Tag Archives: Gold

Doug Casey on Why Gold Could Go “Hyperbolic”

Precious metals may be the only refuge from systemic risk. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: Volatility has come storming back.

Just look at the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), which measures how volatile investors expect the market to be over the next 30 days.

It’s up 89% since the start of the year. Last week, it hit the highest level since 2016.

Investors aren’t used to this. After all, last year was the least volatile year ever for U.S. stocks. That lulled many investors to sleep. It led them to take risks they would normally never take.

Now, those same people are wondering what to do. They aren’t sure if this is just a run-of-the-mill pullback…or the start of something much worse.

To help answer this question, I called up Doug Casey. I knew he would have an interesting take on this matter…


Justin: Doug, U.S. stocks took a beating recently. Where do you see things going from here?

Doug: Well, I hate to make a firm prediction of timing. The fact that things have held together, against all odds, since 2009, has underlined the old saying about just because something is inevitable doesn’t mean it’s imminent. Predictions of disaster, and all these things unwinding, have been wrong over the last half a decade. And the smart bet is always for muddling through, in the direction of progress. But it seems that we’ve finally reached a peak, a major turning point.

Justin: So, what have you done to protect your wealth?

Doug: At the beginning of the year, I took all my original capital out of cryptos, plus 150% profits. I also took profits on crypto stocks. I got in late, and out a bit late. But it was a happy experience.

They were bubbly. Every company that could possibly do so has gotten into this game. Now XYZ ice cream company is XYZ blockchain company. That was one tipoff.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on Why Gold Could Go “Hyperbolic”

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So What Do I Think about the “Crash” in Stocks? by Wolf Richter

So far, despite the pyrotechnics, markets have not crashed. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

A lot more will have to happen before this turns into a crash; and markets are not there yet.

With all this wailing in the media about stocks, you’d think there’s at least some blood in the streets. But no. Not a drop.

The Dow fell 4.6% today to 24,345. This 1,175-point drop, as it was endlessly repeated, was the biggest point-drop in history – but irrelevant given how relentlessly inflated the industrial average had become. The percentage drop today, combined with the drops of last week, took the Dow down just 8.5% from its all-time high on January 26.

For the year, the Dow is down merely 1.5%. I mean, what horror. The last time this sort of debacle happened was way back in ancient history of January and early February 2016.

The Dow is not even in a correction (defined as -10% from its recent high). But that messy Friday and Monday, following a record 410-day streak without a 5% decline, did break the recently pandemic illusion that you cannot lose money in stocks.

When the Dow gained 1,000 points in the shortest time ever, after having already booked the fastest-ever 1,000-point gains in prior months and years, no one was complaining about it. These rapid-fire 1,000-point-gains had become the new normal. So today, one of those 1,000-point gains has been unwound.

The S&P 500 dropped 113 points, or 4.1%, to 2,648. This took the index back to December 8, 2017. The past six trading days were the worst decline since … well, since the weeks leading up to February 7, 2016, at which point the S&P 500 was off 19%, not quite enough for a dip into an official bear market.

The Nasdaq fell 272 points today, or 3.8%, to 6,967, below 7,000 for the first time since the end of December, but remains, if barely, in positive territory for the year.

What’ll happen next? Dip buyers will come in, maybe at this very moment, or maybe later, and some of them will likely get plowed under, but there is way too much cash lined up in hedge funds specifically set up to profit from sell-offs. And dip-buyers have been rewarded relentlessly over the past eight years, and it’s not until the dip buyers get massively destroyed and stop dip-buying that the market is in real trouble.

Because nothing goes to heck in a straight line.

To continue reading; So What Do I Think about the “Crash” in Stocks?

How drug lords make billions smuggling gold to Miami for your jewelry and phones, by Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, and Kyra Gurney

Cryptocurrencies haven’t made gold obsolete just yet. From Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, and Kyra Gurney at miamiherald.com:

When Juan Granda ventured into Peru’s Amazon rainforest to score another illicit load of gold, he boasted that he felt like legendary Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

“I’m like Pablo coming … to get the coke,” he told two co-workers in a text message in 2014.

A 36-year-old Florida State University graduate who once sold subprime loans, Granda was no cartel kingpin. But his offhand comparison was apt: Gold has become the secret ingredient in the criminal alchemy of Latin American narco-traffickers who make billions turning cocaine into clean cash by exporting the metal to Miami.

The previous year, Granda’s employer, NTR Metals, a South Florida precious-metals trading company, had bought nearly $1 billion worth of Peruvian gold supplied by narcos — and Granda and NTR needed more.

The United States depends on Latin American gold to feed ravenous demand from its jewelry, bullion and electronics industries. The amount of gold going through Miami every year is equal to roughly 2 percent of the market value of the vast U.S. stockpile in Fort Knox.

But much of that gold comes from outlaw mines deep in the jungle where dangerous chemicals are poisoning rainforests and laborers who toil for scraps of metal, according to human rights watchdogs and industry executives. The environmental damage and human misery mirror the scale of Africa’s “blood diamonds,” experts say.

“A large part of the gold that’s commercialized in the world comes stained by blood and human rights abuses,” said Julian Bernardo Gonzalez, vice president of sustainability for Continental Gold, a Canadian mining company with operations in Colombia that holds legal titles and pays taxes, unlike many smaller mining operations.

Pope Francis is expected to condemn the horrors of illegal mining when he visits the Peruvian Amazon this week.

In Latin America, criminals see mining and trading precious metals as a lucrative growth business, carefully hidden from U.S. consumers who flaunt gold around their necks and fingers but have no idea where it comes from — or who gets hurt. The narcos know their market is strong: America’s addiction to the metal burns as insatiably as its craving for cocaine. NTR, for instance, was the subsidiary of a major U.S. gold refinery that supplied Apple and 67 other Fortune 500 companies, as well as Tiffany & Co., according to a Miami Herald analysis of corporate disclosures.

To continue reading: How drug lords make billions smuggling gold to Miami for your jewelry and phones

The Petro-Yuan Bombshell and Its Relation to the New US Security Doctrine, by Pepe Escobar

Surprise, surprise, the countries the US’s latest National Security Strategy calls revisionist powers and rivals are moving away from the US dollar as a reserve currency. From Pepe Escobar at russia-insider.com:

The new 55-page “America First” National Security Strategy (NSS), drafted over the course of 2017, defines Russia and China as “revisionist” powers, “rivals,” and for all practical purposes strategic competitors of the United States.

 The NSS stops short of defining Russia and China as enemies, allowing for an “attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries.” Still, Beijing qualified it as “reckless” and “irrational.” The Kremlin noted its “imperialist character” and “disregard for a multipolar world.” Iran, predictably, is described by the NSS as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.” 

Russia, China and Iran happen to be the three key movers and shakers in the ongoing geopolitical and geo-economic process of Eurasia integration.

The NSS can certainly be regarded as a response to what happened at the BRICS summit in Xiamen last September. Then, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on “the BRIC countries’ concerns over the unfairness of the global financial and economic architecture which does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies,” and stressed the need to “overcome the excessive domination of a limited number of reserve currencies.”

Yes, this is photoshopped, but still very apt – the whole world is wondering what his next move will be …

That was a clear reference to the US dollar, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of total reserve currency around the world and remains the benchmark determining the price of energy and strategic raw materials.

And that brings us to the unnamed secret at the heart of the NSS; the Russia-China “threat” to the US dollar.

The CIPS/SWIFT face-off

The website of the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) recently announcedthe establishment of a yuan-ruble payment system, hinting that similar systems regarding other currencies participating in the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will also be in place in the near future.    

Crucially, this is not about reducing currency risk; after all Russia and China have increasingly traded bilaterally in their own currencies since the 2014 US-imposed sanctions on Russia. This is about the implementation of a huge, new alternative reserve currency zone, bypassing the US dollar.

To continue reading: The Petro-Yuan Bombshell and Its Relation to the New US Security Doctrine

Cracks in Dollar Are Getting Larger, by Jim Rickards

Slowly but surely, the world is moving away from the dollar as the reserve currency. From Jim Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

Many Daily Reckoning readers are familiar with the original petrodollar deal the U.S made with Saudi Arabia.

It was set up by Henry Kissinger and Saudi princes in 1974 to prop up the U.S. dollar. At the time, confidence in the dollar was on shaky ground because President Nixon had ended gold convertibility of dollars in 1971.

Saudi Arabia was receiving dollars for their oil shipments, but they could no longer convert the dollars to gold at a guaranteed price directly with the U.S. Treasury. The Saudis were secretly dumping dollars and buying gold on the London market. This was putting pressure on the bullion banks receiving the dollar.

Confidence in the dollar began to crack. Henry Kissinger and Treasury Secretary William Simon worked out a plan. If the Saudis would price oil in dollars, U.S. banks would hold the dollar deposits for the Saudis.

These dollars would be “recycled” to developing economy borrowers, who in turn would buy manufactured goods from the U.S. and Europe. This would help the global economy and help the U.S. maintain price stability. The Saudis would get more customers and a stable dollar, and the U.S. would force the world to accept dollars because everyone would need the dollars to buy oil.

Behind this “deal” was a not so subtle threat to invade Saudi Arabia and take the oil by force. I personally discussed these invasion plans in the White House with Kissinger’s deputy, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, at the time. The petrodollar plan worked brilliantly and the invasion never happened.

Now, 43 years later, the wheels are coming off. The world is losing confidence in the dollar again. China just announced that any oil-exporter that accepts yuan for oil can convert the oil to gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and hedge the hard currency value of the gold on the Shanghai Futures Exchange.

The deal has several parts, which together spell dollar doom. The first part is that China will buy oil from Russia and Iran in exchange for yuan.

The yuan is not a major reserve currency, so it’s not an especially attractive asset for Russia or Iran to hold. China solves that problem by offering to convert yuan into gold on a spot basis on the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

This straight-through processing of oil-to-yuan-to-gold eliminates the role of the dollar.

To continue reading: Cracks in Dollar Are Getting Larger

 

 

Weird Things Are Happening With Gold, by James Rickards

Since gold is real money, SLL keeps its eye on gold. From James Rickards at dailyreckoning.com:

Last week featured two unusual stories on gold — one strange and the other truly weird. These stories explain why gold is not just money but is the most politicized form of money.

They show that while politicians publicly disparage gold, they quietly pay close attention to it.

The first strange gold story involves Germany…

The Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of Germany, announced that it had completed the repatriation of gold to Frankfurt from foreign vaults.

The German story is the completion of a process that began in 2013. That’s when the Deutsche Bundesbank first requested a return of some of the German gold from vaults in Paris, in London and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Those gold transfers have now been completed.

This is a topic I first raised in the introduction to Currency Wars in 2011. I suggested that in extremis, the U.S. might freeze or confiscate foreign gold stored on U.S. soil using powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Trading With the Enemy Act or the USA Patriot Act.

This then became a political issue in Europe with agitation for repatriation in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Europeans wanted to get gold out of the U.S. and safely back to their own national vaults. The German transfer was completed ahead of schedule; the original completion date was 2020.

But the German central bank does not actually want the gold back because there is no well-developed gold-leasing market in Frankfurt and no experience leasing gold under German law.

German gold in New York or London was available for leasing under New York or U.K. law as part of global price-manipulation schemes. Moving gold to Frankfurt reduces the floating supply available for leasing, making it more difficult to keep the manipulation going.

To continue reading: Weird Things Are Happening With Gold

Debt-Based Money Corrodes Society, by Brian Maher

Phony money doesn’t just debauch economies, it debauches morals and the culture. From Brian Maher at dailyreckoning.com:

We open today’s reckoning with a hypothesis:

The current monetary system debauches the culture.

Long-suffering readers are familiar with our… diminished regard for paper money.

Paper money — or digital money nowadays — is the great bogeyman of the boom/bust cycle. It inflates bubbles of every model and make.

Meanwhile, paper money fuels big government… as oxygen fuels fire.

But paper money’s effects on the culture?

“It has a very important impact on our culture,” writes economist Jorg Guido Hulsmann.

Under “natural money” like gold Hulsmann explains, prices tend to fall over time.

So natural money encourages the virtues of saving… thrift… deferred gratification. It sets the mind to the future:

In a free economy with a natural monetary system, there is a strong incentive to save money… Investments in savings accounts or other relatively safe investments also play a certain role, but cash hoarding is paramount.

Before the 20th century, explains Hulsmann, debt was a cultural taboo… a big scarlet “D.”

Credit for households was virtually unknown, he says. And only the poorest households resorted to debt-financed consumption.

Ah, but then the 20th century came along with its wars… its social movements… and its cranks…

Gold is a famously uncooperative agent of change.

It resists social uplift, in the same way an old man resists a new pair of shoes.

It turns away from the sound of trumpets.

“You go over there,” gold says. “I’m staying here.”

“The trouble with gold is that it turns its back on world improvers, empire builders and do-gooders,” wrote Bill Bonner and our leader Addison Wiggin in Empire of Debt.

“The nice thing about gold is that it is so unresponsive,” they continued. “It neither laughs nor applauds.”

And that’s why it couldn’t last…

Only a debt-backed system of paper money could finance the great wars, the social improvements and the fevered dreams of the 20th century.

To continue reading: Debt-Based Money Corrodes Society