“Healthy markets would adjust and correct to reflect heightened uncertainties and deteriorating prospects. Speculative markets instead promote excess and the ongoing accumulation of imbalances, maladjustment and impairment. There’s no operable release valve. Pressure builds and builds – risks accumulate in all the wrong places – Then Panic. The flaw in contemporary finance – especially within market psychology over recent years – is to believe central bankers have nullified market, economic and Credit cycles. They have certainly averted a number of market crises over recent years, in the process significantly extending cycles. Along the way risk market participants grew greatly overconfident in the capacity of central bankers to permanently forestall crisis. Moreover, they have turned completely blind to the historic crisis festering just below the surface of their delusional view of a ‘Permanently High Plateau’ of global peace and prosperity.”
USAGOLD note: In his famous work on financial bubbles – Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds – Charles Mackay writes “We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.” But before the millions move on, they are generally relieved of a generous portion of their wealth. . . .Unless, of course, they have taken pains to properly hedge the financial madness of the era (or found the discipline to avoid it altogether). Most of the delusions covered in Mackay’s work are built on the misguided belief that the new and enlightened era had rendered the age-old market cycle obsolete. It never does. . .
USAGOLD note 2: By the way, Michael Lewis, the financial journalist, rates Mackay’s book one of the six great studies in economics in league with the work of Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes. It is featured at our Gold Classics Library here.
“The issue here is that the rebound in world equities since the Christmas Eve selloff suggests that traders are pricing in a trade recovery. This would imply that they are due quite a correction. Further, trade volumes appear to be enduring the most significant interruption yet to their steady improvement since the aftermath of Lehman’s bankruptcy . . .”
USAGOLD note: From his days at Financial Times, John Authers has consistently written about the things with which market professionals concern themselves. Now writing for Bloomberg, he sees structural weaknesses beneath the seemingly sturdy surface of financial markets. “This may not be a mad world,” he says, “but it is a dangerous one.” He has some advice at the bottom of the article about “what to do about this” – well worth the visit at the link above.
“The problem with currency wars is that all advantage is temporary and is quickly erased by retaliation. Not only is the world not better off, but it is worse off because of the costs and uncertainty resulting from the currency manipulations. Eventually, the world wakes up to this reality and moves to the trade war stage. Then to the shooting war stage. This new trade war will get ugly fast and the world economy, which is already slowing, will be collateral damage. Given the trillions in dollar-denominated debt in emerging markets, a full-scale foreign sovereign debt crisis could be in the making if emerging-market countries cannot earn dollars from exports to pay their debts.”
USAGOLD note: A dire forecast from James Ricards and a far cry from what many on Wall Street would like to believe as the likely outcome to TW1. A potential emerging country debt problem is one of the potential unintended consequences we have warned against for some time on this page.
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“‘The 1920s is quite a legend that people are often thinking about,’ Shiller said Friday on CNBC’s ‘Trading Nation.’ ‘I look at 1929 particularly as the end of the roaring ’20s and it ended in a bout of speculation. Between May and September of ’29 the stock market went up over 30 percent in just a few months.'”
USAGOLD note: These comparison’s between the 1929 crash and the 1930s crop up with regularity these days. . . .Dalio, Howe and now Shiller.
Repost from 10/2/2018
“Wealthy investors around the world are holding a relatively high level of cash, and perhaps they’ve become too cautious, according to UBS Group AG. The world’s largest wealth manager said 32 percent of high-net-worth portfolios are in cash, in a survey released May 7. In Asia and Latin America, the portion was 36 percent, compared with 31 percent in Switzerland and 35 percent in the rest of Europe. The outlier: the U.S., at just 23 percent.”
USAGOLD note: That U.S. number is interesting to say the least. . . .American investors are all-in with respect to the stock market thinking they can get out when the time comes without any serious injury. Blind faith? Wishful thinking? Or trust well-placed? Time will tell. . . . . .For those with a healthy skepticism and a lot of cash, though, we know of another liquid instrument that does not carry the burden of counterparty risk. It is yellow, shiny, comes in the form of coins and bullion and has a history of serving its owners as a storehouse of wealth since before the time of the Caesars.
Repost from 5-8-2019
“The trade war between the U.S. and China is not expected to have a big impact on your favorite commodity—unless you happen to be a soybean farmer. ‘This is going to go on longer than people think, but there’s no reason to be doomsday about it,’ says Craig Turner, senior commodities broker at Daniels Trading, a Chicago-based futures brokerage firm. ‘You can be worried—there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit worried—but I wouldn’t panic.'”
USAGOLD note: Though the plight of the soybean farmer is the focus of this article, it ends with a nod in the direction of the precious metals. Gold, it says, may be the one “winning commodity” in the trade war because of its dual role as inflation hedge and general safe haven asset.
Repost from 5-20-2019
“Greece is in the vanguard of this trend, attracting fair-weather, shallow, speculative trades, while patient investment in its economic recovery is nowhere to be seen. After 2008, Greece came to symbolize global capitalism’s failure to balance credit and trade flows. Today, as the global mismatch between economic reality and financial returns grows, there is clear danger that, once again, the country is foreshadowing a new phase of the global crisis. When vultures grow fat on a corpse, they do not revive it.”
USAGOLD note: Varoufakis, who garnered much attention as Greece’s Finance Minister during its financial breakdown, focuses in this essay on financial market speculation in low-quality debt – public and private – and says that Greece once again is the ‘canary in the global gold mine.’
Related: Fed warns leveraged lending could exacerbate a downturn/Financial Times/Kiran Stacey/5-6-2019
Repost from 5-19-2019
(USAGOLD – 5/24/2019) – Gold is level this morning at $1283 after yesterday’s solid run-up fueled by the breakdown in trade negotiations between the United States and China. Silver is down 4¢ at $14.57. The price of gold in the paper-heavy commodities market has been unable to generate appreciable movement in either direction of late. At the same time, physical metal continues to be in strong demand among a small, but influential group of professional money managers and central banks. The determining factor in both sectors is the perceived need for a safe haven in an increasingly complicated and unpredictable global economy – a concern that is unlikely to diminish anytime soon.
“The bullish case for gold in the long run,” says Business Report’s Ryk de Clerk, “is that Russia, China and India are likely to continue to increase their gold holdings. To double Russia’s gold holdings to 38 percent from 19 percent currently will take-up 62 percent of current total annual mine production. In the case of China an increase to 4 percent from 2 percent currently will amount to 54 percent of total mine production. . .The three most relevant reasons why they invest in gold are gold’s role as a safe haven and as an effective portfolio diversifier. Gold is also universally accepted.”
Quote of the Day
“It’s a philosophic thing. Trying too hard in the short-run exposes you to the risk of doing badly. Trying to find big winners on every trade exposes you to the risk of having losers. You accomplish more by having goals that are modest but more reasonable. Put differently, trying to be a big home run hitter induces the possibility of strike-outs — and strike-outs have a very bad effect on your long-term performance. That’s why the investment business is full of people who got famous for being right once in row.” – Howard Marks, Oaktree Capital
Chart of the Day
Chart courtesy of the World Gold Council
Chart note: This chart is perhaps one of the most telling we have ever published in this section of our daily reports. It depicts the performance of various currencies against gold over the long term – past and present. Those who tout the proposition that gold is not really an inflation hedge, or that it is not really a safe-haven against currency debasement would be well-served to give it some undivided attention. Those who own gold and believe in it as a vehicle for long-term asset preservation will see it as vindication. For those who do not own gold, we hope it will serve as an inspiration and a call to action.
“Bridgewater Associates didn’t have any major positions in gold ETFs until the second quarter of 2017. By the end of the third quarter of 2017, GLD formed 3.18% of the fund’s portfolio. Dalio likes gold due to its diversification and hedging properties. In a LinkedIn post last August, Dalio wrote, ‘If you don’t have 5–10% of your assets in gold as a hedge, we’d suggest that you relook at this. Don’t let traditional biases, rather than an excellent analysis, stand in the way of you doing this.'”
USAGOLD note: Bridgewater Associates is the largest hedge fund in the world, so 5% to 10% of its assets amounts to a considerable total. We would add that Dalio is not the only billionaire investor recommending gold ownership these days. Billionaires own ETFs to circumvent the insurance, security and storage problems. The typical private investor, on the other hand, can store his or her needs in an average-sized safety deposit box and avoid the costs and limitations imposed by ETFs. If you would like to learn more on that score, please give the TradingDesk a call.
“The Philippines has passed a law exempting gold sales by small-scale miners to the central bank from excise and income taxes to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves and prevent smuggling, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said.”
USAGOLD note: As with Serbia, this measure is part of the global trend to increase official gold reserves and hedge currency risks. We note too Phillipines gold production will now stay within its borders and not reach the international market.
“According to media reports, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic has recommended to Tabakovic and finance minister Sinisa Mali to increase the country’s gold reserves to 30 tonnes in 2019 and 40 tonnes in 2020. Vucic has discussed the potential acquisition of gold with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who supported the idea, Vecernje Novosti daily reported on Tuesday.”
USAGOLD note: The central bank notes that the gold acquisition is to enhance the country’s financial stability. Though small by global standards, this purchase places Serbia among the ranks of nation states and central banks diversifying their reserves with gold. It is interesting to note that the IMF supported the idea.
“The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday it was proposing a new rule to impose anti-subsidy duties on products from countries that undervalue their currencies against the dollar, another move that could slap higher tariffs on Chinese products. The new rule also could put goods from other countries at risk of higher tariffs, including Japan, South Korea, India, Germany and Switzerland.”
USAGOLD note: This rule provides the means for the U.S. government to devalue the dollar against other currencies. If launched, this measure is likely to be viewed as dollar negative/gold positive . . .
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Could China dump its US Treasuries to fight the trade war? A contrarian view is emerging in Beijing
“This would devalue US bonds, causing yields to rise, potentially sharply. If China converted the dollar proceeds from its sale back into yuan, it would strengthen the Chinese currency against the US dollar, potentially significantly. However, one line of thinking is that because the trade war could remove the US as a viable market for Chinese exports, a strengthening yuan against the dollar – which would make Chinese goods more expensive for American buyers – may be seen as an acceptable outcome by Chinese policymakers.”
USAGOLD note: The South China Morning Post is thinking the unthinkable in this article. The repercussions of the yuan “strengthening significantly against the dollar” would no doubt be felt in the gold market. We should not forget that many analysts question China’s publicly-stated gold reserve number of 1850 tonnes and say it is probably closer in reality to 5000 tonnes.* If that number is correct, a significantly higher gold price would go a long way toward repairing the harm inflicted through bond sales. If China actually did acquire an immense gold reserve prior to the trade war, it will likely be seen in future years as one of the more astute policy plays of the era.
*In 2015, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated China’s gold reserve at 3510 tonnes. The China Gold Association in a 2012 study forecasted the optimal official gold holding to be 5787-6750 tonnes by 2020.
Related: Trade war sparks fears of China weaponising US Treasuries/Financial Times/Joe Rennison and Colby Smith/5-23-2019
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USAGOLD Recommendation: The precious metals industry is unique in the financial industry in that it is not subject to oversight or regulation by third-party government entities like the SEC or CFTC. As such, marketplace forums and feedback sites often serve as a replacement for investors attempting due diligence. While several options can be found, by far the most impartial and least susceptible to vested influence is the Better Business Bureau. When looking at a company’s BBB profile, don’t focus solely on the rating. To be honest, pretty much everybody has an ‘A’ or ‘A+’ rating. What is far more important to assess is the number and nature of complaints, number and caliber of positive and negative reviews, longevity with the BBB, as well as the number of ‘stars’ given a company through the actual customer review system.
“What becomes much more apparent is that bear markets tend to destroy most or all of the previous advance and has done so repeatedly throughout history. Importantly, what was not being discussed between the advisor and his 60-something client was simply the risk of ‘time.’ There are many financial advisors, commentators, experts, and social media gurus who have never actually ‘been invested’ during a real ‘bear market.’ While the ‘theory of ‘buy and hold’ sounds good, kind of like MMT, in practice it is an entirely different issue. The emotional stress of loss leads to selling even by the most ‘die hard”’of individuals. The combined destruction of capital and the loss of time is the biggest issue when it comes to individuals meeting their retirement goals.”
USAGOLD note: There are two principal approaches to the problem Mr. Roberts so persuasively exposes. One does not necessarily preclude the other. The first is to find a good guide to help you paddle through choppy waters. The second is to diversify before the water begins to even stir. With respect to hedging stock market exposure, the focus of the essay linked above, a good approach and the one that has gained considerable purchase in these uncertain times is to own an uncorrelated asset – a course of action that inevitably leads the seeker of wisdom to gold’s door. . . . The charts alone are worth the visit.
Repost from 5-19-2019
“Households in India may have piled up around 24,000-25,000 tonnes of gold, remaining the world’s largest holders of the precious metal, Somasundaram PR, managing director (India) of the London-headquartered World Gold Council (WGC), has told FE. At Friday’s international price, the value of the holdings (25,000 tonne) would be as much as $1,135 billion, or equivalent of more than 40% of India’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in FY19.”
USAGOLD note: To give you an idea just how much gold the people of India own in the overall scheme of things, the total amount of gold held by governments and central banks globally is 33,976 tonnes, according to World Gold Council statistics.
Repost from 5-20-2019
“The next leg higher for Gold will see a price peak near $1450 before another brief sideways/stalling pattern sets up. After that, our research suggests a rally will quickly drive Gold prices above $1550 (or much higher). As we’ve been suggesting, Silver will likely lag behind Gold by about 20+ days. We believe Silver is going to see an incredible upside price move – even bigger than Gold in percentage terms. Our belief is that Silver will be trading above $26 to $28 per ounce – almost DOUBLE the recent low price level, when Gold will be trading just above $2000 per ounce. The reason for this is the relationship between the Gold/Silver/US Dollar pricing levels – called the Gold/Silver Ratio.”
USAGOLD note: A very optimistic forecast from a group that has made “some truly amazing precious metals calls over the past 6+ months.”
Repost from 5-15-2019
(USAGOLD – 5/23/2019) – Gold rose sharply in early U.S. trading on a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce that China was formally withdrawing from trade negotiations with the United States. The yellow metal is up $7 as this posted at $1281. Silver is up 7¢ at $14.52. Though the markets anticipated further volleys from both sides, a complete halt with China taking the proactive role in breaking negotiations comes as a jolt. The concurrent complete breakdown in Washington involving Trump, Pelosi and Schumer raises the question of whether or not the federal government too might come to a full stop.
Stocks are down 235 and the yield on the 30-year bond hit its lowest level in over a year. Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow seemed to capture the prevailing mood: “It has been a sloppy day all around. The litany of discouraging news is there for all to see. It doesn’t feel particularly helpful to run down the list again. Suffice to say it’s an understatement that the people in charge are hardly distinguishing themselves. And that is a reality playing out all over the globe. If there is one word to describe the mood it would be, ‘discouraged.’”
“Gold prices and silver prices will go up,” says Charles Nenner, a well-known cycle and geopolitical analyst in a USAWatchdog interview. “It’s early, and it’s better to get in early instead of when it’s exploding, and everybody knows you have to now be in gold. It’s always the clever money that is basing their money into gold stocks. The price is going much higher. Remember, my upside price target is $2,500. Right now, it is $1,270, and $2,500 is a substantial move in gold.”
Quote of the Day
“At the quarter-century mark of 1925, the great bull market was under way, and Graham*, then 31, developed what he later described as a ‘bad case of hubris.’ During an early-1929 conversation with business associate Bernard Baruch (about whom he disparagingly observed, ‘He had the vanity that attenuates the greatness of some men’), both agreed that the market had advanced to ‘inordinate heights, that the speculators had gone crazy, that respected investment bankers were indulging in inexcusable high jinks, and that the whole thing would have to end up one day in a major crash.’ Several years later he lamented, ‘What seems really strange now is that I could make a prediction of that kind in all seriousness, yet not have the sense to realize the dangers to which I continued to subject the Account’s4 capital.’ In mid-1929, the equity in the ‘Account’ was a proud $2,500,000; by the end of 1932, it had shrunk to a mere $375,000.” – Frank K. Martin, A Decade of Delusions
* Benjamin Grahm, “The father of value investing”, 1894-1976, Security Analysis (1934) with David Dodd, and The Intelligent Investor (1949).
Chart of the Day
Chart note: Whether or not China will begin unloading its very large hoard of U.S. debt is a subject of much concern, but its intentions are one part of the much larger global de-dollarization puzzle. This chart shows the change in U.S. debt held by foreigners and international investors in billions of dollars from 1970 to present. The level of ownership grew proportionately over time in concert with the overall issuance of U.S. debt until 2015, when it began to fall off. The problem is not just that foreign investment in U.S. Treasuries is on the wane. It is that the retreat has come at a time when U.S. borrowing needs are expected to consistently exceed $1 trillion per year. The question becomes, “How is the U.S. federal debt going to get financed?” (For more detail, please see The $12 trillion federal debt bombshell – A NEWS & VIEWS SPECIAL REPORT)
“The latest U.S. actions on trade are preventing negotiations with Beijing from proceeding, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. ‘If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue,’ Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation.”
USAGOLD note: This statement sent stocks lower in the U.S. overnight market and gold higher.
“Traditional hedges gold and the yen have performed poorly since the beginning of the U.S.-China trade war, but that could now change given the more dovish monetary backdrop, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. A combination of a Federal Reserve that has stopped tightening policy and investor positioning that suggests the two assets are under-owned, could see their performance as hedges improve in 2019 and 2020, wrote strategists including John Normand in a note Friday.”
USAGOLD note: As we say repeatedly here, the ideal time to buy gold is when everything is quiet. . . .or to put it another way, when it is under-priced, under-owned and under-appreciated. Gold and the Japanese yen, as you can see in the charts below, have been travelling companions since the last financial crisis. The markets perceive both to be safe-havens, though there is no guarantee that the two will remain travelling companions in the future.
“Central banks across Asia are moving to defend their currencies from recent declines as escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China weigh down exports and economic growth. Officials in Beijing, Seoul and Jakarta were among those taking steps on Wednesday to arrest weakness that’s affected most key currencies in Asia this month. The yen, a traditional haven, is the main exception to the trend.”
USAGOLD note: This is one of the quiet crises developing around the globe – the collateral effects of the strong dollar. If debt is denominated in dollars, the debtor country pays dearly when those debts come due when the dollar is rising. One cannot help but be reminded of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s – a problem that began with depreciating currencies and capital flight that nearly rolled over to a full-out global financial contagion.
“The morality and strength of capitalism (or free enterprise, free markets, whatever term you choose for the U.S. economic system) is that it allows people to succeed by meeting the needs and wants of others. People in a capitalist society are constantly trying to come up with ways to make everyone’s lives better. The failures critics blame on capitalism are caused by the mistakes of government, not an economic system that rewards hard work and innovation. Those failures are many.”
USAGOLD note: Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
“China is exploring more drastic action as a result of its trade fight with the U.S., according to the South China Morning Post. While China is open to resuming trade talks, ‘government advisers are now highlighting the risk of sourcing critical supplies from an increasingly hostile US…and are exploring ways for the country to cut its exposure to the US,’ the paper said, citing Chinese researchers. The article was titled, ‘Donald Trump’s trade war and Huawei ban push China to rethink economic ties with US.’”
USAGOLD note: The more this kind of thinking becomes entrenched on both sides, the deeper the roots of the trade war are likely to sink with economic consequences for both countries – and it follows from there for financial markets here, there and elsewhere.
“We can best see gold’s potential giant base pattern on a 10-year chart. It can be described as a complex Head-and-Shoulders bottom or as a Saucer, and is best considered to be both, or perhaps as a hybrid having the characteristics of both patterns. In any event, as we can see on this chart, it appears to be drawing close to breaking out of it, which will be a very big deal if it happens, because a base pattern of this magnitude can support a massive bullmarket. As for timing it could take several months and it is most likely to happen during gold’s seasonally strong period from July through September. To maintain the bullish case it must stay above the Saucer boundary.”
USAGOLD note: We post Clive Maund’s forecasts from time to time – one of our favorite tech analysts. His latest is worth the visit – a positive prognosis for gold based on structural chart patterns.
Daily gold and silver price history
1968 to present
Our Daily Gold and Silver Price History pages are among the heaviest traffic pages at the USAGOLD website. The archived data is licensed from the ICE Benchmark Administration and the London Bullion Market Association and Netdania Creations and run from 1968 to present. FOREX prices for the day are posted as a live feed and then frozen at the end of each trading day. These pages are frequented by data gatherers of all descriptions from professors and their students to market professionals and investors – all interested in gold’s price performance both over the long run and within specific time constraints for their own research purposes.
Daily Gold and Silver Price History is another of the quiet pages at USAGOLD that garners significant global interest particularly when the market is moving or breaking news warrants more than average interest. We also invite you to return here regularly – to this Live Daily Newsletter page – for up-to-the-minute gold market news, opinion, and analysis as it happens.
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Daily gold and silver price history pages