December 2, 2022

Physical Demand For Gold and Silver Skyrockets – Gold Bullion Coin Sales Highest Since December 2009

1881-CC-Morgan-DollarWe have probably all heard enough already from the mainstream nitwits who are forecasting the end of the gold bull market and further price declines.  Funny thing though, most precious metal investors don’t need advice from self proclaimed experts on how to invest their money.  The explicitly stated goal of central banks to increase the rate of inflation through currency debasement is blatantly obvious.  Investors are acting accordingly by taking advantage of the recent decline in precious metal prices.

A look at product availability and pricing at some major coin and bullion dealers shows spot shortages of gold and silver as well as large premiums as investor demand overwhelms supply.

The Perth Mint reports that retail customers are increasing purchases at a record rate even as gold slumps to a 21 month low.  As the experts were proclaiming the “Death of Gold”, the Perth Mint website recorded the highest activity of the year and one of the best days of the past year.  Bargain prices on gold and silver have greatly increased the demand for physical gold and silver by the public.  Demand for gold coins have skyrocketed with sales of Australian gold bullion coins increasing by 48% in the first quarter over the comparable prior year period.

2013-Australian-Kangaroo-1oz-Gold-Bullion-Coin-Reverse-S

Buying by U.S. investors of the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins has also increased dramatically.  Through April 16th, sales by the U.S. Mint of the American Eagle gold bullion coins have already exceeded total monthly sales for the previous two months.  At the current sales pace, sales of the gold bullion coins in April will total over 167,000 ounces, an increase of over 260% from the prior month.  The last time sales of gold bullion coins exceeded 167,000 ounces was in December 2009 when the U.S. Mint sold 231,500 ounces.

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins are also strong in April, continuing a trend that began with the financial crisis in 2008.  Sales of the silver bullion coins through April 16th total 2.2 million ounces.  If the current sales pace continues through the end of April total sales of the Silver Eagle coins will increase by 31% over the previous month.

Short term speculators may be crashing the precious metals markets, but long term investors in gold and silver see this as the ultimate golden opportunity to increase positions.

 

Where Does Silver Go From Here?

silver-eagleBy: GE Christenson

You bought silver with high expectations! Then it crashed while endless news reports informed you that silver would drop even further. Frustration! Misery! Despair! Depression! You have lived it all. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Darkness and despair covered the land of silver. There was no joy in silver-ville.

But, then from the depths of despair and ugly bearish sentiment, a rally materialized. But, not just a small rally, a HUGE RALLY – TOTALLY AWESOME! The price doubled in a few months. Then it paused, scared some of us out, and rallied even further. You heard that silver was going to $100 or maybe $200 per ounce. Analysts outdid each other with higher and higher projections. You congratulated yourself on your foresight and financial acuity by investing in silver – sheer genius – forgetting that you almost sold out for a loss at the bottom. The manic phase is great while it lasts…

Silver rallied, and you waited for even higher prices before you sold. If you were rational or just lucky, you sold out before it crashed 25% in a week. If you did not sell out, you screamed to anyone who would listen, “they crashed it,” and “I should have sold out before the crash,” and “it’s not fair.”

Silver investing felt like a bipolar roller coaster ride – manic up followed by depressing down. You began to self-medicate with alcohol and wishful thinking. You sought out others who agreed with you, told you what you wanted to hear, and…

… it goes on and on.

STOP!

I repeat. STOP with the bipolar behavior, the delusional thinking, the self-medicating, and the emotionally debilitating ups and downs. It is not good for your physical, emotional, or financial health. Just stop, hit the silver reset button, and reassess.

  • Silver is heavily manipulated by the big players (JP Morgan, etc.) – what else would you expect? They are in the business to make profits, and their profit at YOUR expense is just fine with them. No need to worry about the DOJ, congress, or any regulators … for obvious reasons. So just admit it, the price is managed and manipulated, the “fix is in,” and that is exactly what we should expect. But, it is still a better investment than most paper.
  • Silver has gone up, from January 1, 2000 (a good place to start) to the LOW in April 2013 about 14% per year. One more time, what is wrong with 14% per year?
  • Silver rallied from under $9 in October 2008 to a high of nearly $49 on April 29, 2011. The next week it crashed to a low of about $35, briefly bounced, and then fell again to a low of about $26 in June of 2012, rallied to about $35 in October, and fell again to about $27 in early April 2013. That was a wild ride on the bipolar silver roller coaster.
  • Since 1971 when Nixon severed the already tenuous link between the dollar and gold and encouraged money creation to accelerate, silver has risen, on average. about 7% per year, compounded annually, for 42 years. It will go higher because the value of paper currency is almost certain to continue its decades’ long decline.
  • Central banks around the world are printing money, expanding the money supply, and doing what they can to suppress the price of gold and silver. Given the financial mess they have created, what choice do they have? So expect money printing and erratic silver rallies to continue.

For your emotional and financial sanity and physical health, get off the bipolar silver roller coaster, buy physical silver, relax, and watch the spectacle as the central banks of the world drive the value of paper currency toward zero and the value of silver to $100 or $200 or $300 per ounce. You own it for insurance and to preserve purchasing power, so there is no need to fixate on the daily or weekly price, except to buy more at bargain prices – like now.

Again: Why do we own silver?

Read:

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

Physical Gold Inventories Plunge As Gold Market Crashes – How Can That Happen?

worldKyle Bass recently summed up the thoughts of many gold investors when he said “the largest central banks in the world, they have all moved to unlimited printing ideology.  Monetary policy happens to be the only game in town.  I am perplexed as to why gold is as low as it is.  I don’t have a great answer for you other than you should maintain a position.”

Gold investors can easily be forgiven for being perplexed, especially when considering that gold prices are plunging at a time when stocks of physical gold are being rapidly depleted at the COMEX warehouses.  Is this just one of life’s unsolvable mysteries or is the gold market being manipulated?  Bill Downey at Gold Trends lays out a solid case on how market manipulation caused last week’s gold collapse and why it makes more sense than ever to increase holdings in physical gold and silver.

 

There’s been a recent huge draw down of physical gold at the New York COMEX and at the JP Morgan Chase depository. Look at the physical market draw down on the charts below. It has taken a drastic plunge.HOUSTON — we have a problem.Physical inventory drawdown at JPM
Charts by Nick Laird of www.sharelynx.com

GoldInventoryJPMAPril2013
Physical Drawdown at COMEX
Charts by Nick Laird of www.sharelynx.com
GoldInventoryComexApr2013
You can imagine the dilemma this is causing for the market interests behind these inventories. If the inventory runs out and one cannot meet deliveries then it has to be bought on the open market. Not only that but it could cause a run up in prices that would hurt the shorts in the market.So what to do?There is only one way out of this for the market controllers would be to devise a plan that would collapse the market and trip up all the stops at the correction lows in gold of 1525 thereby setting off the stop loss orders under this important market low. And what if the plan included a way to stop the physical market from purchasing gold under 1525 while that correction was underway?

And how can that happen?

They have to hatch out a plan and carefully orchestrate it in a series of events that takes the gold market by surprise and force the players out of their positions.

Read on for today’s lesson in market manipulation and allow me to relay my speculation about what transpired last week.

A successful ambush usually involves surprise.

One of the main new weapons in the FEDS arsenal is TRANSPARENCY.

After a lifetime of silence the FED all of a sudden has come out of the closet and has decided that the best thing for the market is to be transparent and to that end they now have televised communication meetings with the general public so chairman Bernanke can explain the FED policy and answer any questions that the market has on its mind as well as the usual minutes that get released to the markets that review the policy decisions and discussion of prior meetings.

Why does the Fed need to explain what they are doing now?

Well it isn’t because everything is going just fine. Put it this way. They must figure when you have 50 million people on food stamps and the Dow Jones is going up a few hundred points a week and making all time highs and you have 16 trillion dollars in debt and interest rates are zero, its best to have a communiqué every month before someone asks you to explain what is going on. It’s called staying ahead of the curve if you will. If you tell them what’s going on it makes it look like you know what you’re doing. Otherwise all we have is the statistics and by themselves they tell you something is wrong, something is terribly wrong. So they have become transparent.

During the last communiqué the chairman made it abundantly clear that QE was here to stay until the unemployment rate reached acceptable levels. This communiqué whether by personal appearance or by releasing the FOMC minutes of the prior meeting is something the FED relies on so market participants can remain comfortable and abreast of Fed monetary policy.

Three strikes and you’re out

The FOMC minutes from the last meeting were due for release during last week. But a funny thing happened. They got released EARLIER than expected. It was all a big mistake and the FED let the SEC and the CFTC know right away that the error had occurred. And lo and behold even with all its transparency there happened to be some language we didn’t get updated on until the FOMC minutes were released. The notes say that several members have been discussing cutting back on the stimulus. That was strike one. It got the gold market thinking that stimulus cuts might be coming.

Strike one

Surprise number two

Then a bombshell was released from news sources. It was reported that Cyprus would have to sell 400 million Euro’s of gold as part of the bailout package of raising money for their failed banking system. Gold prices came down to 1550 on the news and the day passed by. Even though Cyprus bankers tell us the next day that they didn’t discuss selling any gold, market jitters seemed to remain and Friday was just around the corner. This was strike two.

Now we need a strike three and you’re out. Gold is a nervous market to begin with as a lot of people have already lost a lot of money in the last six months.
With Gold at 1550, all that is needed for the market to drop is to get one more push where all the stops are (just below the 2 year low of 1525).

The selling began in the Friday sessions overseas. By time we got to the New York COMEX gold open, the price was down to 1542. Now all the players are there and the volume and liquidity is there to create the final blow to the market.

And then the attack began. Wave after wave of selling until gold got to 1525. Then they break down the price below the two year low and all the stops that have been accumulating there start getting tripped up and the selling accelerates as it begins to feed on itself. The physical market for gold sees this as a gift and gets ready to make their move and buy up the gold.

Now comes the part that is pure genius or a total coincidental thing that just so happens to be a gift to those who are short the market and those who would be responsible to deliver gold should the inventory deplete.

ALL OF A SUDDEN THE LONDON PHYSICAL PLATFORM THAT BUYS AND SELLS PHYSICAL GOLD GETS LOCKED UP. THE SYSTEM FREEZES.

continue reading here.

 

The Financial System Has Reached The Implosion Point

coinA profound thanks to all the short term fickle speculators in gold and silver who have shifted their portfolio allocations to stocks, bank accounts and certificates of confiscation government bonds .  The shift to paper assets has provided what will in hindsight be the best buying opportunity for gold and silver since the crash of 2008.

BY:  GE Christenson

March and April 2013 may go down in history as the tipping point for the western financial system.

We have already seen:

  • Lehman Brothers and many other financial firms collapse.
  • $700 Billion in TARP funds arranged by banking insiders for banking insiders at the expense of US taxpayers.
  • Over $16 Trillion in bailouts, guarantees, swaps, and loans created by the Fed and given to various banks, nations, and other insiders.
  • MFGlobal took “segregated” customer funds, the exchange provided no compensation to customers, and yet no criminal indictments have been issued.
  • Global derivatives total $700 Trillion to well over $1,000 Trillion, depending on who is counting. Some are “toxic waste.”
  • Many European bailouts and “fixes.”
  • Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and perhaps France in trouble.
  • US official debt approaching $17 Trillion with unfunded liabilities many times larger.
  • The Federal Reserve creating $85 Billion per month (over $115,000,000 per hour) to support banks and the US government.

So what other disasters could occur? In a word, Cyprus!

  • Not because the EU and Cyprus took Russian money.
  • Not because several banks will close.
  • Not because some deposits will be confiscated and/or frozen.

In my opinion, the sign that a tipping point has occurred in the financial system is the real story:

  • The veil of banker honesty has been lifted. The EU/IMF/ECB will do whatever is necessary to support the banks, even if it means they will confiscate (tax, steal, bail-in) customer deposits.
  • Customer deposits are NOT assets held in the bank for safe-keeping, but are liabilities of the bank and are not guaranteed to be made whole.
  • Billions of dollars were removed prior to the Cyprus freeze, so insiders clearly knew in advance of the ordinary depositors (see below). There is no “level playing field” when billions of dollars/euros are in play.
  • According to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and Euro Group President, this is “the template for any future bank bailouts.” In other words, your deposits are considerably less safe than you thought. Your bank could fail, and your deposits might be used to compensate for derivative losses or other losses that the bank incurred.
  • The FDIC in the US, as well as England, Canada, and New Zealand, has announced similar policies, agreements, and plans to confiscate deposits in the case of an emergency. Is this a sign that an emergency is not only possible but probable and imminent?
  • Confidence in the banking and financial system has been seriously damaged, perhaps irreversibly.

Following are a few quotes from respected commentators:

Jim Sinclair: If the fools that have attacked Cyprus persist then it is the start of an avalanche that will destroy confidence in fiat currency, the fractional reserve system and central banks. What are the central bankers terrified of? My answer is the mountain of old OTC derivative coming home to roost.” Link.

Tyler Durden: “With every passing day, it becomes clearer and clearer the Cyprus deposit confiscation “news” was the most unsurprising outcome for the nation’s financial system and was known by virtually everyone on the ground days and weeks in advance: first it was disclosed that Russians had been pulling their money, then it was suggested the president himself had made sure some €21 million of his family’s money was parked safely in London, then we showed a massive surge in Cyprus deposit outflows in February, and now the latest news is that a list of 132 companies and individuals has emerged who withdrew their €-denominated deposits in the two weeks from March 1 to March 15, among which the previously noted company Loutsios & Sons which is alleged to have ties with the current Cypriot president Anastasiadis.” Link.

Peter Cooper: “Depositors in the beleaguered Bank of Cyprus are now facing losses of 60 per cent on deposits over 100,000 euros as the Cyprus Government seems to have woken up to the fact that this is its last chance to steal money off these mainly foreign depositors. It’s an absolute travesty and a red letter day for European Union banks…

“Money in EU bank accounts is clearly now up for grabs by any government that recapitalizes its banking sector. Moreover, the Cyprus precedent is going to cause a run on the weaker banks that will make this sort of recapitalization inevitable. Standby for a systemic banking crisis in the EU…

“What the EU has done in Cyprus is the modern equivalent of the failure of the Credit Anstaldt in 1931 that brought on the Great Depression with thousands of banking failures around the world.” Link.

Jim Sinclair: “I believe Cyprus is the defining moment whereby the physical market for gold overtakes the paper market for gold as the arbiter of price. When that occurred in 1979 the price of gold began its move to seek its maximum valuation.” Link.

Julian DW Phillips: “When it was announced [in Cyprus] that both large and small depositors were to have a percentage of their deposits seized, it was not the amount that horrified the world but the discovery that you do not own your own bank deposits… Most investors worldwide are of the belief that when you deposit your money in a bank, it simply has safe-keeping of that money. The realization that you have lent the bank your money and are an “Unsecured Creditor” of the bank is an unpleasant revelation.” Link.

Michael Snyder: “What you are about to see absolutely amazed me when I first saw it. The Canadian government is actually proposing that what just happened in Cyprus should be used as a blueprint for future bank failures up in Canada.

The following comes from pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013″ which you can find right here. Apparently the goal is to find a way to rescue “systemically important banks” without the use of taxpayer funds…”

“In addition, branches of the two largest banks in Cyprus were kept open in Moscow and London even after all of the banks in Cyprus itself were shut down. So wealthy Russians and wealthy Brits have been able to take all of their money out of those banks while the people of Cyprus have been unable to…”

“The global elite are fundamentally changing the game. From now on, no bank account on earth will ever be able to be considered “100% safe” again. This is going to create an atmosphere of fear and panic, and no financial system can operate normally when you destroy the confidence that people have in it.

Confidence is a funny thing – it can take decades to build, but it can be destroyed in a single moment.” Link.

Ellen Brown: “Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.” Link.

Richard Russell: “I’ve been asked to name one future situation of which I’m most certain. My answer is this – I believe the surest situation (change) in America’s future is a decline, even a drastic decline, in our standard of living. We’ve spent it; we’ve spent what we didn’t have. And somewhere ahead, probably much sooner than we think, will come payback time. And it won’t be pretty.” Link.

Summary

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

Why The Long Term Price of Silver Is Guaranteed To Rise

By: GE Christenson

Walking-Liberty-HalfBegin the analysis in 1971 when Nixon dropped the link between the dollar and gold. A pack of Marlboros cost (depending on local taxes) about $0.39. We paid about $0.36 for a gallon of gasoline. The DOW Index was about 850. Silver was priced at about $1.39.

Times have changed! Read Part 1 of Silver – Keep It Simple!

Today we have more currency in circulation, far more debt, and much higher prices – what does it mean?

Examine Graph 1. The prices for retail cigarettes, crude oil, national debt, silver, and the true money supply (TMS) (see notes at end) are shown on a log scale graph with all prices normalized to start at 1.0 in 1971.

Click on image to enlarge.
  • National debt (green line) has increased rapidly since 1971 and even more rapidly, on average, than the other items. (National debt has increased over 12% per year for the last five years.)
  • Silver (black line) and crude oil (red line) prices have been erratic with peaks in the early 1980s, troughs in the late 1990s, and substantial rises since 2001.
  • Cigarettes and TMS have increased steadily since 1971.
  • TMS (also M2, M3, etc.), debt, and most commodity prices have increased exponentially since 1971. Because the dollar was not backed by gold, dollar creation, total debt, and prices increased rapidly.
  • Not shown are some prices that increased more rapidly (medical costs and college tuition) and some that increased more slowly (postage and bread).

Graph 2 shows annual silver and crude prices smoothed with a centered five period moving average. This removes much of the “noise” in the price data and shows longer term trends better. Note that the price of silver actually reached about $50 per ounce in early 1980, but the average daily price in 1980 was only $16.39; the smoothed daily average was about $11.

Click on image to enlarge.

Statistical Correlations

  • Silver prices in dollars (annual average of daily price) correlated with crude prices in dollars (annual average of daily price) at 0.83 – a good correlation. Both are commodities, both are affected by politics, and both are sensitive to money supply, actual inflation, and inflationary expectations.
  • TMS correlated with national debt at 0.99 – a tight correlation. When budget deficits increase the national debt, the money supply expands accordingly.
  • Silver prices (annual average shown) correlated with national debt at 0.67 and with TMS at 0.58. The smoothed silver price correlation to national debt was 0.76 over 40 years and much higher over the past 13 years.
  • Silver prices (smoothed) correlated with crude prices (smoothed) at 0.93 – an excellent correlation.

So What?

  • National debt correlates tightly with TMS. Smoothed silver prices correlate well with both national debt and TMS. We may be apprehensive about future silver prices, but we can be 99.99% certain about the inevitable increase in national debt. Based on the 40 year correlation between silver and national debt, silver prices will continue to rise.
  • Both crude oil and silver are commodities that experience large price volatility. On average, they go up and down together; and, over a 40 year history, their prices have clearly moved substantially higher. I see many reasons to expect both to move higher in the long term.
  • Crude oil is the most important commodity in the world. Its per capita use, on average, is rising and the world’s population is increasing, so demand will remain strong, unless the world suffers a massive financial and economic collapse. Further, the easily available oil has been taken so there is little chance that inexpensive supply will increase. More demand coupled with flat or declining supply requires higher future prices. Higher crude oil prices strongly suggest higher silver prices.
  • Central banks are “printing money” in their desperate attempt to fight deflation, levitate asset prices, bailout banks and countries, and encourage inflation. This guarantees further increases in national debt and TMS and price increases for most commodities including crude oil, cigarettes, and silver.

Price of Silver as a Projection Based on Other Variables

We can construct a calculated price for silver based on three variables – national debt, TMS, and the price of crude oil. Examine Graph 3 of smoothed silver prices and the calculated price of silver based on those three variables. Note that the correlation is 0.86 – quite good. The silver price has both a monetary component (national debt and TMS) and a commodity component (crude oil). Together they produce a simple but effective projection for the smoothed average price of silver over the past 42 years.

Click on image to enlarge.

For the Future

Assume national debt increases 12% per year for the next five years like it has for the past five years. Assume TMS and crude continue their past five year growth rates (11% and 8%). The estimated price for the smoothed average price of silver is about $55 in 2016. The peak price on a spike higher could easily be triple the smoothed price. Look for $100 silver in 2015 – 2017 unless a deflationary collapse occurs – to the detriment of everyone including banks, politicians, and national governments.

Conclusion

Debt, money supply, and the prices for most commodities have exponentially increased over the past 42 years. Prices for crude oil and silver have substantially increased but inconsistently. I can be certain of death and taxes, and I feel confident that the national debt and prices for crude oil, cigarettes, silver, and most other consumer items will drastically increase in the next few years – under circumstances similar to the past 40 years. A hyperinflationary increase is also possible, in which case, all commodity prices will be unbelievably higher. Assuming no deflationary collapse, expect $100 silver relatively soon – perhaps in 2016. Read Past & Future Speculative Bubbles – What They Indicate for Gold and Silver!

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

Silver Bullion Coin Sales Heading for Record Highs In 2013

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins soared in March, continuing a trend of record breaking sales that has been in force for the past five years.

american-silver-eaglePrior to the financial crisis, sales of the one ounce American silver eagles averaged about 10 million coins per year.  The near collapse of the financial system in 2008 raised profound questions about the integrity of the financial system and the rush to precious metals was on.  Since 2008, annual sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins have soared with average annual sales of over 31 million coins.

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins totaled 3,356,500 ounces in March, up 32% from comparable sales of 2,542,000 ounces during March 2012.   Total sales of 14,223,000 ounces through March 31, 2013 soared by 40.3% over the comparable prior year period.

The previous record year for silver bullion coins was in 2011 when 39,868,500 coins were sold. The 2011 record may wind up looking like a low number compared to projected total sales for 2013.  Based on sales for the first three months of the year, annualized sales for 2013 could hit a record shattering 57 million ounces although even this estimate may be too low.  As the slow motion collapse of the European banking system speeds up, the looming specter of  huge losses by bank depositors could create a total loss of confidence in paper money and ignite a panic move into gold and silver.

The U.S. Mint has vastly underestimated demand for the American Eagle silver bullion coins and was recently forced to suspend sales twice as physical demand for silver soared (see U.S. Mint Sold Out).

Since 2000, investors have purchased almost a quarter billion ounces of silver bullion coins from the U.S. Mint, worth almost $7 billion based on the current price of silver.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

YEAR

OUNCES SOLD

2000

                 9,133,000

2001

                 8,827,500

2002

               10,475,500

2003

                 9,153,500

2004

                 9,617,000

2005

                 8,405,000

2006

               10,021,000

2007

                 9,887,000

2008

               19,583,500

2009

               28,766,500

2010

               34,662,500

2011

               39,868,500

2012

33,742,500

2013

14,223,000

TOTAL

            246,366,000

Total sales for 2013 are through March 31, 2013.

COMEX Price Manipulation Forces Silver Price Down Despite Demand Increase

By: Mike McGill of Liberty Gold and Silver

Let’s begin with a definition. Investopedia.com defines the Law of Supply and Demand as follows:

The effect that the availability of a particular product and the desire (or demand) for that product has on price. Generally, if there is a low supply and a high demand, the price will be high. In contrast, the greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price will be.

A solid definition, agreed? The Law of Supply and Demand should be the core premise of all economic studies as it has proved itself to be historically true.

How can we explain what has happened recently with the price of silver? In about three months, silver has declined from its late-November price of about $34 per ounce to its current price of about $28.50 as of today’s close (February 28, 2013). That’s a drop of about $5.50, which equates to a decline of over 16% in about 90 days. An economist with a solid grounding in the supply and demand theory, when viewing this decline, would have to conclude one of two things. Either the supply of silver had recently rapidly expanded or the demand for the precious metal had substantially decreased over the same period. These would appear to be the only logical explanations for this situation.

However, in the alternate universe of manipulated markets, insane derivatives, massive criminal fraud in both the banking and commodities markets, central bank machinations with currency handouts, and complete dereliction of duty on the part of regulatory bodies, it seems that the basic laws of economic price discovery no longer apply.

We need to ask ourselves how is it possible for the price of silver to undergo a substantial drop in price while simultaneously experiencing extremely tight supplies and burgeoning demand. In order to make a professional inquiry regarding this conundrum, we will dispel all the blather from the CNBC crowd that precious metals are in a bubble (they are NOT; both gold and silver remain firmly in a ten year upward channel of growth) and adopt an attitude like Dragnet’s Sergeant Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.”

Here are those facts:

In 2012, silver sales soared. The US Mint reported that the sale of American Silver Eagle bullion coins topped off at the third highest annual total in the twenty-seven year history of the series. Just past mid-December, the US Mint told its distributors that it had “sold all remaining inventories of 2012 American Eagle Bullion Coins,” adding that “no additional coins will be struck.” Until the sell-out, Silver Eagles were on pace to eclipse the second best annual sales in history. Even more amazing was the ratio of sales of Silver versus Gold Eagles – over fifty to one. In total dollars, the sale of Silver Eagles almost matched that of Gold Eagles – nearly 98%.

In January of this year, the sale of Silver Eagles was tremendous. So strong was the demand that the US Mint notified all its distributors shortly past mid-month that it had halted all new orders because it had run out of bullion supply. Despite two production shutdowns in January, the US Mint sold a record breaking 7.13 million Silver Eagles in ONLY TEN BUSINESS DAYS, shattering the previous monthly record set in 2011. Currently, the US Mint is on allocation rationing to its distributors – and we’re into this year only eight weeks!

Another instance of extreme silver shortage that has seen little to no reporting is the near total annihilation in the availability of “junk silver” (pre-1965 US silver coins). As of the beginning of this week, almost none could be found anywhere in the country except in extremely tiny amounts. Nearly every wholesaler and retailer in the nation was completely sold out. Waiting time for orders is at least a month with six weeks being quoted as a reliable delivery date.

Just a week ago, it was reported that Apple will be delaying its new 21.5 iMacs because of a shortage of silver in China. Silver is used extensively in iMacs. The production delays are already three months and counting.

On the demand side of this equation, wholesale premiums over the silver spot price have risen as much as six-fold in the past two months. Retail mark-ups for these coins have never been greater since the 1980 high when silver topped $50.

What is one to conclude with this incredible contradiction of drum-tight silver supply and record breaking demand weighed against a silver price decline of nearly 16% in the last three months? It is difficult not to conclude that there has been market intervention and/or price manipulation occurring.

As we’ve reported several times over the last few years, the spot price of precious metals is set almost entirely by the bid-ask trading action in the world’s commodity pits, principally the COMEX in New York and the London Bullion Market Association. These exchanges have been notorious for allowing massive naked short selling by large investment banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs without these firms having to post either the normally required margin deposits or having adequate silver on deposit with these exchanges to satisfy delivery requirements for those traders who might wish to take physical delivery of the silver upon contract expiration. Both of these activities are violations of the rules of the futures exchanges involved as well as federal requirements that are supposed to be enforced in the US by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC itself has been repeatedly accused by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) and many others of being derelict, if not outright complicit, in allowing these trading violations to continue. Link is here.

What we’re seeing is a big disconnect between silver’s paper price and its actual physical availability. It is not inconceivable that what is occurring is similar to what happened to markets in the old Soviet Union. The communist ruled markets quoted cheap prices for products that were chronically in short supply. The real market, the “black market,” was where you could purchase real goods with fair price discovery. When this dichotomy completely broke down, so did the Soviet Union. It is not difficult to foresee that a breakdown and growing distrust of the paper silver markets could well cause a price explosion in physical silver.

We have been warning for years that paper markets in general and precious metals markets specifically, should be viewed with suspicion, as they all contain counter party risk, which cannot be honored. The only sure way to fully protect oneself is to own physical coins and bullion. Do it today while the “paper price” is still low.

The Fundamental Reasons For Owning Gold and Silver Are Stronger Than Ever

One of the best methods for protecting wealth against a constantly depreciating paper currency is to own precious metals.

The bull case for precious metals remains intact as central bankers worldwide have become the lenders of last resort for nations that have exhausted their borrowing capacities.  Very little has changed since 2008 when the world financial system stood at the abyss of collapse.  Unsustainable debt levels continue to increase even as the capacity to service the debt diminishes.

As discussed in Why There is No Upside Limit For Gold and Silver Prices, the U.S. has reached a tipping point on the road to insolvency. Despite trillions in stimulus spending, both job creation and economic growth have been extremely weak and are likely to remain so.

Economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, authors of This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, offer comprehensive statistical evidence of the dangers of excessive public debt.  As documented in their book, once public sector debt reaches 90% (which the U.S. is very close to) a country has only three options, all of them bad.

According to Rogoff and Reinhart, the only way out for overleveraged nations is a restructuring through default, austerity or allowing inflation to increase while repressing interest rates at a very low level.

Default is the most drastic and least likely remedy to be used by a country such as the United States which issues its own currency and can create an unlimited number of dollars to service debt payments.

Austerity, the second option, is a highly unlikely scenario under our current democratic system.  Any politician voting for austerity measures would quickly be voted out of office and replaced by another politician promising continued funding of the social welfare state.  Since over half the country’s population currently depends on entitlement programs to survive, the power of the majority vote guarantees that austerity will not  become a policy for putting the country back on a fiscally sound economic path.  The inability to reduce unsustainable spending  or impose confiscatory rates of taxation leaves the government with one bad option – print more money.

The United States is currently locked into policy options that guarantee a long term rise in gold and silver prices.  The current weakness in precious metals represents a buying opportunity for those seeking to accumulate and protect their wealth over the long term.

APMEX Reports Sales Spike on eBay Bullion Center

Last  Wednesday, with New York gold down over $40 per ounce, even long time gold bulls were advising caution before committing to further investment.  Some precious metals dealers reported a flood of panic selling by anxious investors who were unloading physical coin and bar.

With everyone fearful of lower prices, exactly who was buying all that gold and silver from panicked investors?

Michael Haynes, CEO of APMEX, one of the countries largest precious metals dealers, said “As gold and silver prices continue to drop, long-term investors immediately reacted to the market movement. Recognizing that the precious metals were on sale and at a discount relative to the expected future values, buyers of physical bullion increased purchasing at the APMEX Bullion Center on eBay.”

Michael Haynes explained further.

“This was the second largest selling day for the APMEX Bullion Center on eBay since inception about five months ago, beating the next highest selling day by more than 30%. As Gold and Silver prices fell, heavily influenced by the reaction of day traders to the minutes from the recent Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, physical sales of both metals skyrocketed. Buyers of physical Gold and Silver have a moderate to long term view and concluded that with the price movements, the precious metals were on sale and at a discount relative to the expected future values. These investors in physical Gold and Silver apparently see the long term issues faced by the U.S. economy and seek some asset allocation into the non-correlated asset class of precious metals to protect and hedge their investments in paper assets like Stocks and Bonds.”

According to APMEX, the top sellers on the Bullion Center are the 1 oz Silver American Eagle, the 1 oz Gold American Eagle, the 5 gram Statue of Liberty Credit Suisse Gold Bar and the 100 oz Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bar.

Every bull market has corrections which offer long term investors the opportunity to add to positions at bargain prices.  The high volume of gold and silver purchases on the eBay Bullion Center indicates that mainstream buyers remain committed to precious metals as a method of wealth preservation.

Top Financial Advisors Negative On Gold As Perfect Contrarian Storm Brews

The outlook for gold has turned profoundly negative.  With prices down over 4% since the start of the year, gold is off to the worst start since 2001.  Billionaire investors George Soros and Louis Moore Bacon have dramatically slashed their gold holdings and Bloomberg reports that money managers have liquidated gold and precious metal holdings for six straight weeks, the longest stretch of outflows since the first quarter of 2011.

Further confirmation of the bearish outlook on gold investment was provided by Barron’s latest survey of America’s top financial advisors who manage money for the ultra wealthy.  According to Barron’s, the “one clear theme” of the advisors for 2013 is an increased commitment to stocks,  logically implying that most advisors see a better economy and rising corporate profits.  With bond yields reaching all time lows, stock dividends are also able to provide income starved investors with yields unattainable from government debt securities or gold.

Barron’s surveyed the best financial advisors in fifty states and the District of Columbia and listed their latest recommendations.  Out of the 51 financial advisors interviewed, only two gave a lukewarm recommendation for gold as a hedge.

With the investor outlook for gold about as negative as it can get, a contrarian opportunity is developing.  A negative consensus by itself is not sufficient to justify an overallocation to gold nor can it provide the timing for a reversal.  Negative sentiment and corresponding price declines provide the opportunity to assess the validity of the consensus and weigh the opportunity for out-sized gains when the consensus swings in the opposite direction.

The probability for a sentiment reversal on gold is not unreasonable.

Severely dysfunctional governments worldwide have abdicated responsibility for implementing policies that would lead to sound fundamental economic growth and fiscal restraint.  In their stead, responsibility for running world economies has been delegated to central banks which have virtually zero constraints on providing easy money as the solution for over indebtedness and slow growth.

The consensus belief is that the benefit of unlimited cheap money, which is clearly stimulating current asset inflation, will eventually benefit the real economy.  This beautiful theory of wealth creation by central banks becomes even more appealing as central bankers assure us that easy money policies will not cause high inflation since monetary policies could quickly be adjusted if inflation rises too high.  After putting the world on a path to permanent prosperity and ending poverty through unlimited money printing, perhaps the world’s central banks will also come up with a cure for cancer – we shall see.  In the meantime, the contrarian case for investing in gold grows with each passing day.