“Gold has broken out from a massive base formed over a six-year consolidation. The breakout has left most investors on the sidelines. The powerful rally from below $1,300 to over $1,400 and a 6 year high caught most either wrong-footed (short) or flat footed (no exposure at all.) That is why we believe substantial further upside lies ahead. Gold’s allure (and the explanations for it) should grow as the price advances in the months and years ahead.”
USAGOLD note: Hathaway goes on to say that the bubble in complacency and “excessively brittle” consensus views are about to give way to market recognition of new realities.
“The bond market ‘vigilantes’ of old used to bully wastrel governments. Now they appear to have moved on to a grander target — the US Federal Reserve.”
USAGOLD note: Will the Fed lead, follow or get out of the way? The bond market has made its decision – the beneficiary of investor flight to safe haven, at least for now. As the press has reported extensively over the past few weeks, gold is also a beneficiary of the flight to safety.
“Yet as we noted in January, being held hostage, or captive, by the market is nothing new to Powell; in fact, it was way back when in March 2013, ahead of the Fed’s taper announcement, that the Fed chair first realized that it was not the Fed that controls the market, but rather – after years of ZIRP and QE – the Fed had become a hostage of the market’s every whim. And now, none other than the world’s biggest incubator of central bankers, Goldman admits as much.”
USAGOLD note: We’ve alluded to the Fed’s being forced to chase the market on rates previously in connection with recent thinking from Jeffery Gundlach. This piece by Tyler Durden is one for the deep-thinkers out there. Be aware that reading it could upend the comforting belief that the Fed is in control of the situation . . .
For gold . . .
It is not a question of if, but when
The lesson is one as old as the gold market itself: The best time to buy is when the market is quiet – a strategy that requires both discipline and conviction. As an old friend and client used to say (he passed away years ago): “It is not a question of if, but when.” He accumulated a large hoard of the metal in the 1990s and early 2000s between $300 and $600 per ounce and lived to see his prediction come true. His estate though was the ultimate beneficiary of his wisdom. He was not one to sell gold once he had acquired it. We chatted regularly on the phone back then and I told him that I had used the story just told in one of my newsletters. He was in his late 80s at the time. “Tell them,” he said resolutely, “that I bought my first ounce of gold at $35.”
“The possession of gold has ruined fewer men than the lack of it.”
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich –
“Markets may have rallied on Donald Trump’s potential trade “deal” with China, but the corporate world isn’t buying it. That’s one of the key points I took away from several days spent last week at a summit for global chief executives. They were busy preparing for a new world order that many believe will involve a stand-off not between two countries (the US and China) but between three systems — liberal democracy and free markets, state-run capitalism and cyber-libertarianism.”
USAGOLD note: Foroohar offers a fascinating delineation of the forces at work in the global economy and financial markets centered around the three “systems” mentioned above. She talks about things we should all be thinking about. We have not seen an analysis similar to this anywhere else. This is good stuff . . .
Repost from 7-8-2019
“We still don’t have very much inflation, and yet there is renewed interest in gold with prices reaching their highest since early 2013 at about $1,440 an ounce. There are a lot of reasons to like gold. One is that gold tracks fairly closely with budget deficits. The highs of 2009-2011 roughly corresponded with the large deficits that reached 10% of GDP during the Obama administration, which included the stimulus spending during the Great Recession and a sharp depreciation in the value of the dollar.”
USAGOLD note 1: Below we post a chart favorite here at USAGOLD showing, as mentioned above, the strong relationship over the long run between growth in the national debt and the rising price of gold.
USAGOLD note 2: By the way, we know more than our fair share of gold owners. Though a good many are business owners and managers, doctors, dentists, nurses lawyers, scientists, teachers, stay-at-home moms and ordinary working men and women (to name a few gold-owner job descriptions), none has ever mentioned anything about a tin foil hat and only a handful have referred to themselves as gold bugs. . . .yet some in the media persist with this nonsense. Gold owners, as we have said many times in the past, are a slice of Main Street America – nothing more, nothing less.
Repost from 7-10-2019
“U.S. money market fund assets rose to their highest level since late 2009, as investors poured more cash into these low-risk accounts even while major Wall Street indexes reached record peaks on hopes for rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, a private report released on Wednesday showed.”
USAGOLD note: This trend to safety has been largely overlooked. There is now about $3.25 trillion, according to this Reuters’ report, on the sidelines in money market funds – an indication of investor uncertainty, caution, fear. . . and liquidity.
Repost from 7-10-2019
(USAGOLD – 7/15/2019) – Gold is tracking lower in early U.S. trading as speculators look favorably upon precious metals with an industrial component in their pricing – silver, platinum and palladium. Silver is up 11¢ on the day at $15.32. (Please see today’s Chart of the Day.) Platinum and palladium are up 1.54% and 1.25% respectively in the early going. Gold meanwhile is taking a breather after last week’s see-saw proceedings – down $3 at $1412. Though the safe-haven trade appears to be sidelined this morning, it may not be for long with central banks around the world signaling underlying economic weakness and the need for aggressive stimulus.
“Gold is more than just a commodity,” says long-time technical analysts John Murphy at StockCharts. “Gold is sometimes also viewed as an alternate currency. When global traders lose confidence in their currency, they often turn to gold as an alternative store of value. . .Gold recently rose to a six-year high on falling U.S. interest rates which have weakened the dollar (aided by a more dovish Fed). So gold is rising in dollar terms. The true hallmark of a bull market in gold, however, is its ability to rise relative to other major currencies. And it’s doing just that.”
Quote of the Day
[OPINION] – “In their conspiracy theories, frustrated silver bulls were missing the one obvious conclusion confirmed by the Blythe Masters interview, that JPMorgan was, and probably still is, working for the Chinese central bank as their client. China is the whale in the market, which explains why we see the lack of correlation between the largest four traders and the second four going back over a decade. Bear in mind also that the commitment of trader’s reports covering Comex are not the whole story. Forward trades in London on the LBMA are a significantly larger market and JPMorgan operates its own vaults in London as well.” – Alasdair Macleod, GoldMoney
Chart of the Day
Chart note: As you can see in this chart, silver has not kept pace with gold’s rally since the end of May. It has gone up, but with not nearly at the same velocity as gold. So much so that the gold-silver ratio now stands at nearly 93 to one, its highest level since 1991. The most plausible theory for silver’s lag is that it relies on industrial applications for demand and that a recession would undermine that demand. Some see opportunity in this chart, others cause for concern. We will point out for the record though that silver lagged gold’s run early in the years of the credit crisis. It played catch-up, however, as the rally in precious metals prices unfolded over the next three years. In November 2008, the gold ratio was 80 to 1. By April 2011, it was 30 to 1.
“Perhaps ironically, Powell’s monetarily authoritarian remarks about gold were likely inspired by the fact that Donald Trump seeks to appoint the pro-gold Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve’s influential board of governors. In this sense, Powell’s remarks are symptomatic of someone speaking from defensive position. As such, Powell’s defensive remarks are demonstrative of the fact that more and more people are looking to gold as a means of getting out of the inflationary traps and debt traps that are implicitly cyclical when one’s economy is predicated on the artificial value of a fiat currency.”
USAGOLD note: When Jerome Powell was asked about the gold standard during testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, it was not the first time a Fed chairman was questioned on the subject. Alan Greenspan and Congressman Ron Paul had a long-running discussion on the merits of gold and the gold standard in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We thought so much of those exchanges that we posted the transcripts in their entirety at the USAGOLD website’s Gold Classics Library where they still reside today. The following is an excerpt from the Editor’s Note introducing the Greenspan-Paul dialogue:
“In putting this page together, I was struck with Dr. Paul’s ability to cut through the political gamesmanship that necessarily comes with being chairman of the Fed to Alan Greenspan, the man and political/economic philosopher. What emerges is a powerful figure conflicted between the practical manager charged with operating within the current fiat monetary system and the philosopher-academic with a ‘nostalgia,’ as he puts it, for the days of the gold standard. Without Dr. Paul’s incisive questioning, I doubt that this aspect of the Greenspan character would have found its way to the public venue and the historical record. Though the relationship appears adversarial at first blush, one also detects a certain amount of mutual respect and interest. Says Dr. Paul of the exchanges: ‘My questions are always on the same subject. If I don’t bring up the issue of hard money vs. fiat money, Greenspan himself does.'”
“The appointment of Christine Lagarde as president of the ECB has been greeted with euphoria by financial markets. That reaction in itself should be a warning signal. When risky assets soar in the middle of a huge bubble due to a central bank appointment, the supervising entity should be concerned. Lagarde is a lawyer, not an economist, and a great professional, but the market probably interprets correctly that the European Central Bank will become even more dovish. Lagarde, for example, is a strong advocate of negative rates.”
USAGOLD note: And should it become reality that degree of dovishness at the European Central Bank would bring even more pressure to bear on the Federal Reserve to follow suit.
“There’s a multitrillion-dollar black hole growing at the heart of the world’s financial markets. Negative-yielding debt — bonds worth less, not more, if held to maturity — is spreading to more corners of the bond universe, destroying potential returns for investors and turning the system as we know it on its head. Now that it looks like sub-zero bonds are here to stay, there’s even more hand-wringing about the effects for mom-and-pop savers, pensioners, investors, buyout firms and governments.”
USAGOLD note: A solid overview on the impact and consequences of negative rates on financial markets. . . .Though gold is not mentioned, the potential for crisis is. The mind naturally drifts to thoughts of a safe haven asset that also provides the potential for upside returns in a zero per cent world.
“It’s gold’s time to shine. The price of gold has gained 9.6% to $1404.30 an ounce this year, and my work projects the precious metal will move substantially higher from current levels as it starts a new bull market. The fundamentals and technicals are aligned for gold to maintain its upward trend in the coming months.”
USAGOLD note: A public service announcement from Barron’s magazine [smile]. . . . . It is not often that the famed Saturday publication announces a new bull market in gold!
“This tax increase should not be looked at in isolation. Higher earners in India are hugely relieved that a much talked about inheritance tax has been shelved. The budget also contained unprecedented levels of support for rural India, including double farmers’ income by 2022. And lacklustre stock and debt market performance has already made gold one of the best performing asset on 2019. The factors bode well for future gold demand.”
USAGOLD note: Visits to USAGOLD originating from India are on the rise representing over 8% of our daily total and our second largest country total. We have begun to post items we believe will be of interest to gold accumulators living in India. This World Gold Council article delves into the future effects of an increased import duty on gold investors in India and concludes it will be “negligible”. Year-to-date, the WGC reports, India’s stock market is up 7.4% (SENSEX) while gold is up 9.1%. India’s media often point to higher rupee gold prices as a factor likely to discourage demand. We have said often that the principal issue in India is depreciation of its currency – a circumstance likely to encourage continued acquisitions even as the gold price in the rupee rises.
CNBC/Yen Nee Lee/7-11-2019
“Trump echoed many critics of cryptocurrencies, questioning how bitcoin is valued and highlighting its price volatility. Many argue that those attributes count against the wider adoption of digital currencies. Cryptocurrencies ‘are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,’ said Trump.”
USAGOLD note: Some common sense from the Oval Office . . . . .
Related: Opinion: Donald Trump is right about bitcoin/MarketWatch/Brett Arends/7-13-2019
Real Investment Advice/Erik Lytikainen/7-11-2019
“Gold can be best viewed as financial insurance. If you believe that you should own insurance, then you should also own gold. In terms of investment performance, gold will do best during times of international financial stress. In the past, the price of gold has moved exponentially higher during these periods as demand for the ultimate safe haven goes viral.”
USAGOLD note: Lytikainen says the long-term upward peak for gold could be $7,000 to $11,000 as the world transitions from a dollar-based monetary system to a “multi-currency, multi-polar system.”
“I don’t believe the primary impetus behind the global central bank swing toward additional stimulus is economic. Indeed, I see Powell, Draghi, Carney, Kuroda and the like confirming the Acute Global Financial Fragilities Thesis. This fanciful notion of “insurance” stimulus will be debated for years to come. A system suffering from risk aversion, illiquidity and Credit contraction would be expected to experience some perk from monetary stimulus. But a global financial ‘system’ already excessively embracing risk, wallowing in liquidity abundance and generating record Credit growth will be only further destabilized by greater stimulus. I’ve been long fascinated by how things turn ‘crazy’ at the end of cycles. My thesis is the world is in the late stage of an extraordinary multi-decade Credit Bubble. From this perspective, we should not be surprised by phenomenal late-cycle excess.”
USAGOLD note: I thought for sure that Noland was headed for “politics” as the reason for the additional stimulus, but he thinks it’s a fragile global financial bubble that needs propping up. He says the additional Fed stimulus though is “effectively throwing gas on the fire.” – Worth the visit for the full flow of Noland’s logic with respect to where we are now. . . . .
“‘Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes,’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. ‘As such, I request that Congress increase the debt ceiling before Congress leaves for summer recess,’ Mnuchin said.”
USAGOLD note: This is not some budget analyst raising the red flag but the Secretary of the Treasury who is in a position to know first-hand just what the balance is in the national checkbook. Whenever we start talking about raising the debt ceiling worries immediately arise about another pitch political battle in Congress and an attendant threat to the national credit rating. At times in the past, the gold price has risen as the level of dysfunction in Washington became more readily apparent.
“It is another sign of the impact the trade war Opens a New Window. is having between the U.S. and China. China’s imports from the U.S. plunged in June, while exports to the U.S. weakened. Imports of U.S. goods fell 31.4 percent from a year earlier to $9.4 billion, while exports to the American market declined 7.8 percent to $39.3 billion, customs data showed Friday.”
USAGOLD note: Ouch.
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Important! – Gold’s Century: While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed
Thinking in big numbers
Big numbers do not register with most people. Thinking in millions is difficult. Billions are a major challenge, trillions nearly impossible. The reason for this, says Wall Street Journal columnist Jo Craven McGinty, is that big numbers are usually offered in isolation without the benefit of comparison – numbers without an appropriate anchor, so to speak. People need some sort of measuring stick to give the numbers meaning. She recently offered some interesting tactics for making big numbers meaningful. Here is one of them:
“[T]hink of it [big numbers],” she says, “in terms of time, like Richard Panek, a professor at Goddard College in Vermont and a Guggenheim fellow in science writing. There are 1 million seconds in roughly 11½ days. There are 1 billion seconds in around 31 years. And there are 1 trillion seconds in around 31,000 years. Someone who doesn’t grasp these differences in magnitude is also likely to be clueless when it comes to assessing the impact of chopping $2.7 billion from a $1.068 trillion budget.* It’s less than 1% of the total—the proverbial rounding error.”
*The proposed outlay for discretionay spending submitted by the Trump administration for the 2019 fiscal year budget
“Rome fell because the dictators ruined the Roman economy and the institutions that had made it prosperous. Rome was falling apart before the barbarian invasions. How did the Caesars do that? They were profligate spenders. As emperors with absolute power usually do, they thought big: infrastructure (roads, temples, palaces), a huge bureaucracy, and, as the key to maintaining their power they had a very large, loyal, and well paid army. As a consequence, massive government spending far outstripped revenue. They had what today we call a deficit problem.”
USAGOLD note: By the time the barbarians showed up at the gate, as Harding points out, Rome was a goner – destroyed by inflation of the currency and an undermining of the values that created the Empire. Believe it or not, gold was a hedge in the latter days of the empire because the circulating currency made of silver, the denarius, was constantly devalued by Rome’s emperors. Those who saved gold, saved their fortunes.
Repost from 7-4-2019
“A growing chorus of Wall Street foreign-exchange analysts is writing about the risk that U.S. President Donald Trump may move beyond words in his quest for a weaker dollar. From ING to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, more analysts in recent weeks have been openly contemplating the wild-card notion that the administration could intervene to cheapen the dollar.”
USAGOLD note: The question becomes “how does the administration get this done?” As the old saying goes: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. One possibility raised in this article is that the White House would order the Fed to sell dollars in the open market. Such a move would create a great deal of interest in the gold market . . . .
Repost from 7-9-2019
“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.
Repost from 5-24-2019
(USAGOLD – 7/12/2019) – Gold is up modestly in early trading following yesterday’s steep sell-off on a worse-than-expected inflation report. Only in this upside-down, Alice-in-Wonderland investment climate can an item generally viewed as an inflation hedge decline on news of a possible return of inflation. But decline it did. This morning the yellow metal is making an attempt at recovery trading tentatively at $1406 – up $2 on the day. Silver is down 1¢ at $15.10. TIAA Bank’s Chris Gaffney remained optimistic after what he described as gold’s “knee jerk reaction” to the inflation report. Yesterday’s move, he told Reuters, was “just an adjustment of the fact that maybe it had gone up a little fast [on Wednesday], but is still holding nicely above $1,400, and it looks like we are going to continue holding above $1,400.” The overriding issue remains monetary policy and perhaps before too long the Fed chairman’s clearly-stated dovish stance will regain the upper hand in gold’s pricing.
Quote of the Day
“An ounce of gold cost $271 in 2001. Ten years later it reached $1,896—an increase of almost 700 percent. On the way, it passed through some of the stormiest periods of recent history, when banks collapsed and currencies shivered. The gold price fed on these calamities. In a way, it came to stand for them: it was the re-discovered idol at a time when other gods were falling in a heap of subprime mortgages and credit default swaps and derivative products too complicated to even understand. Against these, gold shone with the placid certainty of received tradition. Honored through the ages, the standard of wealth, the original money, the safe haven. The value of gold was axiomatic. This view depends on a concept of gold as unchanging and unchanged—nature’s hard asset.” – Matthew Hart, Vanity Fair
Chart note: We ask the indulgence of our regular readers who have seen this chart before. We have had quite a few new visitors over the past few weeks looking into gold for the first time, and this chart more than any other, we feel, is central to understanding why gold continues to make sense as a long-term portfolio holding. When the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1971 and freed currencies to float against one another, the fiat money era began. We are still in that era today. This chart shows the performance of gold from the early 1900s to 1971 when gold backed the dollar, and the era from 1971 to present when it did not. Gold has had its ups and downs since 1971, but clearly, over the long run, in the absence of an official gold standard, individual investors have been well-served by putting themselves on a private gold standard.
“Gold is flashing a bright and shiny warning signal when it comes to the currency markets. It is telling us that the value of currencies is declining, and the price action is a continuation of a trend that began near the turn of the century. The currency markets validate the beginning of the next leg of the bull market in the market that is part currency and part commodity; a hybrid, unlike no other asset the world has ever seen.”
USAGOLD note: We agree with Hecht on his primary point that the devaluation of currencies on a long-term basis is also the foundation for long-term demand for gold and a strong argument for an extension of gold’s secular bull market. In fact, we covered the depreciation of a number of currencies against gold over just the past year in a recent Daily Market Report.
“There may be some wrinkles to consider with intervention, Cahill wrote. While the Treasury and Fed have typically contributed equal amounts in past episodes, if the Fed chooses not to participate it would ‘substantially limit’ the potential scale, he said. Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund holds roughly $22 billion in greenbacks and around $50 billion in special drawing rights that it could convert.”
USAGOLD note: One would have to think that if the White House decided to intervene in the market to drive the dollar lower, it would do so with assistance of the Federal Reserve. With the Fed, the intervention has no boundaries. Without it, the markets – not to mention China, Japan, Europe et al – would likely wait for the Treasury to run out of bullets. . . . .
“Across Europe, a European identity remains popular – but the EU and its administrative state are not. As Greece’s difficulties drag on, and Europe’s politics turns ever more febrile, the union’s leaders need to ask themselves a fundamental question: What is the point of democracy if the views of voters are ignored?”
USAGOLD note: King is the former governor of the Bank of England. The comments above are delivered in the context of Greece’s voter rejection in 2015 of the austerity measures imposed upon it by the so-called troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. An interesting chart is included in King’s article that shows the Greek crisis dragging on much longer than the Great Depression of the 1930s.