November 28, 2022

Gold and Silver Investors Need to Ask Themselves 10 Basic Questions

1933-double-eagle1Rick Rule listed 10 key questions regarding today’s economy. They are:

10 Questions for Precious Metals Investors

  • Is the financial crisis in the Western world over?
  • Have the G20 countries balanced their budget?
  • Did the commercial banks manage to become solvent?
  • Are (real) interest rates positive or negative?
  • Is a global competitive devaluation to increase exports still ongoing?
  • Is the European periphery still financially challenged?
  • Do the Asian countries still have a cultural affinity with precious metals?
  • Which are the US budgetary issues and solutions?
  • Are the derivatives from large banks still a problem for economies and client portfolios?
  • Can liquidity solve the issue of insolvency?

If these are the questions, then gold and silver are two good answers.

But, let’s approach these questions from a different direction.

  • Have gold or silver ever defaulted?
  • Do gold or silver have counter-party risk like EVERY paper investment?
  • On January 1, 2000 the Dow was about 11,500, gold was priced at $289, and silver was priced at $5.41. As of May 24, 2013, those numbers were: Dow: 15,303, gold $1,386, silver $22.49. Which was the best investment?
  • Gold fell (in 21 months) from over $1,900 to about $1,320. Does that mean the gold bull market is over? The Dow crashed from 14,100 (October 2007) to about 6,500 (March 2009), and then rallied back to new highs. Don’t exclude the possibility of new highs for gold and silver in the coming months.
  • Why are Chinese businesses, individuals, and their central bank buying gold as rapidly as possible? Why does the Chinese government refuse to allow any gold to be exported? Why does China (world’s largest gold producer) additionally import a massive amount of gold every year?
  • Ask the same for Russia, India, and much of Asia. What do they know about the VALUE of gold that the EU and the USA (who are selling gold) don’t understand?

Further:

  • Gold and silver have gone up and down, when priced in unbacked paper currencies. The same is true for trucks, diamonds, the Dow Index, laundry detergent, gasoline, cigarettes, and wheat. Price increases and volatility will continue.
  • Gold, silver, and the national debt have increased exponentially since Nixon severed the link between the dollar and gold in 1971. All three will continue to rise. Gold and silver will occasionally rally too far and crash, while the national debt will increase until politicians no longer enjoy spending other people’s money.
  • Goldman Sachs (and many others) have said gold is in a bubble. The same individuals and groups probably did not see the bubble in Internet stocks and housing. Do you trust them or the 3,000 years of history during which gold and silver have been real money and a store of value?
  • If JP Morgan (and others) can make huge profits using computers, complex mathematical algorithms, and High-Frequency-Trading, then they will. Often their trading temporarily drives the prices for gold and silver down. After the markets have been driven far enough down, the same trading process is used to drive the prices higher. Expect it!
  • Silver has dropped from about $49 (April 2011) to just above $20 (May 2013) – almost a 60% drop in price. Does that mean it will continue to drop more – perhaps to $10? Silver has retained its value, on average, for 3,000 years but has fallen in price for two years. On the basis of price action in those two years, most individuals (based on sentiment measures) have chosen to trust unbacked paper currencies issued by an insolvent central bank and an insolvent sovereign government instead of silver. This is typical of market bottoms, even if it is not sensible.
  • About 4.5 years ago (October 2008) silver crashed to a price bottom where “everybody felt” like it was hopeless to expect silver to rally again. About 4.5 years before that (May 2004), silver also crashed to a price bottom where “everybody felt” like it was hopeless to expect silver to rally again. But, in fact, the silver rally off the low in 2008 was over 450%, and the rally off the 2004 low was over 175%. Silver will rally again.
  • We may not trust bankers and politicians to effectively run the country, but we can trust them to “print money” and to spend in excess of their revenues. Consequently, we should trust them to drive the prices, as measured in unbacked paper currencies, for gold and silver – MUCH higher.

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

Why All Governments Hate Gold

bars-of-goldMOTIVE: The various governments of the world and their central banks produce and distribute a product – paper currencies. Those currencies are backed by confidence, faith, and credit, but not by gold, oil, or anything real. Those currencies are digitally printed to excess, since almost all governments spend more than their revenues. The UK, Japan, and the USA are prime examples.

Politicians want to spend more money, but they also need to maintain the illusion that the money is still valuable, that it will retain most of its purchasing power over time, and that inflation is under control. The illusion weakens when food, gasoline prices, and other consumer goods are wildly rising in price. At a more abstract level, gold indicates the same lack of confidence in the printed pieces of paper that our central banks distribute.

Hence, central banks and governments have a strong motive to “manage” the inevitable price increases in gold. They have a motive to suppress the price and to allow it to rise gradually over time, while occasionally smashing it down and temporarily destroying confidence in gold as an alternative to unbacked paper currencies. The press helps by regularly claiming gold is in a “bubble.”

Yes, there is a clear and compelling motive.

MEANS: This brings up a heavily debated topic – do governments and central banks have the means to manage the price of gold? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did banks manipulate rates in the LIBOR market?
  • Does the Federal Reserve (and other central banks) set (manage – manipulate) interest rates in the credit markets?
  • Do banks exercise considerable influence over regulators and Congress?
  • Are the various central banks of the world centers of power and wealth?
  • Do they use their wealth and power to achieve their policy objectives?
  • If the Fed can create and lend/loan/swap/give away over $16 Trillion dollars after the 2008 crisis, is it possible that some of that $16 Trillion was used to influence the gold market?
  • Did Greenspan, when he was Chairman of the Federal Reserve, make a statement in 1998 that central banks were ready to lease gold if the price of gold rose? Link is here.
  • If central banks lease gold to bullion banks and those banks SELL that gold into the market, would that have any influence on price?
  • Are central banks allowed to claim leased gold, which they no longer physically possess, as an asset on their balance sheet? (Lease it into the market but still claim they have it – this works until they run out of gold or the physical gold is audited.)

Yes, central banks and governments have the MEANS to suppress the price of gold.

OPPORTUNITY: As long as:

  • Governments spend more than their revenues
  • Central banks and governments control their gold in secrecy
  • Physical gold is not audited (last real audit of the USA gold was about 60 years ago)
  • Gold can be leased out while being listed as owned,

then there is opportunity.

Further, if a few billion dollars can be created and then used by a futures trader, and that trader sells (naked shorts) a large number of gold contracts on the futures exchange, that will drive the gold price down rapidly. Look at the chart of gold prices for April 11 – April 16 and ask yourself if that looks like a managed market.

Yes, central banks and governments have the OPPORTUNITY to suppress the price of gold.

But there is more to the story!

Central banks and governments have, to one degree or another, the motive, means, and opportunity to manage the price of gold. Clearly, their bias is to hold the price of gold low and to restrict its upward movement. Similarly, they want bond and stock markets to move higher, but that is another story.

YOU have motive, means, and opportunity to protect yourself and to profit from this process.

You know that unbacked paper currencies are declining in purchasing power. The path is erratic but clearly lower over the last four decades. You want to protect your purchasing power – you have a MOTIVE to own gold instead of owning devaluing currencies that pay next to nothing in interest.

You probably have paper dollars that are “invested” in stocks, bonds, IRAs, and other savings. You have the MEANS to protect yourself. Sell some paper and buy gold. The Chinese and Russians are doing it as rapidly as they can. What do they see that you might not fully understand?

You have the OPPORTUNITY to buy gold and silver at a huge discount to their real value – just my opinion – but both are “on sale” at current prices. (Gold is currently priced about the same as in late 2010.) “But can’t they go lower?” Yes, of course, gold could drop to $1,000, the Middle East could be transformed into a region of tranquility, peace, and cooperative people, and the US Congress could balance the budget. But as long as governments and central banks are “pushing paper,” digitally printing unbacked currencies, and overspending their revenues, the price of gold will increase – just my opinion – to much higher than it is today.

Gold and silver are in long-term bull markets. One of the objects of a bull market is to arrive at the peak with very few long-term participants. The “bull” wants to buck you off periodically. It usually happens. Basic human nature – fear and greed – makes it difficult to ride the bull most of the way up and exit at the proper time. Fortunately for gold and silver bulls, there are many more years of deficit spending and increasing debt that will push metals prices much higher.

Read from the DI: Why Buy Gold?

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

The Bull Market In Gold Is Dead

Gold coinsApril was a brutal month for precious metal investors.  Gold ended the month down almost 8% and silver prices tumbled almost 13%.   The sell off continued in May with gold down another $60 per ounce to $1,412 and silver down $1.55 to $22.87 per ounce at mid month.

With investors already nervous, two mainstream news organizations today did the equivalent of yelling fire in a theater crowded with gold and silver investors.

Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal published extremely bearish articles on gold which essentially proclaimed the death of the gold bull market.

“Gold is going to get crushed”

Gold will trade at $1,100 an ounce in a year and below $1,000 in five years, according to Ric Deverell, head of commodities research at the bank. Lower prices are unlikely to lure more central-bank buying, said Deverell, who worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia for 10 years before joining Credit Suisse in 2010.

“Gold is going to get crushed,” Deverell told reporters in London today. “The need to buy gold for wealth preservation fell down and the probability of inflation on a one- to three-year horizon is significantly diminished.”

Investors are losing faith in the world’s traditional store of value even as central banks continue to print money on an unprecedented scale. Bullion slumped into the bear market last month after a 12-year bull market that saw prices rise as much as sevenfold. Gold is a “wounded bull,” Credit Suisse said in a Jan. 3 report.

“When gold is going up, it looks like a great idea to buy more gold,” Deverell said. “And when it’s going down, do you really think risk-averse central bankers are going to try and catch the knife? No.”

A surge in demand for bars, coins and jewelry following gold’s drop to a two-year low in April is temporary, Deverell said. The U.S. Mint said April 23 it ran out of its smallest gold coins and Australia’s Perth Mint said volumes jumped to a five-year high. India’s bullion imports may surge 47 percent to 225 tons in the second quarter to meet consumer buying, according to the All India Gems & Jewelery Trade Federation.

“This is bargain-buying,” Deverell said. “It’s like when you have cash for clunkers in autos, you bring forward activity, but it’s not a massive addition to buying.’

Courtesy: kitco.com

Courtesy: kitco.com

“The bears are mauling gold”

The metal fell for a sixth consecutive trading session on Thursday, as investors continue to flee toward assets that promise higher returns.

The characteristics beloved of “gold bugs,” the sizable army of large and small investors who swear by the metal, are precisely what bears are feasting on. Unlike most other assets, gold doesn’t offer a steady return, or yield, and it is often seen as protection against inflation or currency devaluations.

At present, however, global economic growth is sluggish, interest rates in many developed countries are at or near record lows, and investors of all stripes are scrambling to find higher-yielding assets.

“There’s basically no inflation, equities are taking off, and we’ve got a strong dollar,” said Fain Shaffer, president of Infinity Trading Corp. in Medford, Ore. “All of those are just eroding away the investment value of precious metals.” Mr. Shaffer this week recommended his clients bet on lower gold prices.

On Thursday, bears seized on a World Gold Council report showing that total demand for gold fell 13% in the first quarter, to a three-year low of 963 tons in the period.

Other investors are taking the opposite view. John Workman, chief investment strategist with Convergent Wealth Advisors, said the firm late last year recommended that clients trim their gold holdings by about 25%. He cited gold prices that have stagnated despite more stimulus from the Federal Reserve in the form of asset purchases, the same money printing that galvanized gold bugs after the financial crisis. Falling prices were a signal that many investors just weren’t concerned anymore that the stimulus measures would stoke inflation and weaken the dollar.

To sum things up –

  • it no longer matters that central banks everywhere are printing money on an unimaginable scale,
  • the world economy is doing fine and will continue to improve,
  • gold, used as a currency and safe haven for 5,000 years, is inferior to fiat paper currency,
  • returns are better in stocks and bonds,
  • monetary stimulus via central bank asset purchases will propel the world into sustained economic growth,
  • there is no inflation and
  • investors want assets with yields.

Price fluctuations may not make much sense in the short term, but long term precious metal investors know where things are headed – see Why I Will Always Own Gold.

Gold Demand Drops By 13% In First Quarter Due to ETF Outflows

tenth oz gold-eaglesLarge scale liquidation of gold backed exchange-traded products (ETP) sent gold prices into a tailspin during April.  Billionaire investor George Soros, who had sold 55% of his holdings in the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) during the last quarter of 2012, further reduced his gold positions during the first quarter.  Soros is a legendary trader and investor who has made billions moving ahead of the crowd.

In an interview published by the South China Morning Post on April 8, Soros said that gold was no longer a safe haven after the metal failed to rally last year despite fears of a euro collapse.  Shortly after Soros made his comments, other investors  began to sell and within days gold had tumbled by $200 per ounce.  Northern Trust Corp and BlackRock Inc also made large cuts in their holdings of ETPs, while John Paulson lost about $165 million by maintaining his stake in the GLD.

According to Bloomberg, assets held by ETPs declined in value by $42 billion as gold prices tumbled.

Global ETP holdings have tumbled 16 percent in 2013 after rising every year since the first product was listed in 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Assets in SPDR have plunged 22 percent, and they will probably drop by an additional 2 million to 4 million ounces after slumping 9.7 million ounces since mid-December, Deutsche Bank AG said in a report on May 14.

Further Drop

While the selloff has been faster than expected, a further drop in ETP holdings will probably mean more price declines, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Jeffrey Currie wrote in a report dated May 14.

Northern Trust cut its SPDR stake by 57 percent to 6.9 million shares, according to a filing dated May 1. The asset-management company, as a custodian, holds assets without discretion over how they are invested, Doug Holt, the head of global corporate communications, said yesterday in an e-mail.

“We made one change to our global tactical asset allocation policy this month: eliminating our tactical position in gold,” Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist in Chicago at Northern Trust, which oversees about $810 billion, said in a report on March 13.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, trimmed its holdings by half to 4.1 million shares, a filing dated April 12 showed. On May 9, Robert Kapito, president of the New York-based company, said that he would still buy the metal.

The large scale liquidation of gold exchange traded funds was confirmed today in the latest quarterly demand and supply statistics published by the World Gold Council.  Overall gold demand for the first quarter declined by a considerable 13% with outflows from gold ETFs accounting for the bulk of the decline.  During the first quarter there were outflows of 177 tonnes from global gold ETF holdings.

The sale by large speculators of the gold ETPs seem to be the trigger that set off last month’s decline in gold prices.  The drop in gold could turn out to be a temporary factor as other buyers eagerly absorb supply by adding to their gold holdings at lower prices.

Aside from the sale of gold by holders of exchange traded products, demand for gold in the first quarter remained robust.  The World Gold Council noted that almost every other category of gold demand increased even as supplies are being constrained by lower mine output.

  • Mine production of 1,052 tonnes during the first quarter showed no growth and supply from scrap gold declined due to the drop in gold prices.
  • Jewelry demand surpassed the previous quarter and hit a new record with sales of $28.9 billion.
  • Demand from India and China, who collectively consume 62% of global gold jewelry sales, increased by 15% and 19% respectively.
  • Physical bar and coin demand during the first quarter increased by 8% and 18% respectively.  Demand for gold bar and coins in China exploded to 110 tonnes, double the average of the last five year quarterly sales.
  • Central banks added 109 tonnes of gold to their reserves in the first quarter, accounting for 11% of total gold demand.  Central banks have increased their purchases of gold for nine consecutive quarters.

Wholesale liquidation of gold positions by very large and wealthy speculators adversely impacted gold prices this year.  As gold demand from virtually every other sector continues to grow, the increased gold outflows from ETFs will eventually be absorbed.  In addition, as central banks continue to print money on an unprecedented scale, it would not be surprising to see large investors once again pour money into the gold ETFs.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Soar In April

geThe exploding demand for physical gold and silver has become a worldwide phenomenon.  Shortly after the price plunge of early April buyers rushed in to take advantage of bargain prices.  Dealers and mints worldwide have reported off the charts demand for physical gold and silver.

Intense demand across Asia has resulted in shortages of gold and silver in both India and China as dealers struggle to keep up.  Singapore’s largest supplier of coins and bars reports depleted stocks of silver and long delivery delays.

The surge in physical demand is also rapidly depleting U.S. gold inventories according to Reuters.

Physical gold held at CME Group’s Comex warehouses in New York have dropped to a near-five year low in a further sign that gold’s price crash unleashed a frenzy of demand as investors scramble to buy bars and coins.

U.S. gold stocks, comprised of 100-troy ounce COMEX gold bars, have fallen almost 30 percent since February, as dealers have switched to selling into the burgeoning Asian market, where prices and demand are higher than in New York.

But the pace of the outflows from vaults has accelerated since bullion’s historic sell-off, falling more than 7 percent last week for its biggest weekly drop since 2005.

The latest sales figures from the U.S. Mint for April are further confirmation of  the voracious demand for physical gold and silver.  Sales of both the America Eagle gold and silver bullion coins skyrocketed in April.

According to the US Mint, sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin totaled 209,500 ounces in April, up a stunning 948% from the previous year and up 22% from the previous month.  The gold bullion coins had the largest amount of sales since December 2009 when 231,500 ounces were sold.

Gold and silver bullion coin sales have soared since the financial crash of 2008 and the subsequent repetitive use of the print button by the world’s central banks.  In order to get a perspective on the flight to precious metals, consider that over the entire year of 2007, the US Mint sold a total of only 198,500 ounces of gold bullion coins – less than montly sales during April 2013.

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins were also very strong.  During April 2013, the US Mint sold 4,087,000 silver bullion coins, up 169% over April of last year and up 22% from the previous month’s sales.  The US Mint has struggled to keep up with demand even before the April surge.  Sales of the American silver eagles was recently suspended twice and in late April the US Mint suspended sales of the one-tenth ounce American eagle gold bullion coin due to inventory depletion.

Based on sales to date, it would not be surprising to see an all time record high amount of the American Eagle silver bullion coins sold in 2013.

 

Worldwide Buying Frenzy of Gold and Silver Continues

Liberty EagleDon’t precious metal investors read newspapers?  Despite proclamations from the mainstream press that the bull market in gold and silver is over, a buying frenzy in precious metals is occurring worldwide.  The gold rush mentality to buy gold and silver at bargain prices has resulted in stock out conditions for many retail sellers of precious metals, including the U.S. Mint.

Intense gold demand in India has lead to shortages as Gold Buyers Throng Indian Stores for Second Week on Rally.

Gold consumers in India, the world’s biggest importer, thronged jewelry stores across the country for a second week on speculation that bullion may extend a rally after the biggest plunge in three decades.

“We waited for sometime to see if prices will fall more but when we saw them moving up again, we decided it’s time,” said Sripal Jain, a 77-year-old silver dealer who came with his younger brother, daughter and daughter-in-law to buy gold necklaces at Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar. “We don’t have any wedding or occasion coming up. The rates fell, so we decided to buy.”

Bullion slumped 14 percent in two days, reaching the lowest price in two years on April 16, triggering a frenzy among coin and jewelry buyers from the U.S. to India, China and Australia. The surge in demand has helped prices rally 11 percent since April 16, and jewelers in India are paying premiums of as much as $10 an ounce to secure supplies, according to the Bombay Bullion Association.

Gold will rally to $1,800 an ounce by December as skepticism over the global recovery increases demand, billionaire Indian jeweler T.S. Kalyanaraman said on April 19.

The rush to buy has led to a shortage in India and jewelers are paying premium of as much as $10 an ounce compared with $2 just 10 days earlier, said Bipin Jain, owner of Vimalson Jewellers and a vice president of the bullion association.

The Perth Mint reports that while the media is talking about the bear market in gold, bullion buying has soared as bargain hunters move in.  As gold and silver prices corrected, Perth Mint buyers viewed the situation as a perfect buying opportunity and stepped up their purchases of gold and silver.  Activity on the Perth Mint website was so intense, that some buyers experienced long delays.

As the central bank of Japan continues its unprecedented experiment in massive monetary expansion, the Japanese Seek Refuge in Bullion as Yen Slumps, Inflation Looms.

Japanese consumers are poised to become net buyers of gold for the first time in eight years as the yen’s decline and looming inflation drive them to seek refuge in bullion, according to Standard Bank Plc.

Net sales of gold bars and coins by Japanese individuals shrank to 10.1 metric tons in 2012, the smallest amount since 2005, data from the World Gold Council show. A surge in purchases this month and the chance to buy after bullion slumped into a bear market foreshadow a turnaround in 2013, said Bruce Ikemizu, Standard Bank’s head of commodities trading in Tokyo.

The currency has depreciated 13 percent against the dollar this year and is trading near a four-year low after the central bank’s pursuit of unprecedented monetary easing to end deflation was unopposed by Group of 20 nations. Inflation may rise above 1 percent in the 12 months starting April 2014 and approach a 2 percent target as early as that year, Bank of Japan (8301) policy board member Ryuzo Miyao said April 18.

“The time has come for Japanese to buy gold with the government trying to engineer inflation,” Ikemizu, who has traded commodities for almost three decades, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. “Retail investors are turning from sellers to buyers of bullion.”

In India and China, the biggest gold-consuming nations, shoppers last week lined up in bazaars from Mumbai to Shanghai to buy the metal for brides, babies and strongboxes after prices fell. Indian consumers bought a net 312.2 tons of gold bars and coins in 2012, while purchases by individuals in China reached 265.5 tons, according to the World Gold Council.

The long term rationale for owning gold and silver remains intact.  The reasons for the recent smash-down in gold and silver may never be known but it has provided a gift opportunity to increase positions in gold and silver.

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.

 

Explosive Gold Rally Is Imminent Based On Bearish Sentiment and Fundamentals

You know the world is changing when the head of the world’s biggest bond fund recommends gold as his first asset choice.

In this week’s Barron’s Roundtable, Bond King Bill Gross affirms his bullish view on gold due to his assessment that central banks will continue to suppress interest rates by purchasing vast amounts of government debt with printed money.  Gross notes that the financial system is now longer operating under free-market capitalism when the Fed is buying a “remarkable” 80% of debt issued by the U.S. Treasury.  Massive deficits are being funded with printed currency on a global scale never attempted in the past and sooner or later, according to Bill Gross, inflation will blow past the central bank’s targeted rate of 2.5%.

The really big risk comes when huge holders of U.S. debt such as China and Japan become disgusted with U.S. fiscal and monetary policies and decide to dump their treasuries as inflation decimates the value of their holdings.  Bill Gross tells Barron’s exactly what could go wrong and which gold investment he likes the best.

The big risk is that the Chinese would rather own something else. Investors can choose between artificially priced financial assets or real assets like oil and gold or, to be really safe, cash. The real risk to the financial markets is the marginal proclivity of investors to put their money in real assets, or under the mattress. Thus, my first recommendation is GLD — the SPDR Gold Trust exchange-traded fund. It has a fee, but it is an easy way for investors to buy a real asset.

Lots of things go into pricing gold, but real interest rates [adjusted for inflation] and expected inflation are two dominant considerations. Gold probably won’t move much from current levels unless real rates decline more or inflationary expectations rise from the current 2.5% to 3%, or higher. That’s what gets gold off the dime. It is a decent hedge. It doesn’t earn anything, but not much else earns anything either.

Pounding the table even harder than Gross, Fred Hickey, editor of the High-Tech Strategist, tells Barron’s that an explosive rally in gold seems imminent based on the massive bearish sentiment towards gold.  Long term, Hickey sees gold hitting at least $5,000 per ounce, a target that Gold and Silver Blog also sees as a very reasonable future price target.

Hickey: I am recommending gold, as I have done for many years. I will continue to do so until the gold price hits the blow-off stage, which is nowhere in sight. I am excited about gold because sentiment is so negative. Gold could have a sharp rally at any time. The Hulbert Gold Newsletter Sentiment Index went deeply negative last week, indicating that gold-newsletter writers are recommending net short positions. When that happens, gold almost always rallies. The daily sentiment index for gold is at a 12-year low. Short positions by large speculators have doubled in the past few months. Sales of American Eagle coins hit a five-year low in 2012. Yet, the environment for gold couldn’t be better. We talked today about massive money-printing by all the major central banks. Real interest rates are negative. These are the best possible conditions for a gold rally.

Felix said gold could rally to the $1,800-an-ounce level, and I agree. If it breaks that, it will go to $2,000 or more. As long as we have unlimited quantitative easing, we have the potential for unlimited gains in the gold price. Gold could go to $5,000 or even $10,000. You can buy gold through the GLD or IAU, as we discussed. This year I recommend physical gold. You can buy American Eagle coins, or gold bars. Everyone should have some physical gold, and almost no one in the U.S. does.

Hickey also says that the price of gold is nowhere near a “blow off stage”, despite constant mainstream press reports of gold’s imminent collapse.  For further discussion on this see The Gold Bubble Myth and Why There Is No Upside Limit For Gold and Silver Prices.

American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin Sales Soar In January To Multi-Year High

Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin soared during the first month of the year.  According to the US Mint, gold bullion coin sales totaled 150,000 ounces, up 97.4% from December 2012 when 76,000 ounces were sold.  Sales for the month were up 18.1% from comparable sales of 127,000 ounces a year ago during January 2012.

There has been a surge in demand for both gold and silver bullion coins during the first month of 2013.  Sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins hit an all time record high during January as public demand for physical silver soared.  The U.S. Mint has been forced to suspend sales of the silver bullion coins twice since last December since their entire stock was sold out.  In addition, opening day sales for the 2013 American Silver Eagle bullion coins were the largest on record with total sales of 3,937,000 coins.  To put this huge sales figure into perspective, prior to 2008, total annual sales of the silver bullion coins was only about 9.5 million coins.

January sales of 150,000  ounces of American Eagle gold bullion coins was the sixth largest on record and represents a multi-year high in sales since July 2010 when 152,000 ounces were sold.  The previous record months were June 2010 with 151,500 ounces, December 2009 with 231,500 ounces, April 2009 with 157,500 ounces and December 2008 with 176,000 ounces.

The gold bullion coins are available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce.  The total number of coins sold during January 2013 was 275,500 as shown below.

JAN 2013 GOLD BULLION SALES
OUNCES # COINS
ONE 124,500 124,500
HALF 8,500 17,000
QUARTER 6,000 24,000
TENTH 11,000 110,000
150,000 275,500

The American Eagle gold bullion coins are not sold directly to the public but rather to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based upon the market value of gold and a Mint markup.  The authorized purchasers then resell the coins to the public, coin dealers and other bullion dealers.  The U.S. Mint utilizes this distribution channel in order to make the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs and premiums in line with other bullion programs.

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Drop For Fourth Straight Year, 2013 Sales Off To Strong Start

According to the latest U.S. Mint report, sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins for December 2012 totaled 76,000 ounces, up 16% from December 2011 when 65,500 ounces were sold.  Sales for the month were down 44.3% from November sales which totaled 136,500 ounces.

Sales of the gold bullion coins can vary dramatically from month to month.  The highest sales month was November with sales of 136,500 ounces and the lowest sales month was April when only 20,000 ounces were sold.  Average monthly sales of the gold bullion coins for 2012 was 62,750 ounces with total sales for the year coming in at 753,000.   The gold bullion coins are available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce.

Sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins have now declined for four straight years in a row.  The all time record sales year was 2009 when the U.S. Mint sold 1,435,000 ounces.   The value of the gold bullion coins purchased since 2000 totals almost $13.5 billion.

The U.S. Mint only sells the gold bullion coins to a network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on a markup and the market gold value.  The primary distributors who buy the coins then resell them to other bullion dealers, coin dealers and the public.  By using this type of distribution channel, the U.S. Mint believes that the coins can be made widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs and at premiums in line with other bullion programs.

The 2013 American Gold Eagle bullion coins were first available to authorized purchasers on January 2, 2013.  Demand for the newest gold bullion coins was very strong with 50,000 ounces sold on the first day.  For the entire month of January 2012, a total of 127,000 ounces of the coins were sold.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Sales Oz.
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
2012 753,000
Total 8,002,500

After a volatile year, gold ended with a strong note for 2012, up by 7.1% and rising for the 12th year in a row as global central banks ramped up the printing presses in an attempt to “stimulate” the world economy.  In his annual “10 Surprises ” list for 2013, Byron Wien, Chairman of Blackstone Group’s advisory unit predicted that gold would reach $1,900 as “central bankers everywhere continue to debase their currencies and the financial markets prove treacherous.”  Based on the way things are going and the speed at which central banks are joining the money printing race, Mr. Wien’s forecast is likely to prove extremely conservative.