold down $23 dollars in the space of two hours. The next wave of futures selling occurred in the overnight period starting at 2:30 a.m. NY time on December 19th. This time of day is one of the least active trading periods during any 23 hour trading day (there’s one hour when gold futures stop trading altogether). Over 4900 gold contracts representing 14.5 tonnes of gold were dumped into the Globex system in a 2-minute period from 2:40-2:41 a.m, resulting in a $24 decline in the price of gold. This wasn’t the end of the selling. Shortly after the Comex floor opened later that morning, another 1,654 contracts were sold followed shortly after by another 2,295 contracts. This represented another 12.2 tonnes of gold. Then at 10:00 a.m. EST, another 2,530 contracts were unloaded on the market followed by an additional 3,482 contracts just six minutes later. These sales represented another 18.7 tonnes of gold.
All together, in 6 minutes during an eight hour period, a total amount of 37.6 tonnes (a “tonne” is a metric ton–about 10% more weight than a US ”ton”) of gold future contracts were sold. The contracts sold during these 6 minutes accounted for 10% of the total volume during that 23 hours period of time. Four-tenths of one percent of the trading day accounted for 10% of the total volume. The gold represented by the futures contracts that were sold during these 6 minutes was a multiple of the amount of physical gold available to Comex for delivery.
The purpose of driving the price of gold down was to prevent the announced reduction in bond purchases (the so-called tapering) from sending the dollar, stock and bond markets down. The markets understand that the liquidity that Quantitative Easing provides is the reason for the high bond and stock prices and understand also that the gains from the rising stock market discourage gold purchases. Previously when the Fed had mentioned that it might reduce bond purchases, the stock market fell and bonds sold off. To neutralize the market scare, the Fed manipulated both gold and stock markets. (See Pam Martens for explanation of the manipulation of the stock market: http://wallstreetonparade.com/2013/12/why-didn’t-the-stock-market-sell-off-on-the-fed’s-taper-announcement/ )
While the manipulation of the gold market has been occurring since the start of the bull market in gold in late 2000, this pattern of rampant manipulative short-selling of futures contracts has been occurring on a more intense basis over the last 2 years, during gold’s price decline from a high of $1900 in September 2011. The attack on gold’s price typically will occur during one of several key points in time during the 23 hour Globex trading period. The most common is right at the open of Comex gold futures trading, which is 8:20 a.m. New York time. To set the tone of trading, the price of gold is usually knocked down when the Comex opens. Here are the other most common times when gold futures are sold during illiquid Globex system time periods:
- 6:00 p.m NY time weekdays, when the Globex system re-opens after closing for an hour;
- 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening NY time when Globex opens for the week;
- 2:30 a.m. NY time, when Shanghai Gold Exchange closes
- 4:00 a.m. NY time, just after the morning gold “fix” on the London gold market (LBMA);
2:00 p.m. NY time any day but especially on Friday, after the Comex floor trading has closed – it’s an illiquid Globex-only session and the rest of the world is still closed.
In addition to selling futures contracts on the Comex exchange in order to drive the price of gold lower, the Fed and its agent bullion banks also intermittently sell large quantities of physical gold in London’s LBMA gold market. The process of buying and selling actual physical gold is more cumbersome and complicated than trading futures contracts. When a large supply of physical gold hits the London market all at once, it forces the market a lot lower than an equivalent amount of futures contracts would. As the availability of large amounts of physical gold is limited, these “physical gold drops” are used carefully and selectively and at times when the intended effect on the market will be most effective.
The primary purpose for short-selling futures contracts on Comex is to protect the dollar’s value from the growing supply of dollars created by the Fed’s policy of Quantitative Easing. The Fed’s use of gold leasing to supply gold to the market in order to reduce the rate of rise in the gold price has drained the Fed’s gold holdings and is creating a shortage in physical gold. Historically most big buyers would leave their gold for safe-keeping in the vaults of the Fed, Bank of England or private bullion banks rather than incur the cost of moving gold to local depositories. However, large purchasers of gold, such as China, now require actual delivery of the gold they buy.
Demands for gold delivery have forced the use of extraordinary and apparently illegal tactics in order to obtain physical gold to settle futures contracts that demand delivery and to be able to deliver bullion purchased on the London market (LBMA). Gold for delivery is obtained from opaque Central Bank gold leasing transactions, from “borrowing” client gold held by the bullion banks like JP Morgan in their LBMA custodial vaults, and by looting the gold trusts, such as GLD, of their gold holdings by purchasing large blocks of shares and redeeming the shares for gold.
Central Bank gold leasing occurs when Central Banks take physical gold they hold in custody and lease it to bullion banks. The banks sell the gold on the London physical gold market. The gold leasing transaction makes available physical gold that can be delivered to buyers in quantities that would not be available at existing prices. The use of gold leasing to manipulate the price of gold became a prevalent practice in the 1990′s. While Central Banks admit to engaging in gold lease transactions, they do not admit to its purpose, which is to moderate rises in the price of gold, although Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan did admit during Congressional testimony on derivatives in 1998 that “Central banks stand ready to lease gold in increasing quantities should the price rise.”
Another method of obtaining bullion for sale or delivery is known as “rehypothecation.” Rehypothecation occurs when a bank or brokerage firm “borrows” client assets being held in custody by banks. Technically, bank/brokerage firm clients sign an agreement when they open an account in which the assets in the account might be pledged for loans, like margin loans. But the banks then take pledged assets and use them for their own purpose rather than the client’s. This is rehypothecation. Although Central Banks fully disclose the practice of leasing gold, banks/brokers do not publicly disclose the details of their rehypothecation activities.
Over the course of the 13-year gold bull market, gold leasing and rehypothecation operations have largely depleted most of the gold in the vaults of the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, European Central Bank and private bullion banks such as JPMorganChase. The depletion of vault gold became a problem when Venezuela was the first country to repatriate all of its gold being held by foreign Central Banks, primarily the Fed and the BOE. Venezuela’s request was provoked by rumors circulating the market that gold was being leased and hypothecated in increasing quantities. About a year later, Germany made a similar request. The Fed refused to honor Germany’s request and, instead, negotiated a seven year timeline in which it would ship back 300 of Germany’s 1500 tonnes. This made it apparent that the Fed did not have the gold it was supposed to be holding for Germany.
Why does the Fed need seven years in which to return 20 percent of Germany’s gold? The answer is that the Fed does not have the gold in its vault to deliver. In 2011 it took four months to return Venezuela’s 160 tonnes of gold. Obviously, the gold was not readily at hand and had to be borrowed, perhaps from unsuspecting private owners who mistakenly believe that their gold is held in trust.
Western central banks have pushed fractional gold reserve banking to the point that they haven’t enough reserves to cover withdrawals. Fractional reserve banking originated when medieval goldsmiths learned that owners of gold stored in their vault seldom withdrew the gold. Instead, those who had gold on deposit circulated paper claims to gold. This allowed goldsmiths to lend gold that they did not have by issuing paper receipts. This is what the Fed has done. The Fed has created paper claims to gold that does not exist in physical form and sold these claims in mass quantities in order to drive down the gold price. The paper claims to gold are a large multiple of the amount of actual gold available for delivery. The Royal Bank of India reports that the ratio of paper claims to gold exceed the amount of gold available for delivery by 93:1.
Fractional reserve systems break down when too many depositors or holders of paper claims present them for delivery. Breakdown is occurring in the Fed’s fractional bullion operation. In the last few years the Asian markets–specifically and especially the Chinese–are demanding actual physical delivery of the bullion they buy. This has created a sense of urgency among the Fed, Treasury and the bullion banks to utilize any means possible to flush out as many weak holders of gold as possible with orchestrated price declines in order to acquire physical gold that can be delivered to Asian buyers.
The $650 decline in the price of gold since it hit $1900 in September 2011 is the result of a manipulative effort designed both to protect the dollar from Quantitative Easing and to free up enough gold to satisfy Asian demands for delivery of gold purchases.
Around the time of the substantial drop in gold’s price in April, 2013, the Bank of England’s public records showed a 1300 tonne decline in the amount of gold being held in the BOE bullion vaults. This is a fact that has not been denied or reasonably explained by BOE officials despite several published inquiries. This is gold that was being held in custody but not owned by the Bank of England. The truth is that the 1300 tonnes is gold that was required to satisfy delivery demands from the large Asian buyers. It is one thing for the Fed or BOE to sell, lease or rehypothecate gold out of their vault that is being safe-kept knowing the entitled owner likely won’t ask for it anytime soon, but it is another thing altogether to default on a gold delivery to Asians demanding delivery.
Default on delivery of purchased gold would terminate the Federal Reserve’s ability to manipulate the gold price. The entire world would realize that the demand for gold greatly exceeds the supply, and the price of gold would explode upwards. The Federal Reserve would lose control and would have to abandon Quantitative Easing. Otherwise, the exchange value of the US dollar would collapse, bringing to an end US financial hegemony over the world.
Last April, the major takedown in the gold price began with Goldman Sachs issuing a “technical analysis” report with an $850 price target (gold was around $1650 at that time). Goldman Sachs also broadcast to every major brokerage firm and hedge fund in New York that gold was going to drop hard in price and urged brokers to get their clients out of all physical gold holdings and/or shares in physical gold trusts like GLD or CEF. GLD and CEF are trusts that purchase physical gold/silver bullion and issue shares that represent claims on the bullion holdings. The shares are marketed as investments in gold, but represent claims that can only be redeemed in very large blocks of shares, such as 100,000, and perhaps only by bullion banks. GLD is the largest gold ETF (exchange traded firm), but not the only one. The purpose of Goldman Sachs’ announcement was to spur gold sales that would magnify the price effect of the short-selling of futures contracts. Heavy selling of futures contracts drove down the gold price and forced sales of GLD and other ETF shares, which were bought up by the bullion banks and redeemed for gold.
At the beginning of 2013, GLD held 1350 tonnes of gold. By April 12th, when the heavy intervention operation began, GLD held 1,154 tonnes. After the series of successive raids in April, the removal of gold from GLD accelerated and currently there are 793 tonnes left in the trust. In a little more than one year, more than 41% of the gold bars held by GLD were removed – most of that after the mid-April intervention operation.
In addition, the Bank of England made its gold available for purchase by the bullion banks in order to add to the ability to deliver gold to Asian purchasers.
The financial media, which is used to discredit gold as a safe haven from the printing of fiat currencies, claims that the decline in GLD’s physical gold is an indication that the public is rejecting gold as an investment. In fact, the manipulation of the gold price downward is being done systematically in order to coerce holders of GLD to unload their shares. This enables the bullion banks to accumulate the amount of shares required to redeem gold from the GLD Trust and ship that gold to Asia in order to meet the enormous delivery demands. For example, in the event described above on January 6th, 14% of GLD’s total volume for the day traded in a 1-minute period starting at 10:14 a.m. The total volume on the day for GLD was almost 35% higher than the average trading volume in GLD over the previous ten trading days.
Before 2013, the amount of gold in the GLD vault was one of the largest stockpiles of gold in the world. The swift decline in GLD’s gold inventory is the most glaring indicator of the growing shortage of physical gold supply that can be delivered to the Asian market and other large physical gold buyers. The more the price of gold is driven down in the Western paper gold market, the higher the demand for physical bullion in Asian markets. In addition, several smaller physical gold ETFs have experienced substantial gold withdrawals. Including the more than 100 tonnes of gold that has disappeared from the Comex vaults in the last year, well over 1,000 tonnes of gold has been removed from the various ETFs and bank custodial vaults in the last year. Furthermore, there is no telling how much gold that is kept in bullion bank private vaults on behalf of wealthy investors has been rehypothecated. All of this gold was removed in order to avoid defaulting on delivery demands being imposed by Asian commercial, investment and sovereign gold buyers.
The Federal Reserve seems to be trapped. The Fed is creating approximately 1,000 billion new US dollars annually in order to support the prices of debt related derivatives on the books of the few banks that have been declared to be “to big to fail” and in order to finance the large federal budget deficit that is now too large to be financed by the recycling of Chinese and OPEC trade surpluses into US Treasury debt. The problem with Quantitative Easing is that the annual creation of an enormous supply of new dollars is raising questions among American and foreign holders of vast amounts of US dollar-denominated financial instruments. They see their dollar holdings being diluted by the creation of new dollars that are not the result of an increase in wealth or GDP and for which there is no demand.
Quantitative Easing is a threat to the dollar’s exchange value. The Federal Reserve, fearful that the falling value of the dollar in terms of gold would spread into the currency markets and depreciate the dollar, decided to employ more extreme methods of gold price manipulation.
When gold hit $1,900, the Federal Reserve panicked. The manipulation of the gold price became more intense. It became more imperative to drive down the price, but the lower price resulted in higher Asian demand for which scant supplies of gold were available to meet.
Having created more paper gold claims than there is gold to satisfy, the Fed has used its dependent bullion banks to loot the gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) of gold in order to avoid default on Asian deliveries. Default would collapse the fractional bullion system that allows the Fed to drive down the gold price and protect the dollar from QE.
What we are witnessing is our central bank pulling out all stops on integrity and lawfulness in order to serve a small handful of banks that financial deregulation allowed to become “too big to fail” at the expense of our economy and our currency. When the Fed runs out of gold to borrow, to rehypothecate, and to loot from ETFs, the Fed will have to abandon QE or the US dollar will collapse and with it Washington’s power to exercise hegemony over the world.
Dave Kranzler traded high yield bonds for Bankers Trust for a decade. As a co-founder and principal of Golden Returns Capital LLC, he manages the Precious Metals Opportunity Fund.
Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.