October 2, 2022

Gold Demand In Asia Remains Insatiable

As gold demand in Asia soars, vault companies are racing to keep up with storage demand.  In July, Gold and Silver Blog reported on a massive new gold vault being constructed in Hong Kong by Malca-Amit due to unrelenting physical demand for gold in Asia.  The new vault was designed to hold 1,000 metric tonnes of gold and as of July, had already taken in 2,400 tonnes of gold owned by gold exchange traded funds.

It turns out that Malca-Admit should have built a much larger vault.  As demand for physical gold continues to increase, other companies have joined the race to provide secure depositories for wealthy investors.  The Wall Street Journal reports that demand for high-security vault capacity in Asia is soaring in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Brink’s Co., for example, has increased its storage space for precious metals in Singapore more than threefold over the past year, to 200 square meters, and is building a bonded warehouse in Shanghai to store high-value consumer goods and precious metals.

“We are growing, and driving that growth is the storage of precious metals and also bank notes,” said Jos van Wegen, the company’s senior manager of global services in Singapore.

Comprehensive data on the volume of high-security storage capacity in the region isn’t available. But demand for gold is clearly rising.

China’s gold demand in the third quarter of this year was 176.8 tons—16% of global demand and up 47.1% from the same period three years ago, according to the World Gold Council. Hong Kong’s demand totaled 6.9 tons in the third quarter this year, up 56.8% from the third quarter of 2009.

Singapore imported 36.7 tons of gold in the first 10 months of this year, well down from 62 tons in the full year 2011. The government’s announcement in February that, in a bid to become a gold-trading hub, it would scrap a 7% goods and services tax on gold, silver and platinum hurt imports for much of the year. Fourth-quarter gold-import figures for Singapore are expected to be stronger, World Gold Council executives say.

While physical gold requires storage space, it does offer a lot of value in a relatively small package. At around $1,690 a troy ounce, a metric ton of gold is valued at $54.3 million, but would take up only slightly more space than a standard case of 12 wine bottles—though most gold is stored in ingots.

Malca-Amit, a company that stores and transports diamonds and precious metals, has lockups in Hong Kong and Singapore, and is preparing to open one in Shanghai in the first quarter next year. The Shanghai vault will also hold art and luxury goods such as high-value mobile phones and designer handbags.

Malca-Amit’s Singapore vault, capable of holding 600 tons of gold, is almost full, and the company is seeking more space. The amount of gold stored there has increased 200% from a year ago, it says.

Its recently opened Hong Kong vault can hold 1,000 tons of gold, which would be worth more than $54 billion. It is almost large enough to hold the official reserves of China, which total 1,054 tons, according to World Gold Council data.

Malca-Amit has gold-storage sites in New York and Zurich, but the focus of its expansion is firmly on Asia, executive director Joshua Rotbart said. Some Asian investors who are storing their gold in the U.S. and Europe are keen to move it closer to home as more storage space becomes available, he said.

The recent price weakness in gold is apparently viewed as a buying opportunity by sophisticated Asian investors seeking to protect their wealth from the torrential flood of printed money being produced on a global basis by central banks (see Central Banks Pledge Unlimited Money Printing).

On a recent visit to the Chinatown section of Bangkok, I witnessed first hand large crowds of customers in Chinatown’s numerous retail gold stores.  Gold has never defaulted on its promise as a means of wealth preservation, something clearly understood by the citizens of a country whose history goes back thousands of years.

Customers at Bangkok retail gold store

Chinese Gold

Chinese Gold

Gold Has Outperformed Stocks By 300% Over The Past Decade

By Axel Merk

Superior Performance of Gold

Over recent years, gold has performed remarkably well relative to other asset classes, in terms of both absolute performance and risk-adjusted performance. Over the preceding 10 years, an investment in gold would have significantly outperformed a corresponding investment in the S&P 500 Index or U.S. bonds, not to mention international and emerging market equities. Over the past 10 years, gold outperformed U.S. equities by over three times:

Courtesy: merkinvestments.com

Gold Shines even when Under-performing

Note that even during time periods when gold underperforms other asset classes, as it did during the 20-year time period analyzed above, the addition of a gold component improves the overall risk-adjusted return profile of a risky portfolio. We consider this to be largely driven by the low levels of correlation between the two assets and thus the positive impact it has on the volatility profile of the hypothetical portfolio above. For example, we find that a portfolio comprised 50% gold and 50% the S&P 500 would have exhibited an annualized standard deviation of returns of 12.7% over the 20-year period ended September 30, 2012.  This is a significant reduction to the annualized standard deviation of returns exhibited by a portfolio comprised 100% the S&P 500, which was 19.2% over the same time frame.

Read the full article here.

Gold Becomes The Ultimate Store Of Value As Central Bankers Create Unlimited Fiat Money

By Vin Maru

Lately we have seen many articles about China and many other central banks continuing to buy and increase their holdings of gold as part of their effort to continue diversifying out of foreign paper currencies. Who can blame them? Would you want to hold paper promises to pay off financial obligations from countries that are essentially bankrupt as a part of your currency reserve? China is doing what is the right thing and in the best interest of China, buying more gold to hold as a part of your reserves in order to make your currency more marketable. They want to make the yuan a competing currency to the other major currencies around the world and they will succeed and owning gold is part of their strategy.

There is some speculation that China is increasing its gold holding to make the yuan a gold-backed currency in an effort to make it a world currency reserve. While it is an interesting concept, it will most likely never happen. In order to back a currency, their gold holdings must increase or decrease alongside the increase or decrease in the number of currency units in the system. A gold backed currency would entail having a fixed rate of convertibility for each ounce of gold to a specific number currency units issued by that country. There is probably no country in the world that will honour convertibility on a fixed basis, it would be financial suicide and is part of the reason why Nixon closed the gold window. Also having a gold backed currency would mean the country would be continually increasing gold purchases to match the inflation of currency units issued. Tracking the amount of gold that is backing currency would also be next to impossible since there is a complete lack of transparency around the amount of currency units being issued by central banks and the amount of gold held by them. Currently currencies can be converted to gold on a floating basis at market price, but going to a gold backed currency would likely never happen.

China is making its currency more readily available for trade, thus bypassing the US dollar and making its currency the payment of choice for its export. Currently the yuan is fixed to the US dollar, but over time it will most likely have to adopt a floating currency like the rest of the world. Until then, expect China to continue adding to its gold reserve in an effort to make the yuan a competing currency for international trade. The US will lose its reserve currency status over time (most likely some time this decade) but it most likely will never go away completely and the yuan will not take over completely. We will most likely just have bi-lateral trade agreements with several national currencies being used for payments. The yuan is just the new kid on the block but there is still the Euro, British pound, Japanese yen, the US$ and probably the IMFs SDR that will also be used. Even the Canadian dollar has been strengthening lately, as the IMF said it’s considering classifying the Canuck buck and the Australian dollar as reserves currencies.

While gold may not be convertible at a fixed rate any time soon, VTB Group is Russia’s first lender to sell perpetual bonds and debt linked to the country’s benchmark equity index and is now selling the nation’s debut notes tied to the price of gold (see Bloomberg article). VTB is offering 1 billion rubles ($32 million) of securities that will be redeemed in December 2013 that will pay a rate on returns based on the gold price up to a limit of 20 percent. Being a pioneer in the Russian market, VTB is the 2nd largest bank and will provide pension funds an alternative to invest in gold without the limits placed on commodity holding by regulators. The article even talks about how even Western financial institutions such as JP Morgan, Barclays, and Credit Suisse are issuing notes tied to gold this month. This is just another example of how gold is becoming an important financial asset. The need to diversify and protect wealth becomes more apparent in an era of currency wars which will destroy the value of fiat money. Financial institutions realize that central banks will continue down the path of printing money, inflation and currency devaluation, there is no other choice. They see the writing on the wall and are now capitalizing on a new markets by providing financial assets tied to the price of gold price.

All these currencies will continue to inflate and I doubt the bankers will allow gold to become a competing currency for everyday transactions. However its role as a store of value will continue to appreciate as long as fiat money continues to exits. So we should be happy that government and central bankers will continue to use and expand fiat currency, it makes their currency worth less and gold will continue to benefit in the long run.

What we are seeing now, with short term fluctuations in the price of gold is just market noise and short term trading opportunities created by the gold market high frequency traders and bullion banks. This will come to pass as the price of gold gets smoothed out and then slowly advances higher with a two steps forward one step back dance along a rising trend. All this talk about gold by mainstream media is just market noise to try and explain very short term movements in price. They have very little understanding of gold and the role it will play in the future as a store of value. Being the good slaves and puppets for the central bankers, MSM is only good at misdirecting the public and they are paid very well for doing so. Once gold finishes this consolidation, the price should continue to advance to all time highs in 2013 and 2014 with a possibility of doubling from the current price to reach a minimum target of $3500 in the next few years.

If you enjoyed reading this article and are interested in protecting your wealth with precious metals, you can receive our free blog by visiting TDV Golden Trader. Also learn how you can purchase and protect your gold holdings by getting a copy of our special report Getting Your Gold out of Dodge or protecting the stock investments you currently own with Bullet Proof Shares.

Regards,

Gold Ready For Explosive Rally Based On Sentiment, Seasonal Factors and Fed Money Printing

Gold has had a volatile year.  From January’s opening price of $1,598, gold quickly moved up by $183 per ounce by the end of February.  An ensuing correction that lasted into July brought the price of gold down by $225 per ounce to $1,556 in mid July, the low of the year.  In August gold started to rally, closing yesterday at $1716.25 per ounce, up $118.25 or 7.4% on the year.

Gold now appears ready to mount an explosive rally that could easily push prices past $2,000 based on sentiment, seasonal factors and rampant money printing by the Federal Reserve.

Gold Traders Bullish

According to Bloomberg, gold traders are the “most bullish in 10 weeks…the highest level since August 24.  Gold rallied strongly from August 24th, adding $124 per ounce by October 4th.

Gold traders are the most bullish in 10 weeks and investors are hoarding a record amount of bullion as central banks pledge to do more to spur economic growth.

Eighteen of 27 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to rise next week and five were bearish. A further four were neutral, making the proportion of bulls the highest since Aug. 24. Holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded products gained the past three months, the best run since August 2011, data compiled by Bloomberg show. They reached a record 2,588.4 metric tons yesterday, the data show.

The Bank of Japan (8301) expanded its asset-purchase program on Oct. 30 for the second time in two months, increasing it by 11 trillion yen ($137 billion). The Federal Reserve said last week it plans to continue buying bonds and central banks from Europe to China have pledged more action to boost economies. Gold rose 70 percent as the Fed bought $2.3 trillion of debt in two rounds of quantitative easing from December 2008 through June 2011.

“Central banks are all very concerned about a depression, so they’re keeping monetary policies as loose as possible,” said Mark O’Byrne, the executive director of Dublin-based GoldCore Ltd., a brokerage that sells and stores everything from quarter-ounce British Sovereigns to 400-ounce bars. “People are buying gold as a store of value to protect against currency depreciation.”

Seasonal Factors

Gold has a pronounced seasonal tendency to rally strongly in the last quarter of the year.  The chart below from GoldCore shows the seasonal strength of gold over the past 30 years.

Courtesy goldcore.com

Rampant Money Printing By The Federal Reserve

Central Banks worldwide have gone on a money printing rampage to save governments that are unable to control spending or raise sufficient tax revenues.  David Einhorn, President of Greenlight Capital, who has a brilliant investment track record, is rampantly bullish on gold and raises the question of what type of truly desperate measures central banks will take if the world economy enters another recession or suffers an exogenous shock.

“It seems as if nothing will stop the money printing, and Chairman Bernanke in fact assures us that it will continue even after the economic recovery strengthens.  Even after the economy starts to recover more quickly, even after the unemployment rate begins to move down more decisively, we’re not going to rush to begin to tighten policy.  Apparently, anything less than a $40 billion per month subscription order for MBS is now considered ‘tightening’.  He’s letting us know that what once looked like a purchasing spree of unimaginable proportions is now just the monthly budget.”

“If Chairman Bernanke is setting distant and hard-to-achieve benchmarks for when he would reverse course, it is possibly because he understands that it may never come to that.  Sooner or later, we will enter another recession.  It could come from normal cyclicality, or it could come from an exogenous shock.  Either way, when it comes,  it is very likely we will enter it prior to the Fed having ‘normalized’ monetary policy, and we’ll have a large fiscal deficit to boot.  What tools will the Fed and the Congress have at that point? If the Fed is willing to deploy this new set of desperate measures in these frustrating, but non-desperate times, what will it do then?  We don’t know, but a large allocation to gold still seems like a very good idea.”

Big Money Is Bullish On Gold

Big money managers are bullish on gold according to the pros interviewed in Barron’s latest fall survey.  A resounding 69% of big money managers are bullish on gold and 22% forecast that precious metals will be the best performing asset class over the next six to twelve months.

Courtesy Barron’s

The big money is bearish on Federal Reserve strategy with over 60% of poll respondents disapproving of the Fed’s current interest rate policy.  Reinforcing their low opinion of Fed strategy, an overwhelming 78% of the pros believe that additional Fed easing policies will be counter productive.  Summing up the general opinion on Ben Bernanke’s money printing schemes, one money pro said “The Fed is well past the point of interest-rate policy having any meaningful impact on the economy.  Bernanke & Co. now risk damage to both the dollar and the Fed’s own balance sheet.  This is the biggest misallocation of capital in the history of mankind.”

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming consensus (89%) of the big money pros think that treasuries are severely overvalued.  Although the pros don’t see interest rates rising significantly in the next six months, Barron’s notes that even a small increase in interest rates would result in losses to bondholders.  The Fed has manipulated interest rates to such a low level, that few money pros see any value in treasuries.  One money pro noted that without massive security purchases by the Fed, the 10 year bond would currently yield 5%, representing a real yield of 2% plus 3% for inflation.   Absent Fed efforts to suppress free market yields on treasuries, bondholders would be faced with shocking losses as interest rates rose.

The big money bearish sentiment on Bernanke and bullish forecast for gold tells us that the pros don’t expect implementation of sound monetary policy by the Fed any time soon.

Global Gold Production Set For Major Decline As South African Mines Close

Global gold production could drop sharply as South African miners plan to dismiss thousands of workers for illegally striking.  South African precious metal miners have been beset by labor unrest for months as workers protest low wages and dangerous working conditions.  The latest disruption came Wednesday as South Africa’s largest gold miner announced plans to dismiss about 12,000 workers.

South Africa’s biggest gold miner by output, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., said Wednesday it will begin a process to dismiss about 12,000 workers, following in the footsteps of other mining companies desperate to end crippling strikes.

If AngloGold follows through on its threat, it means more than 35,000 mining workers at several companies have been dismissed for illegally striking in recent weeks. The mass firings have prompted criticism from unions and the government, but so far have not provoked a repeat of the violence that sparked national labor unrest in South Africa in August.

Several major South African gold and platinum producers are struggling to end weeks of wildcat strikes that have halted thousands of ounces of gold and platinum production and caused billions of rand in lost revenue.

Gold production problems in South Africa run deeper than merely resolving a labor/management dispute over low wages.  The cost and effort to mine gold has grown exponentially as the easy to reach grades of gold ore have been depleted.  Miners have had to dig much deeper to reach low grades of ore with a corresponding increase in extraction costs.  South Africa, once the leading country in gold production has dropped to fifth place.

Courtesy wikipedia.com

In 2006, South Africa produced 272,128 kilograms of gold, but by 2011 output had plunged by 30% to only 190,000 kilograms.  With workers no longer willing to work for what amount to slave labor wages, along with declining ore reserves, gold output from South African mines will continue to decline dramatically.  SBG Securities analyst David Davis says “Almost all of the gold mines on strike are mature.  These mines were going to have to be restructured and downsized anyhow in the next 12 to 36 months.”

Further reductions in future global gold supply will continue based on the constantly increasing costs of mining lower grade ores and the lack of major new gold discoveries.  According to the US Geological Survey, gold production decreased in every year from 2001 to 2008, a remarkable statistic in light of the huge increase in gold prices during that period of time.  Gold sold for only around $300 per ounce in 2001 compared to today’s price of over $1,700 per ounce.

Over the past three years from 2009 to 2011, gold production increased as miners went all out to take advantage of surging gold prices.  According to the World Gold Council, mine production rose from 2,611 tonnes in 2009 to 2,822 tonnes in 2011.  The previous production peak for yearly gold production occurred in 2001 at 2,600 tonnes.  As the current situation in South Africa shows, much of the recent increase in gold production came as mining companies desperately worked old mines to depletion while paying workers as little as possible.   Those days are now over and South African gold production will continue to plummet.

Ironically, gold production soared from 1981 to 2000 as gold declined in price from $750 per ounce in 1981 to under $300 by the turn of the century.  Gold miners were forced to produce as much gold as possible to stay in business as revenues constantly declined due to the drop in the price of gold.

Absent major new discoveries of large gold deposits, gold mining production could decline substantially in future years.  Declining supplies, along with massive currency printing by central banks worldwide, will create the perfect storm for a continuation of the decade long bull market in gold.  Note to Ben Bernanke – no, you can’t print gold.

Would A Romney Victory Cause Gold To Collapse?

By Axel Merk & Yuan Fang

Monetary Cliff?

As the presidential election is rapidly approaching, little attention seems to be getting paid to the question that may affect voters the most: what will happen to the “easy money” policy? Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke’s current term will expire in January 2014 and Republican candidate Mitt Romney has vowed that if elected, he would replace Bernanke. Given the tremendous amount of money the Fed has “printed” and the commitment to keep interest rates low until mid-2015, the election may impact everything from mortgage costs to the cost of financing the U.S. debt. Trillions are at stake, as well as the fate of the U.S. dollar.

Should Obama be re-elected, Bernanke might continue to serve as Fed Chairman; other likely candidates include the Fed’s Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and Obama’s former economic advisor Christina Romer. With any of them, we expect the Fed policy to be continuingly dominated by the dovish camp, and moving – with varying enthusiasm depending on the pick of Fed Chair – towards a formal employment target, further diluting any inflation target. We are not only talking about Bernanke and the other two candidates’ individual policy stances (though all three are known as monetary “doves”, i.e. generally favoring more accommodative monetary policy), but also the composition of voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), as we will discuss below.

If Romney were to be elected, a front-runner for the Fed Chairman post is Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School and a top economic adviser to Romney. Hubbard has expressed his skepticism about the mechanism that Bernanke used to boost the economy. In our analysis, an FOMC led by Hubbard (or another Romney appointee) will be leaning toward mopping up the liquidity sooner. Extending forward guidance to mid-2015 will also be under question. It will no doubt add uncertainty to monetary policy and increase market volatility.

More importantly, however, a “hawkish” Fed Chair, i.e. one that favors monetary tightening, might put to the test Bernanke’s claim that he can raise rates in “15 minutes”. Technically, of course, the Fed can raise rates by paying interest on reserves held at the Fed or sell assets acquired during various rounds of quantitative easing. The challenge, no matter who the Fed Chair is going to be, is the impact any tightening might have on the economy. Bernanke has cautioned many times that rates should not be raised before the recovery is firmly “entrenched.” What he is referring to is that market forces may still warrant further de-leveraging. If the stimulus is removed too early, so Bernanke has argued, the economy might fall back into recession. A more hawkish Fed Chair, such as a Glenn Hubbard, may accept a recession as an acceptable cost to exit monetary largesse; however, because there is so much stimulus in the economy, just a little bit of tightening may well have an amplified effect in slowing down the economy. Keep in mind that European countries are complaining when their cost of borrowing rises to 4%, calling 7% unsustainable. Given that the U.S. budget deficit is higher than that of the Eurozone as a whole, and that our fiscal outlook is rather bleak, it remains to be seen just how much tightening the economy can bear. Our forecast is that with a Republican administration, we are likely to get a rather volatile interest rate environment, as any attempt to tighten may have to be reversed rather quickly. Fasten your seatbelts, as shockwaves may be expressed in the bond market and the “tranquility” investors have fled to by chasing U.S. bonds may well come to an end. Foreigners that have historically been large buyers of U.S. bonds may well reduce their appetite to finance U.S. debt, with potentially negative implications for the U.S. dollar.

Let’s dig a little deeper and look at who actually decides on interest rates: it is the voting members of the FOMC that ultimately make the imminent monetary policy decisions, rather than the noise creating pundits and non-voting members.

Three factors will further boost the dovish camp, which already dominates the FOMC committee:

    • Two previously vacant seats on the Fed’s Board of Governors were recently filled by Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell this May. Like other board governors, both Stein and Powell appear to be in favor of Bernanke’s dovish policy. Stein was a Harvard economics professor and used to be more ‘hawkish’ before he took office. But in his first keynote speech as a board governor on Oct. 11, Stein openly supported QE3 and called for continuing asset purchases in absence of a substantial improvement in the labor market. Jerome Powell was a lawyer and private equity investor as well as an undersecretary under George H.W. Bush. Powell has also expressed support for more easing, with inflation an afterthought. Their appointments not only fill all voting seats at the Fed for the first time since 2006, but also further increase the board’s dove-hawk ratio from 9-1 to 11-1. The influence will also carry on to the following years, as board governors hold non-rotating voting rights.
    • Additionally, four current voting members will be replaced next year, including Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker, who has dissented in every FOMC meeting this year. Regional Fed Presidents, unlike Governors, vote on a rotating basis. In 2013, Kansas Fed president Esther George is likely to be the only voting member who appears to hold a hawkish stance. George has expressed her opposition to QE3 and the Fed’s balance sheet expansion, echoing her predecessor Thomas Hoenig’s hawkish tone. But given that she is not a Ph.D. economist, her passion and influence is likely to be more on regulatory than monetary issues; we doubt she will be as vocal as Hoenig or Lacker. In our assessment, the FOMC committee may be “über-dovish” in 2013.
    • Finally, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota, who was known as a monetary policy hawk, has recently shifted to a more dovish stance. He surprised the market with remarks supporting the Fed’s decision to keep rates extraordinarily low until the unemployment rate has fallen below 5.5%, as long as inflation remains below 2.25%. Kocherlakota will be a voting member in 2014, but his shift of stance will weaken the hawkish voice. With fewer dissidents on the board, the Fed may continue to err firmly on the side of inflation and stick to to its mid-2015 low rate pledge.

No matter who wins the election, we will see a policy dilemma for the Fed in the coming years: On the one side, should economic data continue to surprise to the upside, it will be increasingly difficult for the Fed to carry on its dovish policies. On the other side, if the Fed were to abandon its current commitment, we foresee rising market volatility. The U.S. economy is likely to face a “monetary policy cliff” in addition to the “fiscal cliff”. With easy money, inflation risks may well continue to rise, possibly imposing higher bond yields (lower bond prices) and a weaker dollar. With tight money, the Fed may induce a bond selloff. Historically, because foreigners are active buyers of U.S. bonds, the dollar has weakened during early and mid-phases of tightening, as the bond bull market turns into a bear market. It’s only during late phases of tightening that the dollar has historically benefited as the bond market turns yet again into a bull market. We encourage investors to review their portfolios to account for the risk that bonds may be selling off, taking the U.S. dollar along with it.

Please sign up to our newsletter to be informed as we discuss global dynamics and their impact on gold and currencies. Please also register for our Webinar on Thursday, November 8th, 2012, where we will focus on implications on China and Asian currencies.

Axel Merk

Axel Merk is President and Chief Investment Officer, Merk Investments

Yuan Fang is a Financial Analyst at Merk Investments and member of the portfolio management group.

Is The Gold Correction Over? A Technical Look At Gold, HUI And The U.S. Dollar

By Vin Maru

Gold Analysis

Looking at the gold chart below, we can see that gold has been correcting over the last two weeks. When applying some technical analysis to the gold chart, we can clearly see that there would have been overhead resistance at $1800 since most of the year gold has traded between $1550 and $1800. A few weeks ago, we also noticed a big build in the short position on the Comex’s Commitment of Traders report COT by the commercial and bullion banks. The effort to stop gold’s advance at a key resistance level was successful in part because of the huge increase in the short position at that level, which is why we knew to take some profits and that would be an ideal place for a correction to start.

Now that the correction has started and gold is giving back some of its gains from the summer, the question now remains: How much of a retracement will we see on the price of gold? While the shorts are currently in control of driving the price down, support will come from other central banks and buyers of physical gold.

With gold at $1701, it is currently (noon on Tuesday Oct. 24) sitting below the 50 dma at $1720 which is above the 200 dma at $1662. The first line of support for this coming week was at $1720 and if it holds above the 50 dma the correction in gold could be over. If we continue to see weakness in gold over the next week or two, we can expect the correction will continue later this month and going into elections. This is something I suspect could happen if the overall markets continue to remain week.

Looking at the chart we suspect that buying will come in at the new support price range at about $1650 (+ or – $20) if the 50 dma at $1720 doesn’t hold this coming week. One thing to note is that the 50 dma crossed above the 200 dma around the end of September, which is an over good sign. However it needs to remain above the 200 dma for this advance higher in gold to hold before it can go on to make new highs. We remain optimistic that gold will either bounce here at the 50 dma of $1720 or at a retest of the 200 dma of $1662, which would still be bullish over all. If you are looking to add to your physical gold holdings and diversifying them internationally, scaling in now and at the $1650 price range would be a good place to start adding to current or new positions. Keep in mind that the support at the 200 dma may not hold, which means the price of gold can retrace right back to longer term support at $1550 which has been in place all year. However, I give it a small probability that we will correct back to that price range as we are entering a seasonally strong part of the gold cycle in November and December.

While I hate making predictions on what the gold price will do short term, I suspect it could consolidate between $1650 – $1750 for the remainder of the year. While we are entering a stronger part of the gold season and the fundamentals are lined up to suggest higher prices, we have conflicting events such as a huge concentrated short position, the US elections, the US fiscal cliff and tax loss selling to deal with for the remainder of the year. With 2 strong opposing forces acting on one another, the price of the metal may consolidate around $1650 – $1750 for some time until either the bulls or bears clearly take this market in one direction or another. Until then, all we can do is sit around and wait for a clear break outside the trading range that has been established over the last year.

HUI Gold Miners Index Analysis

Just like gold, the HUI index is also correcting since September. Earlier last month, we thought index would trade to 520 before meeting resistance, which we can clearly see it has done and it is now in the process of correcting. It would not be unusual for the index to give back up to 50% of its recent gains from the summer lows. Back in July, it looks like a low of 385 was made on the index and a recent high of 525 was achieved back in September; this is a 140 point gain. So if the market was to give back 50% of this gain or 70 points, we can expect the HUI to retrace back to about 455, which would be the next best time to add to positions.

Currently the HUI is at 495 which is still above the 50 dma at 482 and the 200 dma at 465, which is a positive alignment if the index can hold these gains. One thing to pay attention to from the chart below is the price action on the HUI from April this past year to the end of August, a period called the summer doldrums. During this period support came around 385 and was tested 2 different times, while overhead resistance was at 450 which also was tested a couple of times. Back then 450 was overhead resistance which was finally broken with a strong move higher during September; we suspect this will now become the new support level while 520 will act as resistance.

While we still remain cautiously optimistic that a new uptrend has started longer term, the HUI will most likely correct back to the 460 range ( + or – 10 points) over the coming months and 520 will now act as overhead resistance as a new trading range will be set. In general, support around 465 (the 200 dma) is where we would look to initiate new positions in some of the senior producers and hold them going into the New Year. At some point, I do expect overhead resistance at 520 will be breached to the upside at which point the HUI index could run to 580 and higher, but that would mean gold would have to be on fire and trading above its overhead resistance at $1800 on a holding basis. Until then, the miners will probably trade in a range where the HUI fluctuates between 460 and 520 as long as gold stays above $1650.

US Dollar Analysis

While the US dollar is looking good at the moment and getting a nice little bounce higher lately, this could be very short lived. The up channel that has been in place from August 2011 to August 2012 has been clearly broken and now it has started a new down trend channel this past August.

All we are seeing is a current bounce from oversold levels on the RSI and MACD and it already seem to be stalling out. The US dollar could move slightly higher to test the 50dma of 80.38 or the top of the new down channel at 81, but the rally should stop there. One thing to note is that the 50 dma just crossed below the 200 dma in the last few days, that is not a good sign. Once this relief rally is over, the dollar should continue downward and possibly to the bottom end of this downward channel. This could mean a definitive move below recent support around 78 on the index, if this happens and support is broken, it could lead to a cascading move downwards towards 75 or possibly 73.75 as the next major support level. If the dollar does break down, gold and silver will shoot much higher.

The best hope for the US dollar is for it to sit in a channel between 78 and 81.50 which is where I think it could trade sideways for some time until we clear the elections and get some direction on fiscal policy from the Fed.  If the dollar goes sideways, G and S will also trade in a sideways channel. More than likely we will get some clear direction once the election are done.

 

If you enjoyed reading this article and are interested in protecting your wealth with precious metals, you can receive our free blog by visiting TDV Golden Trader.   Also learn how you can purchase and protect your gold holdings by getting a copy of our special report Getting Your Gold out of Dodge or protecting the stock investments you currently own with Bullet Proof Shares.

Gold Expected To Continue Higher – World Gold Council Releases Q3 2012 Report

The third quarter 2012 Investment Statistics Commentary released today by the World Gold Council summarizes the performance of gold in various currencies and explores reasons why demand for gold should continue to increase.

Highlights of the Q3 2012 Report

During the third quarter, gold had a return of over 11% as central banks expanded measures to stimulate the economy.  The correlation of gold to other assets exhibited similar characteristics as those seen during the previous quarter.

Unconventional expansionary monetary policies were continued during the third quarter and are expected to increase going forward.  The primary goal of central bank policies include lowering borrowing costs and re inflating asset prices.

While financial assets have surged based on central bank monetary measures, gold has exhibited the strongest correlation to quantitative easing.

The World Gold Council expects investment demand for gold will remain strong based on the following four factors:

– Inflation risk
– Medium-term tail-risk from imbalances
– Currency debasement and uncertainty
– Low real rates and emerging market real rate differentials

The full report from the World Gold Council can be viewed at gold.org.

Gold has made what appears to be a triple bottom over the past year in the $1,580 range.  A breakout above last year’s high of $1,900 could wind up signaling the next phase of the gold bull market.

courtesy kitco.com

 

The Fed’s Outrageous Attempt To Debase The Dollar Will Send Gold Soaring

By Axel Merk

Doubling down on QE3, the Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke tells China and Brazil: allow your currencies to appreciate. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to conclude that Bernanke wants the U.S. dollar to fall. Is it merely a war of words, or an actual war? Who is winning the war?

The cheapest Fed policy is one where a Fed official utters a few words and the markets move. Rate cuts are more expensive; even more so are emergency rate cuts and the printing of billions, then trillions of dollars. As such, the Fed’s communication strategy may be considered part of a war of words. Indeed, the commitment to keep interest rates low through mid 2015 may be part of that category. But quantitative easing goes beyond words: QE3, as it was announced last month, is the Fed’s third round of quantitative easing, a program in which the Fed is engaging in an open-ended program to purchase Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). To pay for such purchases, money is created through the strokes of a keyboard: the Fed credits banks with “cash” in payment for MBS, replacing MBS on bank balance sheets with Fed checking accounts. Through the rules of fractional reserve banking, this cash can be multiplied on to create new loans and expand the broader money supply. The money used for the QE purchases is created out of thin air, not literally printed, although even Bernanke has referred to this process as printing money to illustrate the mechanics.

Why call it a war? It was Brazil’s finance minister Guido Mantega that first coined the term, accusing Bernanke of starting a currency war. Here’s the issue: like any other asset, currencies are valued based on supply and demand. When money is printed, all else equal, supply increases, causing a currency to decline in value. In real life, the only constant is change, allowing policy makers to come up with complex explanations as to why printing money does not equate to debasing a currency. But even if intentions may have a different primary focus, our assessment is that a central bank that engages in quantitative easing wants to weaken its currency. It becomes a war because someone’s weak currency is someone else’s strong currency, with the “winner” being the country with the weaker currency. The logic being a weaker currency promotes net exports and GDP growth. If the dollar is debased through expansionary monetary policy, there is upward pressure on other currencies. Those other countries like to export to the U.S. and feel squeezed by U.S. monetary policy. Given that politicians the world over never like to blame themselves for any shortcomings, the focus of international policy makers quickly becomes the Fed’s monetary largesse.

Bernanke speaking at an IMF sponsored seminar in Tokyo pointed to the other side of the coin: if China, Brazil and others don’t like his policies because they create inflation back home, they should allow their currencies to appreciate. But these countries are reluctant as stronger currencies lead to a tougher export environment.

Now keep in mind that it is always easier to debase a currency than to strengthen it. Switzerland, the previously perceived safe haven by many investors, has taken the lead. Using a central bank’s balance sheet as a proxy for the amount of money that has been printed, the Swiss National Bank’s printing press has surpassed that of the Federal Reserve considering relative growth since August 2008. Again note that no real money has been directly printed in these programs; also note that some activities, such as the sterilization of bond purchases by the European Central Bank, cause a central bank balance sheet to grow, even if sterilization reflects a “mopping up” of liquidity:

Japan has warned about intervening in the markets on multiple occasions, but the size of the Japanese economy as well as the lack of political will make an intentional debasement more difficult. Indeed, the Japanese did their money printing in the 1990s, but forgot we had a financial crisis in recent years.

Bernanke does acknowledge the concerns of emerging markets, but argues they are blown out of proportion. He elaborates that undervaluation and unwanted capital inflows are linked: allow your currencies to appreciate (versus the dollar) and you won’t have to be afraid of excessive capital inflows, inflation and asset bubbles. Ultimately, and importantly, Bernanke says the Fed will continue its course, suggesting that it will strengthen the U.S. economic recovery; and by extension, strengthen the global economy.

Let’s look at the issue from the viewpoint of emerging markets: policy makers like to promote economic growth, among other methods, through a cheap exchange rate, up to a certain point. They don’t want too much inflation or too many side effects. Historically, they manage these side effects with administrative tools. However, taking China as an example, taming price pressure through, say, price controls, has not been very effective. We believe that’s a good thing, as China would otherwise experience product shortages akin to what the Soviet Union experienced. Conversely, however, China must employ a broader policy brush to contain inflationary pressures. We believe – and Bernanke appears to agree – currency appreciation is one of the more effective tools.

So how will this currency war unfold? The ultimate winner may well be gold. But as the chart above shows, it’s not simply a race to the bottom. If one considers what type of economy can stomach a stronger currency, our analysis shows an economy competing on value rather than price has more pricing power and therefore the greater ability to handle it. Vietnam mostly competes on price; as such, the country has, more than once, engaged in competitive devaluation. At the other end of the spectrum in emerging markets may be China: having allowed its low-end industries to move to lower cost countries, China increasingly competes on value. Within Asia, we believe the more advanced economies have the best potential to allow their currencies to appreciate. It’s not surprising to us that China’s Renminbi just recently reached a 19-year high versus the dollar.

What we have little sympathy for is an advanced economy, e.g. the U.S., competing on price. We very much doubt the day will come when we export sneakers to Vietnam. As such, a weak dollar only provides the illusion of strength with exports temporarily boosted. Yet the potential side effects, from inflation to the sale of assets to foreign investors with strong currencies, may not be worth the risk.

Please register to join us as we discuss winners and losers of the unfolding currency wars in our Webinar this Thursday, October 18, 2012.

Axel Merk is President and Chief Investment Officer, Merk Investments
Merk Investments, Manager of the Merk Funds.