October 2, 2022

Gold’s Next Big Move Is Up – Every Bull Market Has Pullbacks

gold generalBy: GE Christenson

Gold peaked in August of 2011 and fell erratically into December 2013.

Was that the end of the collapse, or is there more downside coming in gold prices?

Bearish Scenario: Listen to the banks who are forecasting weak prices in 2014 and thereafter. “Nothing to see here folks, the dollar has weakened drastically since 1971, gold sells for 30 times its 1971 price, but it’s all good. Just move on and pretend… Gold will drop below $1000 before you can say 2016 elections…”

I’m not a fan of:

The bearish gold scenario when decades of Federal Reserve “printing” and US government budget deficits have all but guaranteed continued destruction of the purchasing power of the dollar.

Belief that even though dollar debasement practices have accelerated since the 2008 crash, gold prices will fall because bankers say so.

Propaganda that gold is useless and that unbacked debt based fiat currencies are solid and stable.

Large High Frequency Trading companies that short the gold market, loudly proclaim that gold prices will fall, dump a huge number of paper contracts on the Comex, quietly cover their shorts after the gold price crash, book huge profits, and then reverse the process as they push prices up. These traders are in the business of making profits so none of this is surprising.

Instead of listening to self-serving banker opinions, let’s examine the data. The following chart shows monthly prices for gold since 2000. Note that highs and lows as listed in the monthly data are slightly different from actual hourly highs and lows. For this analysis over 14 years, the differences are immaterial.

This table shows the price and approximate number of years.

table3102014

Summary: The price of gold bottomed in 2001, rallied for 3.0 years, fell for 1.1 years, rallied for 2.8 years, fell for 0.6 years, rallied for 2.8 years, and fell for 2.4 years. Lows were about 4 years apart, highs were about 3.5 years apart, and the rallies lasted, on average, about 3 years.

Gold in December of 2013 had dropped to the lower logarithmic
trend line after falling for 2.4 years. The patterns suggest that the next move should be a rally that lasts approximately 3 years to new highs near the top of the trend channel well above $3,500.

roosevelt

But there is more: (If you distrust Technical Analysis, skip this section.)

  • Gold prices made a double-bottom in June and December 2013 thereby indicating a successful test of the lows formed in June.
  • The MACD – a technical indicator (first chart) which tracks the difference between two moving averages – registered a very low reading in December 2013. Further, the moving averages in the indicator have turned up. This is strongly supportive of the analysis that December marked a major low in gold prices.
  • The TDI-Trade-Signal line – another technical indicator (first chart) – registered its lowest reading in 15 years at the June 2013 low and has also turned up. This is another strong indication that gold bottomed in December.
  • The RSI – Relative Strength Index – as shown on the second chart was at a 15 year low at the June 2013 gold price lows. It has turned upward.
  • The disparity index, which is simply the deviation between the monthly prices and the 12 month simple moving average (second chart), was at a 30 year low and flashing a buy signal after the June 2013 gold price lows.

For those who have no faith in technical analysis:

Consider this GEM – Gold Equilibrium Model (thanks to Nick Migliaccio for the name). I summarized the model in this short article. The model is based on three variables and calculates the equilibrium gold price with no reference to oscillators or technical indicators. The GEM model projects a “fair” or equilibrium price for gold in March 2014 of approximately $1,580. Gold prices, based on this long-term model, are currently low and are likely to move much higher over the next several years. This long-term model produced an excellent statistical correlation with the smoothed price of gold over the 42 years from 1971 – 2013.

Conclusions

  • The GEM indicates that, over the next several years, gold prices are headed much higher.
  • The chart of gold prices since the year 2000 (log scale) shows a “megaphone pattern” of higher lows and higher highs. Currently the gold price is near the bottom of the exponentially up-trending pattern.
  • Technical oscillators indicate important bottoms in June and December – at levels not seen in more than a decade.
  • The disparity index shows that gold prices in June were well below the 12 month moving average. Similarly daily and weekly prices were well below their moving averages. Prices tend to regress to the mean – another indication that prices are likely to rise from the deep lows in June and December.
  • Short term prices could rise or fall a little from here – I’m offering no opinion – but gold prices should be much higher in 2015 and 2016.
  • Gold is for savings and investing, not trading. Dollars buy groceries while gold buys safety, insurance, and peace of mind.
  • As Darryl Robert Schoon always says, “Buy gold, buy silver, have faith.” It is good advice.

GE Christenson, aka Deviant Investor

17 Questions About Gold and Silver The Federal Reserve Needs to Answer

Yikes!  We Have to Look at This for the Next Four Years

Yikes! We Have to Look at This for the Next Four Years

By: GE Christenson

1.  Germany requested that the NY Federal Reserve return the gold that Germany shipped to the United States decades ago. If the gold were physically in the vaults, it would be relatively simple to ship the gold back to Germany. It has not been returned, which begs the question, where is Germany’s gold?

2.  If Germany’s gold is “missing,” what about other gold from other countries that is supposedly stored at the NY Fed?

3.  Does the U.S. gold supposedly stored at Fort Knox and at the NY Fed still exist in those vaults?

4.  The U.S. believes in paper dollars and an unbacked debt based currency. Such currency can be created with little more than a few keystrokes on a Federal Reserve computer. Would the Fed and the U.S. government sell gold into the world market to slow the inevitable weakening of the U.S. dollar? Would the Fed and the U.S. government ship (via intermediaries) substantial quantities of gold to China to prevent dumping of T-bonds and dollars? Are gold sales a “delaying action” to extend the reserve currency status of the U.S. dollar?

CPI INFLATION

5.  If China is converting their excess of dollars and T-bonds into gold, buildings, land, businesses, mines, and so much more, what do they believe is the real value of those dollars and T-bonds?

6.  If much of the German, Italian, French, English, and U.S. gold is “missing” and is now in very strong hands, is the price of gold too low and likely to rise?

7.  What will happen to world bond and stock markets if confidence in the financial system evaporates? Would confidence in the financial system be damaged if the world became aware that most of the gold supposedly stored in government and central bank vaults in the western world is “missing?” Is this the primary reason why the U. S. gold vaults have not been audited for over 50 years?

8.  Why are China and Russia buying large quantities of gold from the western world as well as all of their domestic production?

9.  Paper dollars were, years ago, backed by gold or silver. They are no longer backed by either. Why?

feature-300x200

10.  JP Morgan testified before congress in 1912 and stated, Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” Do you understand what this means?

11.  You have $100,000 to invest today into either gold or S&P 500 Index ETFs. Which investment do you believe will purchase more gasoline in three years?

12.  If you had $100,000 to invest into either gold or Confederate paper money and Confederate bonds in 1862, which would have been the better investment 20 years later?

13.  Voltaire stated about 3 centuries ago that “paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero.” Most paper money systems throughout history have failed. The current paper systems seem likely to fail in the future. What is the intrinsic value of 80 ounces of gold (about $100,000 at today’s prices)? What is the intrinsic value of 5,000 $20 bills ($100,000)? Which seems likely to purchase more food in three years?

14.  Mayer Rothschild supposedly stated, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” Was he thinking that if he can create the currency and the legislature can be “influenced” with currency, then he can buy the legislation that his banking interests needed? Was he also thinking that if he can create the currency and he can trade that currency for physical gold, he had procured real wealth for his family?

15.  Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 and assured us that it was only temporary. Since then the (official) U.S. national debt has increased from approximately $398 Billion to over $17 Trillion – up by a factor of over 40. Interest must be paid on that debt. Was the creation of $17 Trillion in debt beneficial for the majority of the people and the economy of the U.S. or only for the political and financial elite?

FEDERAL DEBT

16.  Is the current U.S. paper money experiment going to end differently from any other failed fiat currency system?

17.  In 1971 gasoline in the U.S. cost approximately $0.35 per gallon. Today it costs approximately $3.50 per gallon. The rising national debt correlates with the rising prices of gasoline, tuition, health care, postage, coffee, stocks, gold, copper, rent, food, and so much more. Some of those prices have risen faster (others slower) than the debt, but the trend is the same since 1913 and especially since 1971 – all up substantially. Do you think this is a coincidence? Do you think the ongoing increase in national debt will continue to cause consumer price inflation or that it will, somehow, miraculously, cause prices to go down, in spite of 40 + years of contrary experience?

Conclusions

Is this the end of the world? No! But it is past time to realize that a debt based financial system is largely detrimental to most of the people outside the political and financial elite. Such a debt based system has a limited lifespan and a reset seems both imminent and inevitable. Actions to consider:

  • Eliminate non-mortgage debt and reduce the amount of other debt.
  • Convert variable rate mortgage debt to fixed interest rate debt.
  • Be wary of a stock market that has risen for almost five years and seems to be based more on QE, hope, and artificially lowered interest rates than upon earnings and the health of the economy.
  • Convert paper and digital dollars to gold and silver and store them in a safe depository outside the banking system.
  • Be careful in this increasingly dangerous world.

GE Christenson, aka Deviant Investor

14 Tough Questions Gold Investors Have for the Federal Reserve

Liberty-EagleBy: GE Christenson

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana.

1. What mistakes from the past are we condemned to repeat?

2. Since unbacked paper currency systems have always failed in the past, why have bankers and economists promoted an unbacked paper currency system since 1971?

3. Would the Federal Reserve, which is owned by private banks, seek to enrich its member banks and the financial elite by implementing monetary policies such as QE that purchase distressed bank assets and boost the stock and bond markets?

4. Janet Yellen is the new leader of the Fed and new leaders are almost always confronted with a financial crisis early in their term. What should we expect during the next 18 months?

economic collapse

5. ALL paper money systems have eventually failed due to excessive “printing” of the paper currency. How many years of “printing” $85 Billion per month qualifies as excessive “printing”?

6. Human nature changes very slowly if at all. Politicians have lied to most of the people most of the time during the past several thousand years to serve their own self-interest. Are politicians currently lying about ObamaCare, strength of the economy, employment, the NSA, big banks, the IRS, Syria, and so much more?

7. Why does gasoline currently sell for approximately $3.50 per gallon even though it cost only $0.15 per gallon about 50 years ago? Why does a cup of restaurant coffee no longer sell for $0.10? Why do $20 gold coins containing nearly an ounce of gold now sell for over $1,250?

8. The S&P 500 Index is trading near an all-time high and is by most measures and sentiment severely over-bought on a weekly and monthly basis. Is it ready to correct downward?

9. Why is the official unemployment rate falling even though fewer Americans are working and the labor participation rate is at 30 year lows?

10. The Federal Reserve has been levitating the stock market and bailing out banks. Is it possible the Fed policies will backfire and those policies will eventually accomplish the opposite of what the Fed wants?

11. If the national debt of $17 Trillion can never be repaid, and if the U.S. government must borrow to pay the interest every year, and if the Federal Reserve must “print” those dollars, what is the real value of that debt? Is it $17 Trillion or perhaps a great deal less? The economist Hyman Minsky called this “Ponzi Finance” – the final stage of a debt based economic system when payments on the debt must be made from additional borrowing.

money printing

12. If a soaring gold price encouraged people to question the value of the U.S. dollar, and if the U.S. government had the means to suppress the price of gold, would the U.S. government manipulate the price of gold lower?

13. Germany requested their gold be returned from the NY Federal Reserve vaults about a year ago. It has NOT been returned. What happened to the German gold? Further, how much, if any, of the gold supposedly stored in Fort Knox is physically there and not “leased” or otherwise encumbered?

14. Gold has been money – a store of value, divisible, a medium of exchange, a unit of accounting, and intrinsically valuable – for 5,000 years. Paper money has usually been little more than a politician’s promise of integrity and responsibility. Which do you trust – gold or a politician’s promise?

These questions and their answers suggest that:

Drastic restructuring of the current monetary system seems inevitable, whether or not it is imminent.

Before the system resets it seems likely that governments around the world will scramble to locate and nationalize assets in order to maintain their power for a while longer. Capital controls and financial repression via artificially lowered interest rates are already in place. Pension plans, savings accounts, and IRA and 401(k) plans seem vulnerable to partial confiscation, bail-ins, or mandatory investment in government bonds. Such confiscations and bail-ins have already occurred in other parts of the world and could easily happen in the United States.

toned-morgan-dollar

Gold and silver have protected purchasing power and assets for 5,000 years. In this twilight period of the current debt based monetary system it seems likely gold and silver will increasingly be necessary for protection of purchasing power and assets. Are you prepared?

GE Christenson

aka Deviant Investor

Monetizing Government Debt – Bernanke Says No, Common Sense Says Yes

2013-w-gold-eagleBy: Axel Merk

Fed Chair Bernanke vehemently denies Fed “monetizes the debt,” but our research shows the Fed may be increasingly doing so. We explain why and what the implications may be for the dollar, gold and currencies.

What is debt monetization? A central bank is said to monetize a government’s debt if it helps to finance its deficit. The buying of Treasuries by the Federal Reserve is a clear indication that the Fed is doing just that, except that Bernanke argues the motivation behind Treasury purchases is to help the economy, not the government.

The no-taper decision increased the Fed’s monetization of US debt. Gold may be more than insurance. Brace yourself for an escalation of Currency Wars.

To what extent does the Fed monetize the debt? The below chart shows that since the onset of the fall of 2008, the Fed has purchased enough Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), together, “quantitative easing” or (QE) to finance a substantial part of the government deficit. Indeed, by deciding not to “taper” off its purchases, the Fed is engaging in sufficient QE to purchase all debt issued and then some.

Shouldn’t one exclude MBS purchases in analyzing debt monetization? Buying MBS may provide the appearance that the Fed is not monetizing the debt when in fact it is. Don’t take our word for it, but the market’s: in a recent presentation to the CFA society in Melbourne, Merk Senior Economic Adviser and former St. Louis Fed President Bill Poole points out that the spread between 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have been virtually unchanged as a result of MBS purchases; from 1976 to 2006 the average spread was 1.74%. From May 2011 to April 2012 it averaged 1.76%. As such, the direct impact of QE on spreads has been extremely limited. If it sounds surprising, consider that investors have an array of choices that are highly similar: aside from currency risk, how different are German Treasuries versus U.S. Treasuries? Highly rated U.S. corporate issues versus U.S. Treasuries? They all have distinct risk profiles, but there’s a good reason why absent of issuer-specific news, these securities tend to trade in tandem. As such, the Fed is really just sipping with a straw from the ocean: setting rates may be more a result of communication (the “credibility of the Fed”) rather than the actual purchases.

gold-bullionIf rates are set by words rather than action, doesn’t that prove the point the Fed is not monetizing the debt? We agree that talk is cheap. But talk doesn’t always move the market; as confidence in the Fed’s ability to control rates erodes, policy becomes ever more expensive: cutting rates, emergency rate cuts, Treasury purchases, Operation Twist, and moving to an explicit employment target are all escalations of a policy to “convince” the market to keep rates low. And along the way, the Fed has to spend more money. Ask the Fed, and they’ll tell you their operations are profitable. Clearly, as the Fed creates money out of thin air to buy income-generating fixed income securities, the more the Fed “prints”, the more profitable it is. Except that there’s no free lunch and pigs still can’t fly. By all means, no central bank in their right mind would start out with a policy to monetize debt. But as the chart above shows, the Fed now spends over 150% of government deficit to hold rates down, suggesting that its firing power is eroding. If and when we come to the stage that the Fed were to explicitly monetize the debt, it may need to buy a high multiple of what it currently does and might still fail to keep rates low. It’s a confidence game.

What happened when the Fed decided not to “taper” its bond purchase program? As the chart above shows, something went wrong, very wrong. As tax revenue has picked up throughout the year, government deficits have come down. As such, reducing QE would have been warranted. By choosing not to “taper,” one can argue that QE has actually increased, as the Fed is buying above and beyond newly issued debt. Note the Fed will push back yet again, arguing it cannot buy debt directly from the government only in the secondary market. But that may well be semantics. As a large bond manager has pointed out: in the absence of QE, we might have to sell debt to one another, rather than to the Fed.

rooseveltWhere’s debt monetization heading? The way we see the dynamics playing out, this confidence game will go on for some time, yet we may increasingly be seeing cracks. Lower government deficits may be a short-term phenomenon as over the long-term the cost of entitlements and interest payments may rise substantially, highlighting that deficits may not be sustainable. In 10 years from now, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the U.S. government may be paying $600 billion more a year in interest expense alone; indeed, if the average cost of borrowing went back up to the average cost of borrowing since the 1970s, the government may need to pay $1 trillion more per year in interest expense alone. To us, this suggests the biggest threat we are facing may be economic growth. That’s because the bond market has been most sensitive to good economic data; yet, should the bond market sell off (increasing the cost of borrowing), the cost of financing U.S. government deficits may escalate. We already have a Fed that has indicated interest rates will stay low for an extended period. In some ways, the Fed has all but guaranteed that it will be slow in raising rates. We interpret that as the Fed being slow to rising inflationary pressures that are likely to increase should the economy ever pick up again.

This is all too abstract – how will this play out? If you think this is abstract, think Japan. Let the Japanese be successful with their policies, let them achieve sustained economic growth. What do you think will happen to Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs)? JGBs might plunge, making it difficult, if not impossible, to finance Japan’s massive government debt burden. Few observers doubt that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) may step in to help finance government deficits. That’s debt monetization. We think the valve for Japan will be the yen that won’t survive this. When we discuss this with investors, most agree that this is a real risk for Japan. But don’t kid yourself: even if we may be able to kick the can down the road for longer in the U.S., we think it may be hazardous to one’s wealth to ignore the risks posed to the dollar due to a toxic mix of monetary and fiscal policy.

paper moneyHow do I prepare as an investor? The way we look at the world is in terms of scenarios: if a scenario is sufficiently likely, we think investors should take it into account in their portfolio allocation; professional investors may even have it as their fiduciary duty. To us, the short answer is that there is no such thing anymore as a risk free investment and investors may want to take a diversified approach to something as mundane as cash. Investors may want to consider throwing out the risk free component in their asset allocation. That’s because the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar may be at risk.

Is gold the answer? Gold has performed rather poorly this year and is increasingly being written off. Yet, those writing off gold should think twice about where they see the economy and the Fed heading. If one believes we will return to a “normal” environment and we’ll live happily ever after, maybe those gold naysayers have a point. But keep in mind that incoming Fed Chair Janet Yellen stated during her confirmation hearings that we shall return to a normal Fed policy once the economy is back to normal. To us, that’s an oxymoron: we cannot return to a normal economy when the Fed prevents risk being priced by market forces. To us, gold is more than “insurance” to adverse scenarios as some say, as we find it difficult to see how we’ll be facing positive real interest rates for an extended period over the coming decade.

Is a basket of currencies the answer? The Chinese government diversifies its reserves to a basket of currencies, clearly adding currency risk to their portfolio. Conversely, U.S. investors may want to consider diversifying to a basket of currencies if they believe we ultimately have the better “printing press” than the rest of the world?

But isn’t it more complex than that? In some ways, yes. Governments won’t give up without a fight. We believe policy makers want to do the right thing, except that the road to hell might be paved with good intentions. Just consider if Japan truly has a problem: Japan is no Cyprus, meaning that shockwaves of a Japanese government in turmoil might be felt around the world. Aside from cash not being “safe,” political stability may also continue to erode throughout the world, as citizens worldwide dissatisfied that their wages don’t keep up with an increasing cost of living elect ever more populist politicians. The only good news we can see is that our policy makers may be predictable and an investment strategy based on staying a step ahead of policy makers might be worth considering. Think currency wars, and think diversifying on a more pro-active basis. We are not suggesting investors become day traders, but we think the currency markets may be well suited to take positions on how one believes these dynamics may play out.

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

Peak Gold – 75% of All Gold Deposits Have Already Been Mined

1933-double-eagle1The basic law of supply and demand dictates the quantity of goods offered for sale.  If prices are low and goods cannot be sold at a reasonable profit, producers will be unmotivated to increase production.  If prices  increase as demand for a product is soaring and producers can reap high returns, supply will increase as producers increase output to maximize profits.

When it comes to gold, however, the textbook equation for supply and demand can be thrown out the window.  Gold exists in finite quantities and has become increasing more difficult and expensive to mine.  In addition, major new gold deposits discoveries have dropped to zero in the past two years and ore grades have declined significantly to only 3 grams per tonne from 12 grams per tonne in 1950.

Even as gold exploded in price from under $300 per ounce in 2002 to $1,800 per ounce in 2011 gold production trended lower.  Despite much higher prices, gold miners were simply unable to increase supply.  According to the World Gold Council mine production over the past five years has not increased and average annual production has remained stable at approximately 2,690 tonnes per year.

On a long term basis gold production will continue to decline even further for the simple reason that most of the earth’s richest deposits of gold have already been mined and new gold deposit discoveries have declined significantly (see New Gold Discoveries Decline by 45%).

At the end of 2012 it is estimated that all the gold ever mined in history totaled approximately 173,000 metric tonnes.  According to the Perth Mint, a study done by Natural Resource Holdings estimates that there are only about 56,674 metric tonnes of recoverable gold reserves left.  If this bleak assessment is correct, over 75% of the world’s total gold reserves have already been mined as shown in the infographic below.

To keep things in perspective, the total global gold supply (including both mined gold and gold reserves) totals 230,000 metric tonnes worth about $9.2 trillion at the current gold price of $1,239.  By comparison, the U.S. deficit has exploded to over $17.2 trillion and the Federal Reserve has printed $4 trillion to drive down interest rates by purchasing mortgage backed securities and treasury debt.

In the bizarro world financial system created by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, the meaning of money has become distorted to the point where it is almost meaningless.  The recent decline in gold prices should be viewed as a long term opportunity to increase positions in a currency that central banks cannot create at will in infinite quantities.

In Four Years the Amount of Money Printed By the Fed Will Exceed the Value of All Gold Ever Mined

paper moneyMost people can’t begin to comprehend how much a trillion dollars is.

Try asking someone how much $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) is and you are likely to get a blank stare.

To put things into perspective, when the government spends one trillion dollars and pays for it with taxes, the government would have to seize the entire wealth of one million millionaires.  Since the government would very soon run out of millionaires, government spending has become largely financed through borrowings and printed money.

Money printing or QE as the Fed likes to call it has reached levels that bring back visions of the Weimar Republic and unlike the average citizen, the Fed has no problem dealing with dollars in the trillions.

Money printing by the Federal Reserve has gotten so out of hand that within four short years (probably less) the amount of dollars conjured out of thin air will exceed the value of all gold ever mined in human history.

The world’s entire gold stock is about 170,000 metric tons currently valued at about $7.7 trillion.  The Fed is currently holding $3.7 trillion of securities purchased with printed money and the run rate of $85 billion per month weighs in at another $1.02 trillion dollars per year.  If the economy tanks, expect the monthly money printing to really ramp up.

gold-demandFed’s money printing to date stands at $3.7 trillion.  Another four years of money printing at the current rate would pile up another $4.1 trillion for a total of $7.8 trillion printed dollars compared to the value of all gold at $7.7 trillion.

When all of this starts to sink into the public consciousness, the safe bet is that people will start to avoid dollars (which the Fed is manufacturing in almost unlimited quantities) and turn to gold which has been used as a currency and store of value since the dawn of human history.  Another safe bet is to ignore short term price corrections in gold and use the opportunity to increase positions.

Gold and Silver Are the Only Safe Assets In a Dangerously Unstable Financial System

Physical-GoldBy: GE Christenson

Consider these thoughts on “the great lie,” our strange world, its unstable financial system, overwhelming debt, exponential growth, inevitable collapse, fractional reserve banking, counterparty risk, and gold – from highly intelligent individuals who think beyond the traditional:

From Karl Denninger: Detroit: The Shape Of Things To Come

“If you make political promises that can only be met through increased tax rates, now or in the future, you begin the process of slitting your own throat. That outcome is inevitable when you agree to political promises that have escalating expenses over time as pensions, medical benefits, salary “step” increases, bond issues that have a payment schedule longer than the useful life of the asset bought and similar.

There is no way out of this box other than to repudiate those promises.”

From Richard Russell: (subscription service)

“The compounding debt is the monster that is eating the U.S. The only way out is to renege on the debt or try to pay it off with inflation or hyperinflation. The bull market in bonds is over. From now on, we are dealing with a bear market in bonds, at which time natural forces will drive bonds down, and as bonds fall, interest rates will rise.”

“It’s taken almost two centuries for bankers to pull the wool over Americans’ eyes, but today you and I are working for intrinsically worthless paper that can be created by bureaucrats – created without sweat, without creative ability, without work, without anything but a decision by the Federal Reserve.

This is the disease at the base of today’s monetary system. And like a cancer, it will spread until the system ultimately falls apart. This is the tragedy of the great lie. The great lie is that fiat paper represents a store of value, money of lasting wealth.”

From Bill Bonner: Why Gold is the Only Money that Works

“When you have a system based on credit, rather than bullion, deals are never completely done. Instead, everything depends on the good faith and good judgment of counterparties – including everybody’s No. 1 counterparty: the US government. Its bills, notes and bonds are the foundation of the money system. But they are nothing more than promises – debt instruments issued by the world’s biggest debtor.

A credit system cannot last in the modern world. Because, as the volume of credit rises, the creditworthiness of the issuers declines. The more they owe, the less able they are to pay.”

“Naturally, everybody loves a credit system… until the credits go bad. Then they wish they had a little more of the other kind of money. Wise governments, if there are any, take no chances. They may feed the paper money to the people. But they hold onto gold for themselves. Throughout history, the most powerful governments were those with the most gold.”

But suppose much of the government and central bank gold is gone. As Eric Sprott concluded, after considerable research,

“Our analysis of the physical gold market shows that central banks have most likely been a massive unreported supplier of physical gold, and strongly implies that their gold reserves are negligible today.”

It seems likely that the western governments and central banks have sold (or leased to a bullion bank who sold it to a buyer in China, India, Hong Kong, or the middle-east) most of their gold. Germany recently requested the return of their gold from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York but was told they would have to wait seven years to get a portion (only 300 tons) of it. It is clear there is more to the story – and the obvious conclusion is that the Federal Reserve Bank can’t easily return what it no longer possesses. In non-banking circles, this could be called theft or embezzlement, but in the banking world it is called “leasing” or rehypothecation, and it is legal.

Bill Bonner:

“But if they (central banks) have sold such massive quantities over the last 10 years, how much do they have left? Maybe not much.

Which wouldn’t be surprising. Western central banks are committed to their credit-money system. They intend to stick with it. And they know that unraveling this unruly skein of credit would be extremely painful.

Selling gold into the bull market of the last 12 years probably seemed like a very smart move. We’ll see how smart it was later, when the credit-based money system blows up.”

But, I ask you, who formerly owned the gold, and who is quietly amassing a vast horde of gold to increase global influence in the future? This process of selling gold and converting it to paper promises has been occurring (so the evidence indicates) for several decades and appears to be working well for now. The “game” appears to be:

Asian countries and the middle-east accumulate more gold and unload their dollars.

The bullion banks borrow gold from the central banks, sell the gold, and earn interest.

The central banks claim they own the gold, even though much of it is almost certainly gone.

The gold sales support the value of the dollar so the US government benefits.

Consumers in the US pay for imports with dollars that are still relatively strong, although when the dollar weakens and gasoline costs $10, the “game” won’t look so attractive.

Conclusions

Politicians and bankers work together to benefit themselves at the expense of the people actually producing something of value. Politicians increase their power and influence by spending ever-increasing amounts of paper currencies. The bankers enable the process by creating the paper currencies (from nothing), loaning those newly created dollars, euros, yen, and pounds to the politicians, governments, and businesses, and collecting interest. This process succeeds until the debts must be paid. Then:

Borrow more paper currencies, extend and pretend, lie and deny, etc.

Inflate or die! QE4-ever!

Raise taxes and fees. (Hope the parasites don’t kill the host.)

Encourage the Fed to create enough new currency to bail out the bankers and prevent a deflationary collapse (the other option besides horrific inflation).

Let consumer price inflation accelerate. $10.00 gasoline anyone?

When the mathematics doesn’t work, when the plan is lame, when the debts must be paid, when the sins of the past must be acknowledged and corrected, there are few choices remaining.

Review the cogent thoughts from The Burning Platform, Karl Denninger, Richard Russell, and Bill Bonner. Then ask yourself:

Do you believe debt and interest payments can increase forever?

Do you believe that either an inflationary or deflationary collapse (in some form) is inevitable?

Do you believe that unbacked paper currencies represent a store of value or a wasting asset? (Do you remember gasoline at $0.19 per gallon?)

Do you trust the lasting value of gold more than the integrity of a politician’s promise?

Do you believe that the US government and the Federal Reserve have all the gold they claim (not audited since the 1950s), when it benefits both the US government and the Fed to surreptitiously “lease” gold (sell it into the market)?

Do you believe that Russia, China, the Arab countries, Hong Kong, India, and many other countries are making a wise choice by trading dollars for gold?

Do you believe that your food and energy expenses will remain constant or substantially increase in the next four years?

Do you believe congress will balance the budget and that world peace is coming?

Do you believe and understand counterparty risk?

Do you believe the existing economic system will meet your needs in the future?

Having considered your beliefs, do you think it would be wise to convert some of your paper assets to real gold and silver? If so, I encourage you to purchase gold and silver from a reputable dealer and store them safely outside the banking system.

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

Gold Could Quickly Rally Over $2,000

tenth oz gold-eaglesBy GE Christenson:

Background: Gold prices peaked in September 2011 and have dropped over one-third in the past 22 months. Sentiment by almost any measure is currently terrible. Few in the US are interested in gold (although gold is selling well in China), most have lost money (on paper) if they bought in the last two years, and the emotional pain seems considerable. It reminds me of the S&P, gold, and silver crashes in 2008-9.

So, will gold drop under $1,000 or rally back above $2,000?

To help answer that question, I examined the chart of gold for the last 25 years and identified several long-term cycles. Then, I constructed a spreadsheet that attempted to model the price of weekly gold based on those cycles and a few assumptions.

Assumptions

  • Use only long-term cycles – a year or longer.
  • The weight assigned to each cycle is approximately proportional to its length. A 200-week cycle should be approximately twice as heavily weighted as a 100-week cycle.
  • This is NOT a trading vehicle but a long-term indication of reasonable price projections based on past relationships. Those past relationships may or may not continue, even if they have been valid for over 20 years.
  • Keep it simple. Do not over-complicate the model or aggressively “curve-fit” it.
  • Prices are assumed to rise more slowly than they fall, so 62% of the cycle is related to the rising portion of the cycle, and 38% of the cycle is related to the falling portion of the cycle.

Data

Low-to-Low cycles: 100 weeks, 122 weeks, and 162 weeks

High-to-High cycles: 88 weeks and 270 weeks

Exponential growth: 1/1/1990 – 1/01/2002: growth of negative 3.0%/year, and 01/01/2002 – present: 18% per year, calculated weekly

Process

Find the beginning dates (lows) for the 100, 122, and 162 week cycles and assign those beginning dates an index value of -1.0. Proportionally increase those index values from -1.0 to +1.0, and then reduce those index values from +1.0 to – 1.0, and repeat for each low-to-low cycle. Use the beginning index value on the 88 and 270 week high-to-high cycles as + 1.0. Extend the proportional increases on all time cycles from -1.0 to + 1.0 so that the rising period takes 62% of the cycle time.

Assign each cycle a weight approximately proportional to the cycle length. Use a beginning value and calculate the exponential increase (-3% or +18% per year) for each week, and then add or subtract the percentage changes for each weekly time cycle. Adjust the cycle index weights to obtain the best visual fit on a graph of actual gold prices versus the calculated price of gold.
What Could Go Wrong?

The exponential increase might not continue from 2013 forward. I expect gold prices to accelerate higher, but it is possible that they will continue falling. See Caveats.

The cycles, although relevant for over 20 years, might be less relevant from 2013 forward.

The calculated price was “curve-fit” to the actual prices, and that “curve-fit” result might be less accurate from 2013 forward.

Results
Statistical correlation over the last 20 years is slightly larger than 0.97 (quite high). The calculated gold price is generally consistent with the actual gold price, even though occasional large variations are clearly evident.

Highlights: (based on weekly closing prices)
Calculated high: December 2006 at $779
Actual high: May 2006 at $712

Calculated high: April 2008 at $784
Actual high: March 2008 at $999

Calculated low: April 2009 at $618
Actual low: October 2008 at $718

Calculated high: August 2011 at $1,931
Actual high: September 2011 at $1,874 (daily high was $1,923)

Calculated low: July 2013 at $1,267
Actual low: July 2013 at $1,213 (actual weekly low, so far)
The Future

This simple model, which uses only five cycles and an exponential increase, indicates that a low in the gold price is expected approximately now (May – October 2013), and that the next high is projected for approximately September 2014 – June 2015, possibly in the $2,500 – $3,500 range. (From the current lows, a price of $3,000 seems unlikely, but gold traded below $700 in October 2008 and rose to over $1,900 by September 2011, so a substantial rise is quite possible.)

Caveats!

There are many. This is not a prediction; it is simply a projection based on the entirely reasonable, but possibly incorrect, assumption that gold prices will continue to rise about 18% per year, on average, and that these five cycles will push actual prices well above and below that exponential growth trend.

Why will gold prices continue to increase? Our current monetary system depends upon an exponentially increasing debt and money supply. It seems likely that the US government will continue to run massive budget deficits and thereby increase total debt. In addition, the central banks of Japan, the EU, and the US will continue to monetize debt and increase the money supply to promote asset inflation and to overwhelm the deflationary forces in their respective economies. Gold supply increases slowly, the demand increases more rapidly, while each Dollar, Euro, and Yen purchase less, on average, each year. It seems quite reasonable to expect that gold (and silver) prices will increase substantially from their current low level. Read: Gold & What I Know for Certain.

Timing: The model was basically correct (over the last decade) on timing and price with some large variations. Clearly, there are more factors driving the price of gold than five simple cycles. Those political, HFT, emotional, and economic factors will inevitably push the price higher or lower, sooner or later, than the model indicates. Regardless, the model has some value indicating the approximate price and timing for long-term highs and lows in the price of gold.
Use it while appreciating its limitations. Read: Back To Basics: Gold, Silver, and the Economy.

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

An Audit of U.S. Gold Holdings Last Done Over 50 Years Ago

Fort KnoxDoes anyone really think that gold is unencumbered, unleased, and actually physically there? Yes, I know…

  • They would not lie to us, right?
  • The official numbers must be true, right?
  • They seem like trustworthy people, right?
  • Why wouldn’t it be there?

The official gold holdings ( rounded numbers) of the US Treasury Department are as follows:

Fort Knox 147,000,000 ounces, West Point 54,000,000 ounces, Denver 44,000,000 ounces, Federal Reserve of NY 13,000,000 ounces, other 3,000,000 ounces –  Total – 261,000 ounces.

Glad you asked that question. Why wouldn’t it be there? Gold is a bit like an “anti-dollar.” The Federal Reserve creates new dollars by the trillions – dollars are their product. Wal-Mart sells snow shovels and a few other things, Wall Street sells stocks and everything paper, Hollywood sells dreams and entertainment, but the Fed sells dollars, and they don’t like competition. Gold has been real money for 5,000 years world-wide. Federal Reserve notes have been passed off as money for a few decades, and in that time they have lost most of their value as measured against commodities such as wheat, gasoline, and cigarettes.

It could have been worse! Western central banks (officially) and governments sold a considerable sum of gold during the 1990s to help repress the price of gold and to slow the apparent decline in the value of paper money. They also “leased” an unknown amount of gold to bullion banks who also sold that gold into the market. The leases are still “on the books,” so the central banks officially still own the gold, even though it is probably long gone – likely to China, Russia, India, and the Middle East.

Yes, central banks and governments have motive, means and opportunity to suppress the price of gold. They want to support their product (dollars, euros, etc.) and to defeat the competition – gold. If you were a central banker or treasury official who was inflating his currency and consequently reducing its purchasing power, wouldn’t you want to suppress the price of gold to delay recognition of your involvement in the devaluation process?

So why not just do an audit? This is a simple question with a complex set of answers. Here are a few.

    • The US gold has not been audited in over 50 years. This must seem strange to any thinking person, but it appears unlikely to change.
    • If the Treasury agrees to an audit and the gold is not there, the result will be much unpleasantness – possible indictments, damaged reputations, social unrest, chaos, disillusionment, and destroyed trust – and there is plenty of disillusionment and destroyed trust already.
    • If the Treasury performs an audit and the audit claims the gold is actually there, will anyone believe the results of the audit? Is it truly unencumbered – not sold, leased, or hypothecated? Would we even believe an audit had been actually performed?
    • If the Treasury acknowledges the lack of a credible audit for over 50 years and then says “we don’t think it is necessary,” will anyone take them seriously?
    • The Treasury might claim an audit would be too expensive, but the US government probably wastes the cost of an audit every few hours, so that explanation is likely to sound hollow and stupid.Bottom line: The whole subject of an audit is fraught with potential trouble for both the Treasury and the Fed. The simple solution is to stonewall the audit question and “extend and pretend.”

The problem is that the questions just won’t die. GATA has researched the subject thoroughly and suggests that much of the Treasury gold is probably gone. Eric Sprott has examined the export numbers (official US government export data) and concluded that somehow the US exported about 4,500 tons of gold more than can reasonably be accounted for.

Germany asked for their gold back – a measly 300 tons – and was told it would take seven years to return their gold. It the gold was physically in the vault and unencumbered, it should have taken a few weeks at most. Seven years – really? This must seem strange to any thinking person.

From Bill Holter: “I would like to address the biggest (in my mind) conspiracy theory (fact) of all. It has been “said” for nearly 60 years that the U.S. has 8,400 tons of gold left. First off, there has been no audit done since 1956, not even Senators or Representatives (except for one time in the ’70?s for glance) have been allowed to actually see the gold. “Trust us” is what the population has heard, “trust us” is what foreigners are told…trust us, trust us, trust us. The problem is that so much anecdotal evidence has been dug up by GATA and others. Eric Sprott just last month looked at the U.S. gold export numbers going back 10 years or more and found that 4,500 tons OVER AND ABOVE what are reported as production has been shipped out. Where did that gold come from? When looked at with your 3rd grade mind in gear, there is no way that the gold is really there.

… Forget about all of the past official memos uncovered. Forget all of the evidence that GATA has uncovered over the last 15 years. Forget that Germany asked for their gold and were told “wait 7 years.” Forget that gold and silver prices have not acted like any other market since the mid 90′s and those prices have now crashed 3 times in the face of massive demand. Forget that 2 of the smash downs occurred WHILE the CFTC was supposedly “investigating” the silver market. Forget that 40% of the world’s total gold production was sold in reckless fashion in less than 12 trading hours (who would, could, do this?) FORGET IT ALL! …trust us. … All of this “conspiracy stuff” when put together rather than separately makes sense.”

I don’t know how much gold is left, but I have two (only slightly serious) suggestions:

A very large number of readers on the Deviant Investor site have voted over the past several months regarding what % of the gold they think remains in the US Treasury. The choices were all of it, most of it (>75%), about half (40% to 75%), some (20% – 40%) or very little (<20%). Readers clearly do not believe the official story – about 60% believe very little remains and another 21% believe less than 40% remains. Only 3% think it is all there. A weighted average suggests that the voters on this site believe approximately 20% of the gold physically remains and is unencumbered.

Nixon temporarily closed the “gold window” almost 42 years ago. Since that time, the official CPI shows that the dollar has lost about 83% of its value. For simplicity, let’s assume that 17% of the dollar’s purchasing power remains and assume that 17% of the gold remains.

We don’t know how much of the gold remains. Does it really matter?

Do any of the following matter?

  • Government promises
  • Central bank promises
  • Integrity of politicians
  • Integrity of hundreds of present and past Treasury employees
  • Backing for $Trillions in debt besides “full faith and credit”
  • A possible solution to the massive debt problem of the US government. If the gold is still there, value it at some large number, say $15,000 – $30,000 per ounce, and then back the dollar with gold. This is not my idea – some very intelligent people have advocated it. If the gold is mostly gone, this option is less likely.

Summary

  • Fort Knox: Per the voting and dollar devaluation “method” – assume about 20% of the official gold remains – physically in the vaults, unencumbered, not hypothecated or leased to bullion banks. Yes, I know, this is not defensible, scientific, statistically significant, or verifiable. But it sounds about right to me.
  • Denver: Assume about the same
  • West Point: Assume about the same
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Ask the Germans! Assume very little remains.

How much physical gold do you have? How much do you want when you contemplate nearly $17,000,000,000,000 in official US government debt, another $100 – $200 Trillion in unfunded liabilities, and nothing backing that unbelievable amount of debt except the “full faith and credit” of what is clearly a government that won’t balance a budget and must resort to printing dollars to pay its bills?

How much gold do you have stored in a secure (off-site) facility?

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